Decoding The Cannabist Company’s Brand Metamorphosis From Columbia Care
At the September Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago, Channon sat with T.L. Stanley, senior editor at Adweek, to unravel the complexities and motivations behind the makeover.
Rebranding, Acquisition And Industry Growth
Channon insisted that Columbia Care “was absolutely the right brand to get us where we were.” The reason for the shift was geared towards future projection, a trajectory aimed at aligning the company with the evolving needs and expectations of the consumer base and their own team. In the spring of 2021, the retail format launch was “incredibly well received,” affirmed by significant feedback from diverse stakeholders.
A core driver for the rebrand was the aspiration to resonate profoundly with the internal audience, a cornerstone Channon called essential. “We wanted it to be something that resonated with our team,” he explained, underlining the importance of internal pride and enthusiasm in taking the revamped brand to the communities they serve.
Discussing the timing of the rebrand, Channon conveyed a serendipitous alignment of the universe. “We knew that it was something that we loved,” he said, linking the shift to the wave of excitement and attention that characterized the backdrop of the cannabis industry at the time. The timing also coincided with the “breaking of the potential acquisition with Cresco [Cresco Labs Inc. CRLBF,” marking a significant junction in the company’s journey.
Leveraging Technology To Solve Industry Challenges
The industry’s evolutionary path is intrinsically linked to technology and innovation. Channon highlighted the challenges of a “basic ecosystem” and the critical role of partnership and proprietary development in surmounting these obstacles. “We’re not afraid to sort of roll up our sleeves and build what we need to,” he added, showcasing a proactive approach to technological advancement.
Priorities For Brick-And-Mortar Cannabis Retail
In the battlefield of retail, The Cannabist Company’s philosophy leans towards “empathetic education.” Channon expressed the vision of transforming the potentially intimidating experience of dispensaries. The brand’s commitment to evolving and enhancing consumer experience is illustrated by its organizational redesign and the establishment of centers of excellence.
When it comes to drawing inspiration, Channon looked broadly, acknowledging the multidimensional nature of the cannabis industry. “We’re always looking around to see what’s working somewhere else,” he elaborated, citing the inclusivity of Apple Inc AAPL design approach and the efficiency of Target Corp‘s design approach and the efficiency of Target Corp TGT consumer experience as benchmark inspirations.
The challenge of understanding the nuanced and diverse consumer base is met with a straightforward strategy – talking to them. In markets like Florida and New York, where the cannabis landscape is densely populated and regulatory frameworks are dynamic, direct engagement with consumers becomes the linchpin for differentiation and evolution.
Touching on the failed deal with Cresco Labs, Channon expressed disappointment while highlighting the resilience and opportunities that both companies still retain. “It was a tough experience,” he admitted, but optimism pervades his outlook, rooted in the belief in the industry’s growth and the inevitability of consolidation.
Channon’s illuminating conversation with Stanley paints a vivid picture of a brand that’s not just evolving but is profoundly introspective and responsive. The Cannabist Company emerges as an entity that’s as focused on its internal audience as it is on the diverse and evolving consumer base it serves.
“It’s great. It’s the right thing to do to try to create as many people as possible in the system,” Channon concluded, echoing a sentiment that encapsulates the brand’s ethos – an intertwining of inclusivity, innovation and integrity.
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