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A Little Shatner With Your Cannabis? How Smarty Plants Embraces 'Quirky' To Outshine Rival Brands

March 4, 2021 2:16 pm
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A Little Shatner With Your Cannabis? How Smarty Plants Embraces 'Quirky' To Outshine Rival Brands

New cannabis products are getting placed on dispensary shelves every day, making for a "noisy landscape," according to Petalfast Inc. CMO Ryan Goldstein. As a result, brands are searching for ways to differentiate themselves and their products from the competition.

Some companies used classic rock stars for inspiration. Others opt for a more high-end aesthetic.
For Smarty Plants, cannabis sales and marketing agency Petalfast went the quirky route.

For example, each eight-ounce jar of flower includes offbeat trivia and fun "deep dives" such as:

  • "Turning airplanes into houses."
  • "The deepest hole in the world."
  • "William Shatner's cover song catalog."

Smarty Plants launched last month out of Petalfast's sales accelerator portfolio. The goal, Goldstein says, was to introduce a "quirky" cannabis brand to consumers — one with 1980s and 1990s pop culture nostalgia weaved into the mix.

To learn more, Benzinga spoke with Goldstein about how Smarty Plants came about, the challenges it must meet to outshine rival brands and whether psilocybin is in Petalfast's future:

BZ: What does it mean to be a part of the Petalfast sales accelerator? Describe the process from entry to launch.

R.G.: The go-to-market sales accelerator channel is available to a limited selection of high-potential brands. The accelerator will at first focus only on the state of California, with other states to follow, while the agency services channel is available to brands nationally. From entry to launch, brands in the accelerator will benefit from the branding, sales, marketing and distribution expertise in the Petalfast team, which includes a dedicated statewide sales force, as well as access to our preferred distribution provider. The accelerator portfolio approach is a key differentiator to the Petalfast offering, significantly changing the way a cannabis brand launches, scales and establishes itself in the market.

What's the single biggest expense for a new brand like Smarty Plants? 

Operationally, good flower is our single biggest expense, and we've ensured we've got plenty of it. Once supply chain dialed in, trade activity should be any brand's biggest expense in a gatekeeper-controlled industry, like cannabis, or wines and spirits. We're focused on two things; helping to make the Smarty Plants brand be understood and welcomed by the retail community, and then subsequently showing our appreciation for being included in their ever noisy landscape. We know that Smarty Plants is a choice and we're grateful to be able to start new relationships. We believe that Smarty Plants is a signal amongst the noise with great product, great people and amazing content and we're excited to have hit the ground running.

In what ways does the brand tap ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia to differentiate itself? 

People can expect deep dives into things that deserve and require deep dives. Things like Rubik's cube art, anime voiceovers, scientific mysteries, ocarinas, world records, 90's nostalgia, and William Shatner's cover song catalog.

What's special about the interactive QR codes?

We wanted to give consumers a virtual experience while they are enjoying their flower. The QR code takes customers to the Smarty Plants Knowledge Blog where they can gain knowledge in obscure out-of-the-box topics ranging from art, history, math, science, social studies, and anything we find intriguing. The GetSmartyPlants website gives consumers the opportunity to explore curated content, while other platforms like Smarty Spotify playlists and Snapchat experiences complement their mood.

What's next for Petalfast? Perhaps psilocybin is on the horizon?

We're focused on building the most uniquely rounded portfolio of brands and brand partners in the industry. As a wine/alcohol guy, I am certainly keeping a close eye on beverage and we feel uniquely positioned with Artet as our anchor in the category. As for shrooms. I mean… maybe-ish?