Cannvocate recognized as Best of the Industry 2023
Best of the Industry 2023 – Best Design or Creative Consultant
For those that have been inside the cannabis industry for the last few years, Douglas Hall and the team at Advocate and Associates have been mainstays – recognizable faces with enthusiasm seemingly bursting from every pore. They’ve been the behind-the-scenes go-to for some of the industry’s biggest events and participants.
For those outside the industry, the company’s newly launched cannabis-specific brand, Cannvocate, is seemingly everywhere. Putting in face time and placing cannabis brands in some of the most attractive and heavily populated locations and events throughout 2022. As such, Greenway readers recognized Cannvocate as the Best Design or Creative Consultant in Missouri’s cannabis industry for 2023.
Greenway recently spoke to Hall, the founder and President of Cannvocate, and the parent company Advocate & Associates, about the company’s culture and what makes a quality partner in the cannabis space.
“Our focus as an organization (before and inclusive of the cannabis brand) and one of our core client requirements, is that we have to believe we can make an exponential difference in the lives and businesses that we choose to work with,” Hall explained. “What separates us from most service providers in cannabis is our hyperfocus on ROI. What differentiates us generally, is our abstract approach in services offered. We fashion our company as a growth firm. We’re not a marketing company. We’re not an event producer. We’re not a brand agency or media company. However, we market brands, produce events, produce content, buy and distribute media, build platforms, web development, messaging and other random yet relevant services as it relates to the scalability of our partners. When people ask me what we do, the easiest answer is, whatever it takes and we do it well. And I can say that with confidence as I have one of the best teams in the game.”
That team is one of the things Hall is proudest of, he’s never shy about building up the brand or talking about himself – but when he speaks about his team, he glows. His enthusiasm for his people and the culture they help to create is palpable.
“Ciara Brewer is a mother fucking beast. One of the kindest hearts you’ve ever encountered and one of the most analytical minds you’d ever face. You know how they say that every single dollar bill has a trace of cocaine on it? Most Missouri cannabis messaging has a trace of Ciara on it. She oversees our Agility department ensuring we’re both nimble and organized, she’s a regarded HubSpot partner, and she has over 10 years experience keeping me honest.
“Mitch Fernandez has one job. And that’s to make me look good. Which, in turn, requires a series of other responsibilities. And he is efficient and flawless at all of them. He’s the guy in the background setting up a panel presentation, producing a webinar, mastering audio tracks, and ensuring every production goes off without a hitch. A former corporate event producer and casino entertainment director, Mitch knows how to handle actual rock stars. He heads up our Performance department and he makes sure our clients (and me by proxy) look good.
“If you know Jack Heffner, and you know he’s into something, you know you’re going to hear about it. Jack runs Activation. He ensures our clients are heard. With a resume that touts global brand management clients in categories like food & beverage, tobacco, entertainment, and cannabis to name a few…Jack has impressed more brands than a Wyoming cattle farm.
“Allison Tippett-Oberkramer joined our team with ample experience in the trade. Couple that with her corporate brand agency experience and you’ve got one of the best client reps in the biz. Her passion for the plant is obvious and her eye for quality brands is spectacular.
“Her partner in crime, Jamie Coleman, comes with a vast background in entertainment, hip-hop culture, and community events; he has decades of experience in city politics working in city hall for over 20 years before joining our team. There’s a reason everybody loves him and brands love him repping their product. People listen to Jamie.
“Toss in the honey badger herself, Ms. Tammy P, and the most versed and experienced team in the biz gets to lean on one of the most connected and knowledgeable women in the industry.
“But none of us would be effective without all the field reps, developers, editors, and designers that brought our ideas and client brands to consumers this year. Roman, Kim, Monica, John, Stephanie, Robin, Leah, Emily, Catty, Ray, Chris, Jaydip, Jordan, and Dexter.
“Seriously, I’m just the caterer. These are the people that made the magic happen in 2022 and earned us this award,” Hall said.
Tell us about 2022 for Cannvocate?
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. What most people don’t know, is that while we’ve been active in the Missouri cannabis industry for over 3 years now, we only launched Cannvocate (our cannabis-specific services line) in January 2022.
And while I’d like to fashion myself a pragmatist, this team wasn’t built with hesitation in mind. So we hit the ground running and we ran hard.
The beauty of a boom market is that you get to play in the variables. The horror of a boom market is the effects of uncertainty.
The best of the year was doing some really amazing shit with some of our favorite partners. The worst of the year, biting our nails to the bone approaching the vote.
But that made election night so much sweeter and February 3rd was our new year.
What endears your company to patients and others in the industry?
Our entire organization has a love for the plant. And every individual has their own story and reason. Regardless, with anything we do, we want to make an impact. Activating consumers for our partners has given us the opportunity to educate and inform people at a level we never believed was possible. The feeling of changing somebody’s life for the better as your job is incredibly fulfilling. It feels good to be kind. It’s that simple.
With the launch of adult use, how do you intend to stay competitive as the Missouri market continues to grow?
The same way we stayed competitive prior to the launch. We ask the right questions, we explore the best opportunities, we present and make the best decisions with our partners and we pursue them in spite of popular opinion. We’re agile. Scale is our jam. We’re hella prepared and excited to ride these crunchy new waves.
What does the legalization of marijuana for adult use mean for Cannvocate?
It means it’s all worth it. While it’s the same services offered, our non-cannabis client work is referred to as our “day job” internally. That day job took a back seat for our commitment to cannabis while financing it at the same time. I believe legalization means legitimization. The same people that might have narced on us in high school are asking how they can invest in cannabis or what they should buy on their next dispensary visit. It’s quite validating.
Can you tell me about Cannvocate’s community involvement?
Well, I gather that would all depend on what you mean by community. If you’re referring to the trade, our involvement with the association has, by proxy, put us at ground zero for the majority of the efforts that got us this far.
If by community, you mean patients. Our organization, over the last year, was directly responsible for hundreds of medical card activations and positioned ourselves to educate on the benefits of medicinal marijuana more than any other organization in the state. We touched over 200,000 Missourians in September alone at public events and activations.
And if by community, you mean the culture. Culture is about involvement, it’s about how you live your life. And we’re all about that life.
What plans are on the horizon for Cannvocate?
Our focus is always to stay ahead of the curve. With rec now in full swing, and a whole set of new laws, rules, and regulations. We’re excited to play in this new sandbox. We’re eager to apply what we’ve learned. And we’re super excited to do even more hoodrat shit with our friends.