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Sweetleaf Collective

Sweetleaf Collective wanted to grow its impact.

Sweetleaf Collective is a donation-based compassion cannabis charity organization. Established in 1996, it is one of the oldest medical cannabis groups in the world and has given away more than $2 million worth of compassionate cannabis to HIV/AIDS and cancer patients in California – and yet its digital presence has been minimal.

Founder and Director Joe Airone, better known as “Sweetleaf Joe,” has personally been an activist in the Bay Area for more than 20 years. Naturally, he and the organization do the work to make an impact – not to take up the spotlight.

As a result, they felt stuck when it came to growing their impact by speaking up about their work. From their dispensary partners to their legacy farmers, they wanted to share the community involved in this movement.

Sweetleaf Collective came to Cannabis Creative to showcase its incredible work.

In order to continue making an impact in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, Sweetleaf wanted to expand its partnerships with local cannabis businesses. It was essential for them to showcase the important work they were doing on a daily basis to have a “home-base” online for these potential partners. As a cannabis marketing agency, our team is well-aware of the risks of marketing cannabis businesses online. We also have specialized expertise in navigating the risks around marketing cannabis businesses online and helping clients understand what they can and cannot do online. Ultimately, the Sweetleaf team came to us to create greater awareness around their brand and set up a strong, compliant foundation for their digital presence.

Cannabis Creative donated time to help Sweetleaf set up for success.

The Cannabis Creative team recognized that the best way to help Sweetleaf find solid footing was to leverage the organization's impressive and impactful history and provide extensive best-practice documentation. Sweetleaf Joe had received a lot of attention as an activist in the community for his personal endeavors and has been featured in hundreds of media outlets, conferences, and grassroots events as a speaker and influential figure. Our social media team identified this as a strong opportunity to leverage experience and history in the industry to help grow Sweetleaf’s business accounts and increase brand awareness.

The primary roadblock was that Sweetleaf had its Instagram account shut down. Even as a non-profit, they were creating content with heavy language around selling or giving away cannabis and cannabis products.

Since the account could not be recovered, the Cannabis Creative team re-created an Instagram account from scratch alongside creating a brand new LinkedIn company page and growing Facebook.

These platforms combined with a thoughtful content strategy would allow Sweetleaf to leverage its past success, partners, and features across sectors of the cannabis industry while also building a new audience without as much friction as fully starting from scratch.

Before we created posts, our social media team emphasized the importance of building a brand online. This involved creating a custom social media mood board that identified basic aesthetic principles, such as brand color palette, typography, and more.

By building out a solid brand visual, we were able to create beautiful content for social media that both highlighted the important work Sweetleaf was doing and emphasized the brand identity and bond between the organization and its customers.

In doing so, the new Sweetleaf social media accounts were set up for success with a backed-up strategy around aesthetics and content planning.

We then created personalized, simple breakdowns of each account and the strategy behind how to create posts on their own. By equipping the Sweetleaf team with practical, custom resources for their accounts, we were able to give them the confidence to continue with success well after our engagement.

Despite the frustrating restrictions around cannabis marketing, Sweetleaf’s incredible mission was worth jumping through hoops. With the help of a professional social media marketing team, they were able to revive their social accounts and gain expert insight into custom best practices for their digital marketing strategies.

They are proof that even non-profit organizations can in fact have a positive, fun presence on social media and navigate cannabis marketing effectively – all while increasing their impact and opening the doors to more opportunities.