Rubicon Organics: Branding for the International Cannabis Market
September 19th, 2018
Exclusive, News, Top Story
If a company was seeking to build a successful consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand, it would likely focus on a few influential markets to establish a buzz that can carry over to lesser markets. There are some other, industry-specific examples, but Los Angeles, New York, and London are probably the three dominant trend-setters. With cannabis legalization spreading across the world, companies are looking to develop brands that will resonate with an ever-growing consumer audience. In the end, cannabis marketing is no different than CPG marketing, and Los Angeles is the place to make an impact.
Rubicon Organics™ is a cannabis company with operations in California, Washington, and British Columbia. Intent on building an international consumer brand around premium organic products, the company is focusing its initial marketing efforts in the Los Angeles area before exporting its California beach brand to other markets. Rubicon plans to go public in the very near future.
California Is the Place to Be
California is home to the world’s fifth largest economy. The state attracts more than 270 million tourists each year. Los Angeles reported 48.3 million tourists in 2017. The state was the first to approve medical marijuana in 1996, further entrenching it as the epicenter of cannabis culture in the United States as well as internationally.
As food and beverage marketer Sven Stalley put it when asked about his focus on L.A. for emerging brands, “Because it’s hip, it’s cool, and everyone looks to L.A. as the trendsetter. This is the place where clothing is made, where skateboarding started, and where surfing started. Plus music and acting — it’s a lifestyle. L.A. is a lifestyle, just like the natural food and beverage space. This is where the consumers, the customer base, the buyer demographic is for natural food and beverage.” Substitute ‘organic products’ or ‘cannabis products’ for ‘natural food and beverage’ and you have a pretty concise statement about the realities of marketing to cannabis consumers.
Rubicon’s Branding Plan
As you can see in the video above, shot at this year’s 56th Annual International Surf Festival, Rubicon’s flagship 1964 Supply Co.™ brand is focused on the healthy, youthful, relaxed California beach culture. Combine that with organic products and hip packaging, and the company appears to have the SoCal marketing mix figured out. A quick look at the brand’s retail distribution points (the list is always growing) shows Rubicon blanketing the LA area. The company is saturating the trend-setting market, investing in successfully establishing the brand there before substantially branching out into other markets.
Speaking of other markets, Rubicon is in the final review stage for an ACMPR cultivation license in British Columbia and would become just the third Canadian LP producing certified organic cannabis. Starting with its 125,000 square foot hybrid greenhouse facility capable of producing 11,000 kg of cannabis flower per year, Rubicon plans to produce 67,000 kg/year by 2020. Upon receipt of the proper licenses, the company also plans to introduce the 1964 Supply Co.™ brand in Canada in 2019, effectively marrying the SoCal branding with the equally potent ‘BC Bud’ and ‘organic’ branding concepts to potentially create an international powerhouse.
Canada’s regulated cannabis environment makes it the early leader in the international cannabis export business. Licensed producers there, with the proper certifications, are beginning to do business in Europe, South America, and Australia. While the United States largely drives consumer marketing trends, companies there cannot legally export products across state lines, much less internationally. So Rubicon is really combining the best of both worlds with US lifestyle marketing and Canadian export capabilities.
Canadian LPs have been investing heavily in consumer brands recently, as most of them grew up marketing solely to medical customers. Many of these deals have been focused on Canadian brands in anticipation of upcoming legalization there. But let’s face it, a dominant international brand is not likely to be born in the prairies of Saskatchewan or even the verdant hills of Ontario. Canopy Growth recognized as much through its partnership with Organa Brands, the leading US-based cannabis distributor. Liquor giant Constellation Brands concurs as evidenced by its recent large investment in Canopy.
Rubicon Organics™ may have a solution to the thorny issue of building a successful consumer brand in the quagmire of the variously-regulated cannabis industry. Look for its vision to play out over the coming quarters, and the company to go public in the very near future.
The above article is sponsored content. Emerging Growth LLC, which owns CannabisFN.com and CFN Media, has been hired to create awareness. Please follow the link below to view our full disclosure outlining our compensation: http://www.cannabisfn.com/legal-disclaimer/
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