Branding: An Illustrative Story



Imagine for a minute that you walk into your regular alcohol store to pick up a bottle of your favorite tequila brand.

Yesterday the store was laid out as a large open space with dozens of racks and shelves, but today the store has been transformed. Eighty percent (80%) of the open space is now behind a counter that you are not allowed to go behind. The checkout clerks from before are in deep conversation with other customers, so you take a seat in the new waiting area they have provided.

After about 10 minutes one of the clerks finishes with his customer and calls you up to the counter. He explains that the store-owner has decided to try a new model for the business, and that the products available today are listed on “the board” behind the counter. Curious, you look for your favorite tequila brand. It is not on the list, but there are three different tequilas listed on the board. None are familiar brands you know.

You ask the clerk about your favorite brand and he explains that the store shifted its layout because the owner decided branded products were too costly, and that he knows enough local producers with good products at great prices.

You stop to think, then ask him to just show you the best tequila they have on hand.

The clerk then reaches down into the counter and pulls out two clear mason jars. One has a hand written label saying “Bob’s Dragon Water” and the other has a computer printed label that reads “Sarah’s Fire Water”. You see these are the most expensive of the options on the list, and hope this means that they are the best quality.

He tells you what other customers say about the quality of these two products. He screws off the lid of one of the big glass jars and offers you to smell the tequila. Confused but intrigued, you accept the invitation. It smells like you would expect tequila to smell.

You look at the clerk and give him a nod. He seals up the big jar and hands it to you. Again confused, you take it and begin to inspect it visually.

Unlike your normal bottle, there is no extensive labeling with health warnings and marketing information about the brand. The jar is completely clear, except for the hand written label that reads “Bob’s Dragon Water”.

You ask the clerk what you should be looking to see. He explains how some of his customers find it important to inspect the jar before buying, to make sure they don’t see any impurities in the liquid inside. The clerk explains that Bob is a good distiller that they like to work with, but since he’s a one-man shop you have to take quality control upon yourself. At this point, you set down the jar, thank the clerk for his time, and walk out the door.

Though it sounds a little ridiculous, the story above is a very accurate depiction of the current state of legal marijuana in the United States.

The entire market for legal marijuana operates extremely inefficiently because there is no trust in transactions between producers, retailers, and consumers. We believe that distrust between producers, retailers, and consumers is primarily caused by inconsistency. Inconsistency shows up most intensely at the consumer product level, as illustrated in the story above.

So what’s the solution?

Aquarius Cannabis will be controlled and produced consistently and pesticide free from seed to final product, then packaged and branded to encourage consumer trust.