INDUSTRY

Going Platinum: How to Build a Winning Cannabis Brand

Colorado-based Platinum Brands is an interesting case study for cannabis operators who want to succeed and add value.
Colorado-based Platinum Brands is an interesting case study for cannabis operators who want to succeed and add value. / Image courtesy of ebb

If you’re a cannabis brand, who do you market to and why?

It’s clear that cannabis, which was once a pillar of counterculture and rebellion, has begun to work its way into the mainstream, and opportunities are greater than ever for brands to tap into their niche and really connect with their audiences.

Colorado-based Platinum Brands is an interesting case study on this front, having established two award-winning edible companies that are tailored to the millennial lifestyle: simple, effective, and sustainably-conscious.

Establishing a Winning Brand in Cannabis

man holding TasteBudz gummy
The mission with TasteBudz was straightforward: to create the "perfect" cannabis gummy. / Image courtesy of TasteBudz

Although a wide range of demographics enjoy Platinum Brands edibles, the appeal toward millennials is no coincidence. 

A millennial himself, Founder and Head of Product Brooks Allman believes the target audience came out naturally in the production process with the labeling, graphic design, market presence, and overall product innovation.

“We don’t want to be pigeonholed and say we only target millennials,” Allman says. “But, we wanted our products to feel organic and speak to our true selves.”

Platinum Brands’ mission is full transparency: providing consumers with the best product and education he possibly can, and the brand’s two edible companies, TasteBudz and ebb, have already reaped positive response from customers.

TasteBudz, founded in January 2017, is the result of Allman’s mission for the “perfect” gummy. While he believes the market is borderline over-saturated with edibles – especially gummies – Allman wanted to focus on delivering a product that is reliable, low-calorie, and combined with the highest quality ingredients possible. 

Meanwhile, ebb is on the other spectrum of edibles – the increasingly popular cannabis dissolvables – to be infused in the beverage, meal, or recipe of your choice. 

“People care more now about what they’re putting in their bodies,” Allman says. “We take every measure to test our products in the best way possible. Millennials are also caring more about sustainability, and ebb is very sustainably focused, from packaging to product.”

Transparency is hugely important in the cannabis industry. When companies are transparent with their products and processes, they can reach higher levels of trust and credibility among consumers. 

In keeping with this mission, 90 percent of ebb’s packaging is made out of card stock, which is compostable. The cannabis industry is notorious for single-use plastic, so ebb and Platinum Brands as a whole try to stay away from that as much as possible.

“It’s unfortunate that the green industry is becoming known as the plastic industry,” Allman says. “99 percent of the time, if you buy a joint at a dispensary, it’ll come in a single-use plastic container. As a Colorado industry leader, it’s important to lead the pack, and the new generations are going to keep demanding that packaging be sustainably focused.”

In Cannabis, Consumer Education and Trust are a Big Deal

woman on the couch with ebb
Strong values as a brand (along with a great product) will inspire consumer loyalty. / Image courtesy of ebb

Another secret to Platinum Brands’ success? They don’t shy away from those cannabis knowledge gaps – in fact, they’re aiming to bridge them entirely. 

“Education is always at the forefront of our process,” Allman says. “We’re always trying to educate the customer on the oils we use compared to the industry standard. I would say we’re in a tremendous push to get our educational pieces out to the consumer right now.”

This is where the current focus on Colorado comes into play: making sure all of the budtenders selling the products are thoroughly trained, so that when a consumer comes in asking about ebb or TasteBudz, they know exactly what to say and how to recommend products based on the consumer’s needs. 

“It’s essential that a consumer coming in and asking about our products should be given the respect and information they’re looking for – not just, this is indica, that’s sativa,” Allman says. “We want all of the budtenders to have a deeper level understanding of the products that really resonates with our customers and what they’re looking for.”

And this is why Allman and team continue to push the envelope. Consumers are watching closely, and they want to get behind a brand that shares their values.

