N6A's Trisha Larocchia on Edibles, Branding and PR in Cannabis

Plus, the launch of the Native American Cannabis Alliance with Everscore

Trisha Larocchia is chief client officer of N6A, a PR and communications agency that was one of the first to serve the cannabis industry. Trisha joined N6A in 2018.

With more than 15 years of experience developing insights-based, integrated marketing campaigns for a diverse set of B2C and B2B clients, Trisha helps clients craft compelling brand narratives, develop strategic media relations campaigns and foster influential partnerships to deliver impactful ROI. With a passion for measurement and analytics, Trisha is also able to counsel clients on how to enhance campaign reporting and better measure the impact of targeted PR efforts on key business goals.

Trisha graduated from Marist College and lives on Long Island with her husband, young son, baby girl, and dog.

We spoke with Trisha for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.


Trisha, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Bellmore, a small town on the South Shore of Long Island. After my husband and I got married in 2014, we moved back to Bellmore, where he grew up as well.

Your current role in the cannabis industry.

I am the chief client officer for North 6th Agency (N6A), which was one of the first communications agencies to launch a group dedicated to serving the legal cannabis industry.

A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.

Prior to joining N6A, my interaction with cannabis was extremely limited. So, my journey with cannabis really began when I accepted this position within the agency and began working with the cannabis group to develop communications strategies for our diverse set of clients. It was then that I saw the positive impact the plant has had on consumers' physical and mental health, and how it has helped state economies by increasing tax revenue and job creation.

A favorite flower, edible, product or brand.

Rose Delights makes unassuming but high-end edibles using single-strain flower rosin. They have both THC and CBD versions of their signature infused Turkish Delights and have even partnered with Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn. I also appreciate their social media voice and the design of their website, which is simple, but impactful.

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.

A big issue is the lack of dispensary shelf space which would allow new products into the market. The current dispensary model is extremely inefficient because the majority of products on dispensary shelves are white labeled, so if you aren't a brand that is associated with a dispensary, it is really difficult to get exposure. If they do make it onto shelves, then they have to navigate the next hurdle, which it the tight regulations on advertising.

One thing you're excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.

I am really excited about how much more sophisticated the edibles industry is becoming as cannabis companies continue to partner with modern chefs who can add their culinary expertise into the product development process. An example of this would be Plant Jam's recent partnership with Jim Belushi of Belushi's Farm to create a Blues Brothers themed line of infused ice cream. Not long ago, the only edibles you could find were brownies and gummies, but as the industry becomes more widely accepted, it is inviting a wide array of creatives who can put their spin on products.

I also have been excited to see how the branding continues to evolve as it plays an integral role in elevating the category. With brands like House of Wise and Recess dedicating themselves to premium branding and packaging, it allows for a more elevated consumer experience. I also think it makes it easier to break barriers curious consumers may have, as it makes the market more approachable.

A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.

While there are so many nonprofits that are doing amazing things to fine-tune this industry, I really appreciate the work that the Last Prisoner Project is doing. Criminal justice reform is very important if we want to create a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable industry.

A recent project you're proud of.

We recently launched the Native American Cannabis Alliance (NACA) with our client Everscore, and it was a very rewarding project to work on. NACA provides indigenous farmers a sustainable, competitive and balanced ecosystem that benefits the Native American communities, families and future generations. Backed by Everscore's cannabis marketplace and first-of-its-kind technology capabilities, NACA will leverage the resources and resourcefulness of Native Americans for all aspects of the industry, from cultivation and processing to logistics and marketing.

At N6A, we pride ourselves on being an outcomes-focused agency, so we went into this project with the goal to bring NACA to market and increase the founders' overall share-of-voice on topics such as DEI, indigenous farming, and state legislature that pertains to both of those topics. It was great to see such a strong media appetite for these topics, and we were able to secure some great coverage in top-tier publications to increase awareness nationally.  

Someone else's project you admired recently.

We are based in New York City, so it is hard not to pay attention to the great work that Sasha Perelman and Elizabeth Santana have done with The Stone Age immersive cannabis exhibit. The art installations that span across the 9,000-square-foot space are as beautiful as they are educational. Not to mention it always great to support woman- and minority-owned leaders in cannabis!

Someone you admire in cannabis who's doing great things.

In order to normalize and grow this industry, there needs to be a big push towards education, and I think cannabis reporters play a big role in those efforts. There are quite a few amazing journalists out there, but I really enjoy reading the work of Dan Adams from the Boston Globe, who is always so well-researched and thought-provoking. I also enjoy reading pieces from Forbes' Will Yakowicz and Mona Zhang and her team at Politico.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.

If I weren't working in the cannabis industry, I would really have liked to be a career coach or a teacher. I enjoy mentoring people to be their best selves in and outside of the workplace and love helping people see their true potential!

Higher Calling is a weekly series, publishing on Thursdays, where we chat with folks in the cannabis industry about their personal history and taste in cannabis and the future of cannabis marketing. For more about Higher Calling, and our Clio Cannabis program, please get in touch.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. He is the former creative editor of Adweek.

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