June 5, 2019
Lesson from CannTech 2019: Create Your Own Strategy to Build Your Cannabis Brand
Posted by Chris Lee
Members of the Armanino LLP Cannabis team recently attended the inaugural CannTech, Silicon Valley’s first major cannabis technology summit. CannTech focuses on accelerating the growth of the cannabis technology industry by bringing together entrepreneurs, industry executives and investors from across North America. (The summit also included a pitch competition for emerging startups with a grand prize of $30,000 from the host DCM, a Silicon Valley-based VC firm.)
The CannTech event featured keynote fireside chats with industry leaders, including the CEOs from PAX and Dosist, both recognizable brands in the cannabis industry. The discussions focused on how to effectively and efficiently grow your cannabis startup and build a recognizable brand.
Two key points of PAX CEO Bharat Vasan were (1) focus on the company’s story and make sure it‘s cohesive, and (2) build a culture unlike that of your competitors. Vasan said this is what he focused on when building PAX into one of the most well-known brands in the industry.
Vasan also said that building the company’s story was most difficult, since he wanted his product to connect to the consumer. In the unique cannabis marketplace, PAX had to use trial and error to find out what works and what doesn’t for market strategy. The company continues to study the ever-changing market environment, often described as the “Cannabis Gold Rush,” to remain industry leader.
Gunner Winston, Dosist CEO, had a little different story to tell on how he built the company’s brand. When Winston began with the team, Dosist had about 250 total customer accounts. He wanted to build a brand with customers who abided by the same regulations that Dosist follows. His strategy was to eliminate accounts that didn’t meet regulatory standards.
As a result, the company eliminated over 60% of its accounts, leaving only 100 of the original 250. The outcome? By focusing on the pillar of successful customer accounts, Winston helped Dosist grow revenue five times within a year! This is truly an amazing accomplishment, given the 60% drop in the number of accounts.
In conclusion, both strategies worked for PAX and Dosist and have helped propel them into well-known brands in the cannabis industry.
As these different examples (and the results of our own cannabis clients) show, each organization needs to develop its own strategy for brand and market awareness, whether it’s in the startup, rapid growth, established or expansion phase. This includes developing a strategic roadmap for the specific growth goals you might have for either internal (people, processes, technology, etc.) or external strategies (market analysis, brand awareness, market penetration, etc.).
Armanino’s proven strategic assessment methodology has helped numerous cannabis clients create a strong brand and strategic plan for growth. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you achieve your desired brand goals, as well as implement best practices and meet industry standards.
Chris works as a Strategy and Transformation Consultant for Armanino helping clients drive innovation and change to meet the company’s goals and objectives. He works with a variety of Cannabis clients, helping them navigate issues surrounding accounting, cloud solutions and risk management practices as they grow. Additionally, he is part of the 2018 Spring Evening MBA cohort at Santa Clara. In his free time Chris loves to golf, watch sports, stay active, and hang-out with friends.