The 420 Green Rush

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

This week marks a notable day that was vitality important to me back in the day. Now all of these years later, it’s back on my radar in spades. The holiday is 420.

Nue keeps its eyes and ears open to some extremely BIG growth areas. We have always been on the mark when it comes to spotting hot trends, discovering artists, maximizing new platforms, breaking brands. What is coming down the pike now may be some of the greatest opportunities of our lifetime.

As of today, the cannabis industry is legal in only 7 of the 50 states. As cannabis moves towards nationwide/Federal legalization, the race for the creation of a coveted brand identity becomes paramount. Stage 1 of the “green rush” was more about cultivation and distribution. Now, we see branding and retail becoming the biggest growth segments.

Breaking brands through entertainment marketing is what we do at Nue! Having the opportunity to help establish iconic cannabis brands in the US market is very cool and has explosive potential. From a marketing perspective, there are several brands established overseas with rich histories and well known within the 420/cannabis culture community. Our task is to make them more of a mainstream household name in North America.

There’s obviously challenges associated with creating mainstream awareness with cannabis brands and products, but we are embracing those challenges and deploying tactics that will help differentiate them from the pack such as celebrity/influencer/entertainment marketing, cultural marketing, experiential activations, content development/capture, tech platform integration and partnerships with more mainstream brands that once upon a time you never expected to play in this space. As my business partner and brother Alex so eloquently put it in Adweek, “We look forward to the day that “This Buds For You” is no longer solely ABI’s classic tagline for an alcoholic beverage ;)”

What shouldn’t be overlooked, is that there is not a tremendous difference between marketing or breaking a more traditional product in culture and a cannabis brand in this new frontier. The same tactics apply. Of course, there are nuances to the space and each brand has its own identity that needs to be showcased and challenges to address. But because it is so early on in the industries growth and the space is characterized by a wild west quality, we feel this is a huge growth sector and one of the biggest opportunities to capitalize on of this generation.

In many ways, it feels like the final days of Prohibition with a lot of relevant cannabis brands still under the radar. As the industry matures and cannabis becomes more accessible, we believe branding and marketing will play an increasingly important role . So building those brands in an organic and authentic way that resonates with the consumer is everything. From this point of view, we look at the wine and spirit business and can draw parallels…The Pappy Van Winkle’s of the cannabis space are the ones that will be highly coveted, highly in demand and will survive the test of time. With that said, we don’t only think you need to be a luxury or limited edition brand to succeed here. Once the floodgates open, there will be something for everyone…from the Taco Bell’s to Sweet Greens to Peter Lugers’ of cannabis!

Alex and I will be in Denver this weekend for our client’s first annual Mile High 420 Festival.

P.S.: With 4/20, Record Store Day, Earth Day, and Tribeca Film Festival coinciding, there’s a lot to celebrate this weekend.

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Also published on Medium.