User experience and user interface need to be seamless. Technology exists to make our lives more simple.
Jared Mirsky is the Founder and CEO of Wick & Mortar, an award-winning cannabis-focused boutique branding agency. Since 2009 Mirsky and Wick & Mortar have been featured in dozens of magazines including Entrepreneur Media, Forbes, Wired, Cheddar, National Geographic, Huffington Post, and CNN Money. Mirsky is a regular contributor to Forbes, High Times, Entrepreneur, and The Fresh Toast.
In 2018, Wick & Mortar experienced its most explosive growth yet. Since then, Mirsky has continued to educate and shape the industry through his mission of rebranding cannabis.
In this episode of Velocitize Talks, Mirsky shares how building cannabis-focused brands requires a great deal of creativity and ingenuity.
I’m With the Brand (0:25)
Ten and a half years ago there weren’t really any companies trying to brand themselves. They remained as discreet as possible, primarily because it was still a bit of an illegal market.
Wick & Mortar received awards for brand identity and film/video craft at the 2020 Clio Cannabis Awards, which recognizes creative marketing and communications at the forefront of the cannabis industry.
When Wick & Mortar first began working with cannabis companies over a decade ago, the industry was mired in confusion. They knew they had to be creative in product marketing and brand awareness. And it’s worked.
2020 proved to be a banner year for the industry. Cannabis was legalized in five new states, leading to record breaking profits.
As one of the most sought-after products in the pandemic marketplace, established cannabis brands lead the way. “It’s been really interesting to watch brands as they’ve transcended out of the shadows and into the light,” Mirskey says.
Dispensing Knowledge (1:25)
Like any brick and mortar store, you could just create articles and boost posts and segment those in specific areas thus generating a following from people within your area. Unfortunately dispensaries aren’t allowed to do that.
When a new market emerges that society isn’t ready to embrace, brands need to get creative to find their target customers. For example, one of Wick & Mortar’s past tactics was to make a client’s dispensary look as if it were a digital publication before the company even opened. Once they want to announce that they’re an actual dispensary, they can change the business accordingly.
While dispensaries aren’t able to advertise or boost posts due to social media restrictions, they can engage in practices such as geofencing on Facebook prior to opening. That way they can attract their target customers within the dispensary’s area, along with all of their followers.
Another tactic Wick & Mortar takes when establishing a new cannabis brand is to offer retail merchandise like clothing since that can be digitally marketed. As a cannabis brand, however, they can’t drive traffic to their cannabis products like other retail or consumer packaged goods. What they can do is create a separate subdomain clothing line and then launch a pay-per-click advertising campaign to redirect that traffic to their root site.
Cannabis Rebranding (3:46)
I’m trying to do the best that I can to steer people away from identifying themselves as a CBD-only company primarily because CBD is just one cannabinoid of many.
Companies that identify themselves as solely focused on one product can miss an opportunity to build a brand with an eye toward future expansion. Mirsky recommends his clients double down on brand equity and consequently build more value in the parent company.
Brand equity is hard to measure, but essential to the growth of a business. It can lead to an increase in market share and make product expansion easier. As a result, the business can charge a premium for their product. Developing a strong brand story and personality, coupled with great customer communication and relationships, is what leads to strong brand equity.
Developing Effective Online Experiences (6:19)
If you’re an online business, that is your company.
Mirsky is an evangelist for creating a good story, saying it should lie at the heart of every brand. When Wick & Mortar is working with a brand, they begin by developing a brand guide for all creative decisions including an identifiable tone of voice. This brand guide transforms the user experience and interface into a seamless experience.
In order to amplify the great work in cannabis rebranding and marketing, Mirsky has created a podcast, Rebranding Cannabis, where he conducts intimate interviews with the movers and shakers in the industry.
Flip the Switch (9:58)
I’m a huge fan of emotional intelligence. So I’m fascinated by communication because branding and marketing is such a huge communication tool for companies. I like learning the psychology behind why people buy by body language.
Mirsky recommends the book The Like Switch by Dr. Jack Schafer, a former FBI Special Agent. Schafer specializes in behavior analysis that details how to influence, attract, and win people over. Mirsky notes that sales and marketing aren’t two-dimensional. Understanding the bond between brand and customer requires the tools for how to read people and, in the end, get them to like you.
For more information on Wick & Mortar, check out their website and follow them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @WickAndMortar. To stay up to date with Mirsky, follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter at @jared_mirsky.
This episode of Velocitize Talks was originally recorded in 2019 in Seattle. It has been updated accordingly.