Dixie Brands (the Power of a Brand): Understanding and Addressing the Market

(Dixie Brands is one of the companies featured in The Power of a Brand: Lessons From 20 Top Cannabis Companies, in the June issue of mg Magazine.)

When mg Magazine featured Tripp Keber on its September 2015 cover, the energetic chief executive officer of Denver-based Dixie Elixirs & Edibles oversaw a company with a solid footprint in a handful of states that had positioned itself as one of a very few national brands in the industry. Fast forward to today and the rechristened Dixie Brands, now helmed by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Smith, remains a leading provider of edibles in the U.S., has added more branded product lines, and soon will expand its Dixie-branded offerings to six Latin American markets courtesy of a joint venture with Khiron Life Sciences.

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Andrew Floor, vice president of marketing, traced the company’s longevity to understanding consumer habits, wants, and needs and then addressing those things with both products and marketing. “The infused cannabis category is driven by exploration and discovery, and our Dixie brand satisfies the needs of that consumer via big, bold flavors and colors across a product portfolio ranging from beverages to gummies, chocolates, mints, and concentrates. Our Synergy brand, on the other hand, is performance-based, crafted for a health-and-wellness consumer looking for a more holistic cannabis experience. Synergy branding is more restrained to reflect that audience and satisfies their needs through a ratio CBD:THC product portfolio that delivers true balance from micro-dosing.”

In the future, he added, “We will become even more consumer-centric, using our understanding of our audience’s needs and wants to drive every decision we make, from branding to packaging and product development to communication.”

The one word that defines the image Dixie wants consumers to have first and foremost in their minds? “Authentic,” said Floor.

As far as challenges the company faces as it moves ahead developing national and global brand awareness in such a fast-moving industry, Floor pointed to a “multitude of challenges” faced by “multi-state/multi-country [consumer packaged goods] companies: maintaining consistency of product experience across borders, overcoming consumer misperceptions and stigma, and hugely limited [point-of-purchase] marketing opportunities in highly regulated and restricted retail landscapes, just to name a few. But at the top of that long list of challenges undoubtedly lies the regulations limiting our ability to communicate with our consumers. Those regulations are both regional and fluid, which means our marketing team has to work overtime to keep abreast of what we can and can’t do or say.

“Worse,” he continued, “the canna-curious consumer is hungry for information, wanting to build relationships with brands they can trust. Despite the fact Dixie Brands wants to be a responsible partner and guide for them on their journey into the category, restrictions on how, where, and when we can communicate with them make satisfying that primary consumer need incredibly difficult.”

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