As Los Angeles-based, cannabis wellness brand Dosist launches in Florida this week, the 2-year-old company continues to flex offline marketing activations to grow its audience.
Dosist sells a line of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol oil formulas and vape pens targeted at six functions, including sleep, pain and calmness. To mark its entrance in the Florida market, Dosist will be activating at Miami’s Art Basel — it has exclusively been sold in California (for ages 21 and up) via its own site and select retailers for the past two years, as the federal government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996, while Florida followed suit more recently in 2016.
“There is still so much that is unknown to the potential customer about cannabis, and there is still quite a lot of stigma. We see this experience as a complementary way of educating people about Dosist, but also the entire cannabis space,” said Dosist chief marketing officer Anne-Marie Dacyshyn, who came to the company in July from snowboard and lifestyle brand Burton. It also serves as a workaround for customer acquisition as online marketing channels like Facebook and Instagram do not allow drug and drug-related promotions.
Through partnerships with the art fair, member’s club Soho House and boutique fitness company Barry’s Bootcamp, the wellness brand will rely on experiences like 14 branded workout classes followed by cannabis-based education sessions with staffed concierges. Dosist expects to promote its brand in front of 1,500 potential customers this week. This is not unlike what Ayurvedic beauty brand Uma Oils did with Equinox around education for its Holiday Gift Giving Suite. Partnering with like-minded brands like Barry’s Bootcamp was synergistic, said Dacyshyn, who added that Barry’s fitness clients are also adding more wellness products in their routines.
In many ways, Dosist’s activation strategy is not unlike the monthly small group (10 to 15 people) education sessions or “field work” it has conducted since its April 2016; however, the Art Basel promotion more similarly replicates what the company did at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. Over the course of 10 days in September, Dosist presented its first, large-scale public pop-up to upward of 5,000 people. In conjunction with the multiday event, Dosist created its first online marketing campaign called “Not Available in Canada,” which called out the country’s Bill C-45 for not legalizing concentrates or devices, and drove viewers to its site for an upcoming 2019 wellness retreat in Los Angeles. Through both of those efforts, Dosist saw a tenfold spike in customer acquisition and engagement on its site.
“We never want to get away from being a local and regional educational platform,” said Dacyshyn, who explained that Dosist has grown from being strictly Los Angeles-focused to other markets like San Francisco, San Diego and now Miami. (He declined to share the brand’s annual revenue.) Toronto and New York will be key targets for 2019. Cannabis company MedMen has also taken this localized approach with its dispensaries and new product lineups.
Dosist explained these offline events are largely brand awareness plays and not focused on conversion at this point. “It’s not a pivot, but we think the brand has to align ourselves with larger global, cultural moments to build a bigger conversation,” she added.