Branding and Retail Experts Arrive to Reinvent the Cannabis Consumer Experience

FN Media Group Presents Market Commentary


New York NY – November 14, 2018 – With adult-use cannabis legalization momentum in full swing, the next stage for this newly emerging market has arrived. In order to establish brand loyalty, branding and retail experts such as Green Growth Brands (CSE:GGB), HEXO Corp. (TSX:HEXO) (OTC:HYYDF), Namaste Technologies Inc. (TSX-V:N) (OTC:NXTTF), MPX Bioceutical Corporation (CSE:MPX) (OTC:MPXEF), and Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX-V:XLY) (OTC:CBWTF) are giving consumers plenty of new products, and a more pleasant buying experience.


Now that the stigma over cannabis is slowly disappearing, retailers and producers are rushing to establish their identity early, and gain a loyal customer base right off the bat. In anticipation of what might be called “the green wave”, an event titled “The Future Of Cannabis Retail” was recently held in Chicago.


With so many new consumers becoming more willing to try these new products, the old image of a seedy head shop needs to disappear. Customers will need a well-educated, very polished staff, not unlike what the Apple Store has for computers and electronics.


Event panelist Bethany Murphy Gomez of cannabis research and insights organization, the Brightfield Group told Forbes, “You walk into a dispensary and there are a hundred different products…you have no idea what half of them are…no idea what to use, how to dose it, what’s going to work for you…that’s why education is absolutely critical.”


This is the point where the branding and marketing experts can take the baton from the former black market dealers and medical growers, and truly usher in “the green wave”.


Newly RTO’d Green Growth Brands (CSE:GGB.CN) has come out of the gate zeroing in on establishing authentic brands and innovative stores. Built upon a team of retail gurus, Green Growth Brands has the most retail experience of any cannabis company in the world.


In an interview with Green Growth Brands’ CEO Peter Horvath, CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer was most excited about Horvath’s retail experience, stating, “This is the first CEO that’s going into retail that’s actually been in retail.”


As the show went to commercial, Cramer also added, “I cannot wait until you come public.”


Having raised CAD$140 million already, Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) has a war chest of funds to expand their business through their rollout.


Bring On The Retail Heavyweights


How the rollout of cannabis is done now, could impact how large the industry gets in the future. With more states recently voting to legalize, the United States is likely the largest emerging cannabis market in the world. Should legalization occur nationwide, it would immediately create a potential $47 billion market.


However, as early customers have found so far in the advent of this new green era, the shopping experience is lacking—But thankfully help is on the way, both for buyers, and producers/suppliers.


Bursting with retail experience Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) recently launched into business with a team of retail heavyweights starting from CEO Horvath all the way down.


Horvath and his team have held prominent roles and led the strategy teams that built up the #1 lingerie business in the world (Victoria’s Secret), the #1 personal care products business in the world (Bath & Body Works), the #1 denim business in North America (American Eagle Outfitters), and the #1 shoe specialty business in North America (DSW).


“The team we’ve put together is arguably one of the top retail teams in any market, let alone cannabis,” Horvath stated in late October conversation with Jim Cramer.


Horvath himself has built up brands to massive successes. Under his leadership, shoe retailer DSW went public on the NYSE with a $1.5 billion IPO. He was also instrumental in raising CAD$85 million in the Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) private placement, which far exceeded the original target of CAD$55 million.


Joining Horvath again is marketing genius and long-time partner Scott Razek (CMO), who brings 25 years of marketing experience to the team. Razek led the creative and marketing teams for retail brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle Outfitters, and Limited Stores.


The team is rounded out with fellow retail experts Ed Kistner (CAO) and Kellie Wurtzman (CSO), who each bring big brand experience to the team. Kistner’s 33-year career has focused on operations, while Wurtzmann has managed operations across multiple retail sectors for top retail brands such as Luxottica, Victoria’s Secret, and Virgin Entertainment.


But the Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) doesn’t begin and end with cannabis retail stores, as the company also establishes a first-mover advantage in the cannabidiol (CBD) space. The non-intoxicating CBD market has been pegged to potentially reach $22 billion by 2022. The mainstream potential for CBD products is quite high, even for people uncomfortable with consuming cannabis products that contain the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC.


The company has already rolled out its Seventh Sense brand, which is a unique line of CBD-infused beauty products that could be sold in regular stores including drug stores, grocery stores, and other retail stores. Given Horvath’s and his team’s retail experience and connections, getting Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) products on mainstream shelves should be a smooth process.


This is only the beginning.


Now that the company has just gone public, the management team now has the funds, the experience, and the timing to make a big splash through its multiple lines and outlets.


Breaking From Traditional Customer Demographics


Through a unique branding strategy focused segmentation of emotions and experience the Green Growth Brands (CSE:GGB) is choosing to move away from traditional customer demographics. With the extensive brand building experience of their team, the company believes it can capture large segments of the market that are being missed or left disappointed by the current retail experience.


Among the brands of Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB), there appears to be something for everyone—Including an outdoorsy/active living niche of its CAMP brand, a self-care botanical therapy products called Seventh Sense, a surf culture Meri + Jayne brand, feminine targeted Green Lily botanical products, and its flagship dispensary subsidiary called The Source.


At the core of the branding is the segmenting by emotion. For example: CAMP focuses on the experience of being one with nature, while Meri + Jayne focuses on combining the feeling of fun and well-being.


Perhaps the most intriguing of the company’s assets is its state-of-the-art, patent-pending developer brand Xanthic Biopharma. Xanthic has developed a proprietary process to make THC and CBD water soluble. Water solubility of cannabinoids could have the biggest potential for new products, as many more products from beauty products to edibles and drinks could spawn from this technology.


Further Cannabis Branding Efforts


As one of the country’s lowest lowest-cost producers, HEXO Corp. (TSX:HEXO) (OTC:HYYDF) has managed to branch out into the adult-use market, while retaining its Hydropothecary brand for medical clients. In this new form of the company, branding is at the forefront, especially given its recent deal struck with Canadian beer giant Molson-Coors. Expect several new products and marketing campaigns to begin in the advent of the company’s new image and name.


Named after its Melting Point Extracts brand, MPX Bioceutical Corporation (CSE: MPX) (OTC: MPXEF) is more than just a grower. Diversified across the medical and adult-use cannabis markets MPX has grown in its presence in the US, with imminent plans for ten dispensaries and four production facilities across four states, as well as beginning construction on a production facility in Canada. The company has in its portfolio established brands, such as the namesake MPX, as well as Health4Life, and Salus BioPharma.


Dubbing itself “the future of cannabis”, Namaste Technologies Inc. (TSX.V: N) (OTC: NXTTF) began as an international cannabis eCommerce company, operating 32 sites in 20 countries. After gathering data on legal cannabis users for years, now the company is spreading out into other fields, including welcoming CannMart into its portfolio to operate in distribution of medical cannabis. With a dataset of over 50,000 Canadian consumers, Namaste is getting to know the legal cannabis market quite well, and is expanding into new product offerings such as vaporizers and consumables.


With a business that operates in both Canada and Uruguay, Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX.V: XLY) (OTC: CBWTF) runs in both production and dispensaries. The company recently announced a cultivation and retail expansion into Newfoundland and Labrador, through a strategic partnership with Atlantic Cultivation, and the acquisition of large-scale hemp producer Inverell SA in Uruguay for CBD extraction.


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