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Communications agency Grasslands expands marketing services with appointment of chief marketing officer 

by | Dec 11, 2020

Full-service cannabis marketing firm Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency announced the expansion of its marketing capabilities and the addition of its newest team member, Jesse Burns, who joins the firm as Chief Marketing Officer, a new role within the agency.

Specializing in strategic communications for brands and businesses in highly regulated industries—including cannabis, hemp and technology—Grasslands is continuing its course of calculated expansion with this latest C-suite hire. Mr. Burns’ role will include working internally on agency marketing as well as externally to create new client offerings to round out the agency’s marketing program. (Get to know veteran cannabis marketer Jesse Burns in this new Q&A on Grasslands’ blog.)

Fresh off receiving The Denver Business Journal’s 2020 Small Business Award, Grasslands will start by expanding newer client offerings including market research, branding and consumer insights programs—in addition to enhancing the public relations, thought leadership, social media and content marketing services that have long been the agency’s core pillars.

“As we continue to see historic progress on legalization efforts and drug policy reform, our cannabis and hemp clients are telling us they need more help developing their brand messaging and better understanding consumer behavior—and we are rising to the occasion with our newly expanded market research services,” said Grasslands Founder & CEO Ricardo Baca, a veteran journalist and Marketer of the Year who is now a Juror for the 2020 Cannabis Clios. “I’ve been lucky enough to know Jesse since 2014, when he and his former colleagues were launching one of the first cannabis brands of the regulated adult-use market. He is a thoughtful marketer with invaluable brand-side experience and strategy skills to spare, and I am confident he will bring tremendous value for Grasslands clients.”

Mr. Burns joins Grasslands from cannabis retail juggernaut LivWell Enlightened Health and infused products brand Sweet Grass, where he served as Marketing Director for six years and helped catapult the brand to the best-selling infused baked good in Colorado and an eventual acquisition by LivWell Enlightened Health.

“As legalization continues to sweep the country, there has never been a better time to be a cannabis brand,” said Mr. Burns. “There is excitement everywhere for cannabis products, services and experiences, and we intend to offer services that help brands capture this excitement—and grow with us. As a cannabis marketing agency based in the nation’s first adult-use cannabis market, Grasslands has an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the agency’s unparalleled knowledge of cannabis consumers and consumer perception, so we can best serve clients in experienced and emerging markets alike.”

The addition of Mr. Burns to the agency, as well as the creation of this important leadership position, comes as the Grasslands team prepares to move into its new headquarters in Denver’s historic Baker neighborhood. Purchased in Sept. 2019, the building at 100 Santa Fe Drive has undergone a complete renovation, making it the perfect home for the agency’s continued growth. Construction on the Phase 1 remodel is expected to wrap in Dec. 2020.

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