Cannabis-focused branding and marketing agency, Jared Mirsky-led Wick & Mortar, has been the driving creative force behind some of the industries largest brands. For its part, communications company Chapter 2, founded by Kenneth Loo and Clara Jeon, has an impressive track record working with top designer fashion brands including No Sesso, Rhude, Reese Cooper, Pyer Moss, and Keiser Clark, heavyweights like Inditex, Levi’s, Nike, LeBron James’ UNKNWN, and DJ Steve Aoki.
Now, the firms have decided to combine forces to launch a new agency focused on helping cannabis companies struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic, creating High Grade Hope, a philanthropic project that will offer a suite of premium services including product packaging designs and content creation for brands seeking a relaunch. The goal is to help small independent cannabis businesses reorganize, leverage talent and services that they typically would not be able to afford at this juncture, and come back stronger and ready to dominate their respective markets.
“Through our work on Narvona, Chapter 2 and I had been talking for several months about deepening our relationship. We were a few weeks aways from making a formal announcement when the world stopped,” Mirsky said. “After the initial shock of coronavirus wore off, we recognized a dramatic paradigm shift in what our focus as partners, agencies, and as humans needed to be. Our companies have always shared a bond of putting our gift, our expertises, into the right campaigns to impact change in our industries and world. It was clear to us that we needed to fast track getting the partnership online and channel our abilities towards those in our community who were in urgent need.”
Responding To Changing Times
While they had been planning on the new venture starting out on a different note, Mirsky, Jeon, and Loo quickly pivoted in light of the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. To bring awareness to what’s happening in the cannabis industry and to help bring immediate assistance to the small business owners who are suffering the most, the team at Seattle-based Wick & Mortar quickly reached out to a network of partners, friends, and clients and organized into a philanthropic project to unite behind. From this, High Grade Hope (@highgradehope) was born with the mantra: “We will band together to brand together.”
Companies enrolled in High Grade Hope will undergo a rebrand under the care of Wick & Mortar and relaunch under the public relations of Chapter 2 with the hope of bouncing out of the global economic crisis from coronavirus.
Moving as swiftly as possible, High Grade Hope has launched their organization and website (www.highgradhope.com) in less than 10 days time. The firm is kicking the help off with an open application process.
Submissions are currently open and will be until this coming Monday, May 4. 10 finalist companies will be invited to present to both agencies.
The teams at Wick & Mortar, Chapter 2, and the program mentors will vote on the final 3 to 5 participants by May 7th, and the process of transformation will begin.
Working seamlessly with Wick & Mortar’s processes, Chapter 2 — with offices in New York and Los Angeles — will consult on brand strategy coupled with pro-bono 12 months of public relations, content distribution, digital marketing consulting, and VIP/Influencer services to bring the new brands to the forefront of their category in cannabis.
The combined teams will lead the rebranding relaunch as they flow from development to launch to expansion, with every member of the team collaborating on every project at every level.
Adding a layer of education and consultation for the business owners involved in High Grade Hope, Green Flower Media will offer free courses in their extensive cannabis curriculum and Ricky Williams will offer one on one guidance through his astral-branding techniques.
Additionally, a who’s who of cannabis experts have stepped up as mentor participants through the High Grade Hope incubator including:
- Steve DeAngelo, Last Prisoner Project;
- Al Harington, Viola;
- Simon Maxwell, Green Flower Media;
- Josh Kesslemen, RAW;
- Renee Gagnon, Women Grow;
- Javier Haase, Benzinga Cannabis and El Planteo;
- David Tran and James Zachodni, Farechild Events;
- Layne Schmerin, Top Tree.
Loo sees High Grade Hope as a powerful reflection of what their new partnership can execute while leveraging the powerful network of both agencies.
“The muscle behind High Grade Hope is world class, you can see it in our agencies’ track records. By coupling our top tier services with the mentorship of these industry titans, each brand will have a masterclass syllabus that can be applied to any type of cannabis business across the globe,” he said. “We have worked so hard to build our agencies into respected leaders and forward-thinking operations, and we are humbled to be in the position to support small businesses in need and excited to channel that creative spark in the right areas. This is the time to define our new normal with leadership and collaboration and set an example for other industries to follow.”
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