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Why You Should Vote for PufCreativ as the Best Branding/Marketing Agency in The EMJAYS International Cannabis Awards!


Being a service provider in one of the fastest growing industries in history can create its own unique set of challenges, accomplishments and lessons learned. So, if you’ve ever worked in the exciting cannabis industry, you’ll surely appreciate the fact that even having the opportunity to write this blog is a huge win for us!

Our story is genuine, our team is legendary, and our work for our clients, as well as the community, speaks for itself.

We also wanted to thank you for taking the time to learn more about our journey, our craft, our team, and our approach – to give you a better sense of why we feel we deserve this award – and in hopes that you’ll vote for us. With that said, the agencies we’re up against are all good people and we’re proud to be part of this friendly competition. Shoutout to MJBizDaily, Farechild Events and The Emjays for having us!

Our Journey

In 2016, our CEO, John Shute, transitioned from his role as Director of Marketing and Operations at a South Florida mega nightclub to become the Director of Marketing for a cannabis contract manufacturer in Sacramento, California. His decision was influenced by the loss of friends to the opioid epidemic during his time in Florida and his passion for cannabis making the world a better place, despite his hometown in New Jersey frowning upon it throughout the course of his life. He also realized he was not using his Project Management MBA skills to their full potential. John chose to work in the cannabis industry because he felt it aligned better with his passions and sense of fulfillment.

In his role as Director of Marketing in California, John met his future business partner, Katie Burrell. At that time, Katie started as John’s intern. They propelled the manufacturer’s marketing to new levels, attracting B2C clients and executing internal B2C marketing strategies. However, shortly before John’s wedding and a week after Katie’s resignation from her full-time job, the company announced that it could not deliver on its commitment to full-time employment with benefits for both of them.

Recognizing their unique value, Katie and John decided to start their own venture but recognized the need for additional expertise. John reached out to his long-time friend, Shamus Lahman, to fill this space with his skills in website design, photo, and video. After much discussion about name and branding, they started PufCreativ with no funding but immense passion for the cannabis industry. Officially established on March 15, 2017, as a Colorado LLC, PufCreativ was fueled by the desire to harness creative power to support humans working towards a better world.

Since 2017, PufCreativ has accomplished the following without taking on any investments:

  • Raised over a half million dollars for non-profits all over the country through events and marketing campaigns.
  • Co-Founded the following organizations:
    • Cannabis Doing Good – A consulting community and education platform that builds a racially-just, planet-loving, people-centered cannabis sector.
    • Cannabis Impact Fund – Non-profit with pillars in racial justice, environmental sustainability, and community engagement.
    • Cannabis Creative Movement – An educational guidebook series designed to inform on key issues while providing fundraising opportunities for nonprofits focused on those concerns.
    • Pinelands Apothecary – Our New Jersey cannabis retail project that we have just been awarded an annual license.
  • Started from 3 equal co-founders on the roster, to now having a team of 20 humans.
    • We’ve integrated diversity and inclusion into our new hiring processes.
  • Works with over 100 clients in 23 states and multiple countries.
  • Have generated millions and millions of dollars of revenue for our clients over the past 7 years.
  • Have won multiple awards for our work, leadership and community/non-profit work.

We take pride in our journey, team, and accomplishments in the cannabis industry. We strive to continually learn, grow, refine our craft, and contribute positively to the industry and our world.

Our Craft

We take the utmost pride in the work that we produce for our clients. We continue to learn and enhance each aspect of our service offerings, increasing the quality of our deliverables and portfolio on the day-to-day. Once you’re a client of PufCreativ, you essentially become part of our family.

When we first started offering cannabis marketing services, we focused heavily on social media, email marketing, photography and videography. As we grew our team and discovered that there were not too many quality solutions out there for other areas of marketing in the industry, we expanded our offering to the following services:

Our comprehensive offering allows our clients to keep almost all of their marketing needs under one roof. This allows us to keep communication and execution timely, all of the marketing channels aligned, and the ability to offer justified additional services to increase revenue based on data across all channels.

