!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics --> Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2020 6 FromtheEditor | Kate Lavin I n 2010, Comcast changed the name of its cable offerings to Xfinity. Executives thought the new name was more modern and better able to position the company against the likes of Hulu, Roku and Apple TV. It was a great idea, except for one thing: Everyone knows it’s still Comcast. Sure, the Internet is fast and your cable box is delivered in snazzy Xfinity packaging. But based on my experience, a call to the company’s 1-800 number still results in sitting on hold and being transferred around until the line drops dead at a crucial moment. The process is maddening in a way that only Comcast can accomplish. Why a Rebrand? I bring up this example because the past year has seen dozens of cannabis companies rebrand with name changes, new logos and launch parties. In some cases, the change makes sense: Company A acquires Company B, and executives change the name to capitalize on the brand recognition of the larger, more well-known business. In other cases, the rebranding seems less purposeful and reminds me of a phrase popular with parents of teen- agers: Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The average entrepreneur invests time, money and sleepless nights to create a business. It takes years to build up brand recognition and customer loyalty—especially in an industry such as cannabis, where new competition arrives daily and inventory varies dramatically from store to store. Is it really worth rebranding and risking the possibility your target audience will see the change as part of the corporatization of cannabis—or worse, not recognize you anymore? Certainly, any such high-risk change should be well thought out. Walking the Fence This issue of Marijuana Business Magazine offers some help. Reporters Margaret Jackson and Omar Sacirbey spoke with dozens of executives and marketing and branding professionals about when it’s time to hire outside help, the value of enlisting a celebrity spokesperson and maintaining brand awareness from one state to the next. In the story “Branding When You Specialize” on page 54, CEO James Lathrop laments that the name of his Seattle business, Cannabis City, violates many rules of branding and marketing. It’s not unrelated like Apple or whimsical like Orbitz. But as the company approaches its sixth anniversary, Lathrop believes it was the right name for the time. “I wouldn’t necessarily choose Cannabis City today,” he said. “But because of the Cannabis City brand and our history (as the first marijuana store in Seattle) with it, it made sense at the time for a new market.” That’s not to say Cannabis City isn’t evolving. In 2017, Lathrop redesigned the store’s interior, and this year he is planning a move to a larger, nearby location. Only When It Makes Sense So when company staffers or consultants suggest it’s time to refresh your brand, think carefully: Does the new image more accurately reflect your company identity? Will it help retain existing customers and draw new ones? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it might be time for a change. Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and not just putting a new face on the same tired product. Because 10 years into the Xfinity experiment, it’s still Comcast to me. Sincerely, Think Carefully Before Rebranding Kate Lavin Marijuana Business Magazine Editor