Ignite (the Power of a Brand): the Maverick Effect

(Ignite 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 it comes to understanding branding, gambler, internet celebrity, and Ignite founder Dan Bilzerian has an advantage: His over-the-top lifestyle led him to a position among the top forty Instagram influencers globally. “Dan saw the sea change in cannabis and CBD coming, and how his core audience of 18- to 34-year-olds were over-indexing for interest and use,” said Ignite International Inc. President Jim McCormick. Naturally, the pair set out to create a sexy lifestyle brand.

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Ignite is a maverick. While the company respects the industry’s traditions, Bilzerian and McCormick have no intention of becoming part of the pack. According to McCormick, the brand always is looking for the next peak to climb, because…well, “there’s no prize for second place.”

“Every brand touchpoint has Ignite’s unique viewpoint built in, and every execution has to feel authentic to Dan’s lifestyle and worldview,” he said. “If other cannabis companies buy billboards, we buy building walls. If other brands throw parties, Ignite leverages Dan’s incredible 32,000-square-foot house and packs it full of celebrities and athletes.”

The brand’s packaging reflects Ignite’s uncommonly in-your-face approach to marketing a premium product: The aesthetic is modern, urbane, and sleek…with a sharp edge. In keeping with its objective of cornering the 18- to 34-year-old-male demographic, the company’s social media presence leverages not only Bilzerian’s 26.9 million Instagram followers but also takes a bite out of Snap and Twitch. “We market more like Red Bull than we do a typical cannabis company,” McCormick said. “We have some of the most popular influencers who post for free because they believe in the products and their benefits, they respect Dan, and they know being associated with Ignite will increase their engagement.”

As much as Ignite trades on the testosterone-fueled reputation of its founder, the company also attracts what McCormick described as “unique females” who are confident enough to lean into the Ignite brand. If the company’s performance to date is any indication, “unique females” probably will see that as a challenge.

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