Our Approach

We adopt a meticulous ‘white gloves’ approach to our marketing. We align with clients who are innovating to advance the cannabis industry and make the world a better place. If you’re community, social justice and/or environmentally focused, then you’re right up our alley. If you’re not but are willing to learn and incorporate those facets into your business model, we can help.

In addition to our genuine, passionate and transformative story, our quality, robust and award-winning offering, and our community focus, here are some ways we differentiate from other agencies in our approach:

  • Client-Centric Focus

    • Every single cannabis business has its own unique sets of challenges, goals, mission, etc. We take the time to understand our clients’ businesses thoroughly before tailoring our custom strategies.
  • Data-Driven Decisions

    • We use data to make informed decisions on our market strategies, adjustments, and justifying additional resources or financial allocations. We constantly interpret data to achieve optimal success with increasing revenue and building authentic relationships with targeted audiences.
  • Creative Innovation

    • We go through an in-depth process when executing creative deliverables for our clients. We want to ensure our logos, packaging, and all designs set our clients apart from other brands. We’re willing to take the extra step in thinking outside the box and pushing back on our clients to ensure the deliverable will perform its best.
  • Compliance Expertise

    • The cannabis industry is a never ending world of compliance, for any business. We remove the guesswork from compliance by implementing years of best practices. This strategy helps avoid any compliance issues related to branding, digital marketing, and advertising.
  • Ethical Practices

    • On top of implementing a more inclusive criteria to our staffing, we offer discounted rates for social equity applicants throughout the industry. We are also dedicated to the success our community organizations listed above and all of our non-profit partners. We want to see a more inclusive, sustainable, quality and community centric industry – and that starts with how we operate.
  • Continuous Learning

  • Collaborative Partnerships

    • We work tightly with our clients in the onboarding, creative direction, and decision making process. We encourage open communication and feedback to deliver the best results.
  • Quality Assurance

    • By having award-winning and detailed processes to review and refine our campaigns to maximize their effectiveness, we ensure that all deliverables meet the highest standards.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability

    • In the rapidly evolving cannabis industry, we are flexible and adapt to our clients’ changing circumstances and ambitions. We are swift in product launches, adaptable to new state regulations, and always open for discussions about changes in scope. We acknowledge the challenges of operating a business in this landscape.
  • Transparent Reporting

    • We’re committed to being transparent about our reporting to our clients with regular updates and performance metrics check-ins. We provide our clients with automated reports, as needed reporting, and a bi-weekly or monthly summary. This provides more digestible details than just numbers and graphs. We set KPIs, goals, and benchmarks (to ensure our clients’ success and that they can track it every step of the way.)
  • Client Education

    • We empower our clients to better understand and participate in their marketing efforts by providing them with educational blogs, screen-shares, and tutorials as needed. It’s important for clients to understand our process, what we’re working on, and how they can help us improve their results.
  • Long-term Partnerships

    • Our dedication lies in building long-lasting relationships and partnerships with our clients. Our commitment to their work and business extends way beyond short-term projects.
  • Industry Thought Leadership

    • Our team includes experts in the cannabis industry. Podcasts, articles, and award nominations consistently recognize our Co-Founders and team for their contributions to the industry. Learn more about our team, awards and press features by clicking here

We believe our approach to cannabis marketing makes us one of, if not the most trusted agency in the cannabis industry. We only plan to continue to learn, grow, and give back.

Why Vote for PufCreativ?

As you can see, we not only crush marketing for cannabis organizations, but cannabis is our life. We have a full understanding of what happens across all verticals from seed-to-sale. On top of that, our team is passionate about the plant, about the future of the plant, and about the future of the world we live in.

We come from a genuine place with hearts full of passion. We dedicate ourselves to the long-term success of our clients, our company, and the entire cannabis industry through a combination of proven impact, commitment to positive change, a client-centric approach, innovative mindsets, transparent communication, a compliance forward approach, and a vision for the future.

Vote For Us!

Voting Ends on October 15, 2023, so be sure to vote for us now by clicking here. We can’t wait to see y’all in Vegas!

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions about our team, services, or specific case studies at Feel free to get started on a project by clicking here.