Brad Rogers of Crimson White & Bloom on constructing a hashish model

Brad Rogers He learned the power of brand equity early in his career, long before legal cannabis was first sold in his native Canada. The co-founder and chief executive of Michigan-based multistate operator Red, White & Bloom was in his mid-twenties and vice president of production at Somerset Entertainment, a Toronto-based audio company that recorded themed CDs and sold them to major box retailers under well-known brand names .

“I would go to Russia and record the Bolshevik orchestra that played Puccini’s greatest hits, call it Dinner in Italy and put the Food Network logo on it,” said Rogers, now 49. By placing the CDs strategically in the candle department of embeds in stores like Walmart and Target, the company sold millions of copies to soccer moms looking for romantic evening music. “That was my first impression of the power of great brands. I learned how to transfer brand equity and trust to related or complementary products. “

The early revelation derives a core from Red white & bloomThe growth strategy (RWB) can be seen most clearly in the license agreement for 26 million US dollars with the legendary magazine High Times, which became the omnichannel magazine. Rogers’ company licensed exclusive rights to the High Times name in Illinois, Florida and Michigan, RWB’s dominant market. There, the first wave of flowers, vapes and gums from the High-Times brand was completely sold out on the first day on the market.

“High Times is a staple in the cannabis industry and, in my opinion, the only brand that has proven itself in many ways,” said Rogers. “From the massive distribution of your magazine to the Cannabis Cups, we’re bringing this Mindshare to market with a consumable that does it justice High times Surname.”

Rogers is counting on the “halo of confidence” that the name High Times and Platinum Vapes (acquired by RWB in June 2020) can add to the company’s upcoming private label portfolio. In support of what he finds compelling for consumers, Rogers is tacitly building 500,000 square feet of THC cultivation. Another 500,000 square meters are due to bow later this year. In addition, the company has plans to grow 3.6 million square feet of hemp (including pending deals). RWB also has 18 pharmacies in Michigan that are either open or operational and another eight High-Times branded stores in Florida facilities. (In February, the company made an important statement of its intentions in Florida by acquiring them all Land stocks‘Assets there.)

The rapid acquisitions and vertically integrated approach give RWB the scale and operational weight to dominate in markets with limited licenses and only vertical markets, flood them with brands, and capitalize on the fact that brand loyalty is growing across the country win is.

Brad Rogers, CEO of Red White & Bloom (Image: RWB)

“Buy then build,” said Rogers, referring to the proven strategies of Procter & Gamble and Constellation Brands. Both mega-corporations have brand portfolios that target consumer segments rather than creating a parent brand that seeks to be everything to everyone. “The industry is changing rapidly. One brand won’t stand out; There will be several brands. Red White & Bloom’s strategy is to flank our flagship brands with others that we can sell to different psychographics and demographics. “

Despite the spending spree, Rogers firmly believes that solid fundamentals and good business practices will be maintained. He’s not buying at any cost the topline focus that underpins the tech economy and appears to define the first wave of legal cannabis. “I just don’t get this barbecue thing, especially in this margin business,” he said, lamenting the billions inflated by the original multistate operators. “Do not get me wrong. You need capital to build, but you need to have a solid strategy, stable infrastructure, and smart management team to support it.

“We’ve spent $ 180 million and we’re well on our way to get really close to the top 5 this year,” he added. “I think, on closer inspection, ours is one of the most sensible uses of capital this industry has ever seen.”

These are bold predictions, but few want to bet against Rogers. Since joining the cannabis industry in Canada in 2012, he has helped companies that consistently outperform the market, maintain strong balance sheets, and generate healthy returns for investors. His company Mettrum Health Corp. was one of the first fully licensed medical cannabis companies in Canada, growing into a mammoth supporting more than 15,000 patients and 665,000 square feet of cultivation. An ascendant Canopy Growth Corporation won Mettrum for around $ 300 million in 2017, a record for a cannabis deal at the time.

Under its Spectrum brand, Mettrum pioneered a color-based product naming system long before brands like Dosist and Canndescent shunned common names. Rogers said the move was aimed primarily at doctors, not patients. “Doctors were the goalkeepers in the Canadian medical market back then, and many we spoke to said, ‘You expect me to prescribe Green Crack or Gorilla Glue? ‘Never in a million years. We knew we had to do things differently. “

That shrewd sense of subtle innovation carried over Can’t trust, a struggling operator with only a few thousand patients. The company selected Rogers as president after he left Canopy. Under his watch, CannTrust began prioritizing consistency and standardization across product lines.

“The way I saw it, the market was screaming for it back then,” he said. “It seems obvious to say now, but people wanted consistent dosing. You didn’t want to guess the THC content. I knew that in order to make serious pharmaceutical products, we had to treat the crop like a commodity and achieve consistency instead of wrapping it in that magical aura. “

By investing in state-of-the-art growth facilities developed by Ph.D. Rogers, a gardener, briefly enlivened the fate of CannTrust, adding roughly 75,000 patients in eighteen months, and bringing the company to a reported market cap of $ 1.5 billion. As Rogers relates, his belief that the real opportunity was over the limit was not shared by the company and they parted ways. Rogers traveled to Michigan – then a burgeoning medical market with an abundance of untapped potential – and his former employer began a downward spiral that culminated in a well-known scandal involving unlicensed facilities.

And yet, despite a career in the upper echelons of Big Cannabis, Rogers maintains a humble, everyday nature that runs counter to some of the most in the limelight CEOs and founders. Maybe it’s his Canadian roots or that he replanted them in the American Midwest, a region known for its straightforward, down-to-earth business culture. But it’s his innate passion for strategic growth that really comes through in conversation.

“Have you ever played? [the strategy game] He asked with a glimmer in his eye, showing the still-burning glow of competition from high school playing elite hockey. He sketched RWB’s strategy for conquering markets and waving his hands on an imaginary peninsula in Florida as if pharmacies were cavalry and annexed artillery. “I love how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. The money, the infrastructure, the people, the markets. It’s exciting!”

But Rogers also takes quiet pride in the sense of responsibility that comes with supporting thousands of employees and helping them develop careers in a new industry. “I feel really blessed to be able to help others in this regard and to bring a whole new industry into business,” he said.

Time will tell if Rogers can repeat his success in the highly competitive, laboriously regulated US marketplace. Red White & Bloom’s well-capitalized competitors are becoming more efficient, and the great unknown of federal legalization is looming somewhere on the horizon. But there is little doubt about Rogers’ formidable track record of winning big bets on what’s next.

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