“Everything about what we’re doing is on pace with what people care about right now,” Allman says. “Sustainability, subtlety, and quality products that people really enjoy. We’re really excited about that prospect, and everything to come.”

Passion is The Driver in Cannabis Industry Evolution

man stretching next to ebb
It was passion for cannabis that brought it out of the shadows and into the light. / Image courtesy of ebb

Allman got his start in the cannabis industry when he moved to Colorado directly after college – only a couple of years before adult-use cannabis was fully legalized in the Centennial State. Immediately, he knew he’d found his niche, but he also knew that the journey would be far from easy.

“When I stepped into the cannabis sector, I found that pioneering a new industry was something I was really interested in, and it quickly became a serious passion of mine,” Allman says. “Back in 2013 in Colorado, it was really the wild, wild west, and that allowed me to pave a path that hadn’t been paved before.”

Allman’s first major focus was cannabis distribution and courier work, which provided him with a lot of insight into the industry, how it operates, and how cannabis is sold, distributed, and marketed throughout a legal adult-use state. 

From there, Allman was able to create his own cannabis transportation company, which led to even more insight into the industry, along with earning his initial experience in cannabis leadership. 

Once cannabis became fully legal in Colorado, brands were finally able to step out of the shadows a bit and not be so worried about having to constantly bob and weave around the intense restrictions, dispensary raids, and arrests. 

“Of course there are still restrictions and regulations, but with cannabis being legal, you’re really able to be creative and expressive in the space, which was really freeing,” Allman says. 

Allman’s experience with the ever-changing Colorado cannabis landscape has been a whirlwind, but it’s taught him how to adapt, innovate, and keep up with consumer demands and desires. 

“I think the best word to describe the change is rapid. The rate of evolution in this industry is so tremendous,” Allman says. 

“If you think back to 2013, when dab culture was on the rise, it felt like every six months, there was a new trending piece of the industry. And we’ve evolved ten turns, all the way to live resin and all of these other types of concentrates. It’s interesting seeing this rate of evolution. Keeping up with it is challenging, but it keeps things exciting at the same time.”

Allman compares this rate of industry evolution to the evolution of cannabis regulation, which has arguably moved at a much slower (and confusing) pace throughout the country. 

“The rate of evolution this industry experiences almost forces the hand of government agencies to catch up,” Allman says. 

“I had a lot of experience in the courier and distribution side of things. Before the 406 license was introduced, we were having to design and guide the path we were on without any licensing or guidance. We were sort of just forging our way.”

Disrupting The Cannabis Landscape Through Focus

man eating Tastebudz gummy
What are you focusing on in cannabis and why? Are you focusing on too much as a brand? Or not enough? / Image courtesy of Tastebudz

The cannabis space must become a more sustainably-conscious industry, and brands like Platinum are setting the stage.

And while a lot of the cannabis industry and its brands try to capture every segment of the market, from oils to tinctures to flower and everything in between, Platinum Brands wants to keep focusing on what they’re good at: edibles.

“We’re very much interested in perfecting our craft, and we think we’ve done that with ebb and TasteBudz. ebb is fat-free, gluten-free, and very low in sugar, so it’s very friendly for a lot of demographics, and TasteBudz is made with all-natural colors and flavors,” Allman says.

Platinum Brands offers just that with their edibles: simple, clean products with clear intentions that cast a wide net to include every type of cannabis consumer. 

But although Allman doesn’t want to box anyone out of Platinum’s target audience, these products were definitely designed with the mindset of today’s generation in mind – a generation focused on sustainability, awareness, and attention-to-detail that will help keep our society (and planet) healthy and informed. 

“We wanted to be a disruptor in the industry,” Allman says. “We see a lot of other brands say, ‘We have the best this, we have the best that.’ We just want to be able to say we have the best cannabis, backed with a solid, sustainable product that people enjoy.”

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