The 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp federally legal in most instances, and the CBD, hemp and cannabis industries have budded. The hemp industry alone is expected to increase threefold in the next five years. According to the 2021 Hemp and CBD Industry Factbook. it’s expected to grow from $1.9 billion in 2020 to $6.9 billion in 2025.
Just a few years ago, there was little presence in the public relations and marketing industries for cannabis. At that time, there was much uncertainty if CBD or cannabis was even legal. We at Fort Lauderdale- and Aspen-based Durée & Company were up for the challenge. Our firm entered the cannabis, hemp and CBD market before the passing of the Farm Bill.
We put forth a number of strategies and creative ways to showcase the CBD, hemp and cannabis industry’s allure. Below, we provide five tips and tricks on how to implement public relations and marketing into a cannabis brand’s strategy.
1. Traditional Media:
As CBD, hemp and cannabis have become more mainstream, we’ve cultivated key relationships with journalists, reporters and bloggers in these industries. They are a key part to help share the stories of the cannabis companies that we work with. We utilize media relations to present our clients as industry experts. They speak about laws being put into place or timely topics in the news.
For example, in spring of 2021, a controversial bill was introduced to Florida. It aimed to cap THC levels in medical marijuana. We secured Brady Cobb, CEO of Bluma Wellness and One Plant Florida, to speak with the Tampa Bay Times about how these caps would be detrimental for the industry. This proved him to be an expert in his field and ultimately gave his brand exposure. We also present our clients as thought leaders to write bylined articles about topics where they possess expertise.
As an example, Roger Brown, president of ACS Laboratory wrote a story for Hemp Industry Daily about reasons to work with DEA-licensed laboratories. We brainstorm ways to bring our brands to the forefront of the news cycle all day long. And we can’t forget about utilizing hashtag holidays. There’s a unique hashtag holiday dedicated to everything these days, including cannabis holidays! Some big holidays are National CBD Month, Cannabis Awareness Month, 4/20 and National Hemp Day, to name a few!
2. Social Media:
Despite how big the cannabis, hemp and CBD industries have become, they are excluded from traditional advertising including social media. Social media, however, is still a vital platform to promote cannabis brands if done correctly. As public relations professionals in the cannabis industry, we develop a strategy and create content calendars for our clients.
When selecting the right content, we stay up-to-date on the latest trends and news, incorporate hashtag holidays, and then create content that encourages a call to action. When selecting hashtag holidays, we select the holidays that best align with the given brand. For example, a CBD brand may offer a promotion during the month of August for National CBD Month or a medical marijuana company may offer a giveaway for 4/20.
Another way to get around the limitations of paid social media advertising is working with social media influencers. Our team has built relationships and worked with a variety of micro- and macro-influencers far and wide, ranging from topics such as cannabis, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, or food and travel, who can help shape the perception of a brand.
3. Events and Speaking Opportunities:
The event realm certainly has shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But industry events, expos and conferences have always been an important way for cannabis brands to get their name out there. We carefully monitor and research all the key expos and leadership conferences, such as MJBizCon or Cannabis Lab (CLAB). Then, we identify the best speaking opportunities for our clients to share their expertise in the industry.
We also keep a watchful eye on trends as the world and technology continues to evolve. In 2021, the new audio-based social media app, Clubhouse, took the world by storm and we knew that it would be another channel to present our clients as industry experts. We recently secured Masha Belinson of ACS Laboratory, Brady Cobb of One Plant Florida, and our very own Durée Ross to participate on The Shrimp Tank’s Clubhouse panel to speak about recent trends in the cannabis space.
4. Affiliate Marketing for Consumer Packaged Goods:
The use of affiliate marketing can serve as an effective supplement to a PR campaign, especially if a brand is selling a consumer packaged good. Affiliate marketing has become increasingly relevant as consumers turn to e-commerce and content creators are looking for new ways to generate revenue. You probably see affiliate marketing put into practice every day and may not even notice it!
For example, many journalists now often require affiliate links to include a product in a roundup story. Affiliate marketing is very hands-on to identify the timely angles or promotions. Using our affiliate marketing expertise, we secured Pure Craft CBD, a line of premium bio-available CBD products, in a Reader’s Digest story about great Valentine’s Day gifts. Although the story appears to be traditional media, you may notice the disclaimer stating the writer may be compensated or receive affiliate commission when clicking on the links.
5. Crisis Management:
While PR and marketing is all about brand positivity, it is important to also strategically plan for a crisis. There are many things that could go unplanned, whether a brand has an upset customer, a CBD product tests hot for too much THC, a product has mold on it, the list goes on and on. Without a strategic plan in place, things can quickly fall apart.
In crisis situations, you must clearly communicate the issue and address it in a timely fashion. A good publicist will not only help navigate responses but have a plan in place from the start. Having real-life scenarios with appropriate responses in place will help you get ahead of any issues, if, and when, a crisis occurs.
At Durée & Company, we are equipped to navigate the CBD, hemp and cannabis industries and know how to tell the right stories to attract potential consumers, partners, retailers and investors. Ready to implement public relations and marketing into your cannabis, hemp or CBD brand’s overall strategy? Contact us today, or visit our cannabis- and hemp-specific website for more information.
Want to know more? Watch this video for a look at some of the clients and the media coverage we have secured.
About Durée & Company:
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, cannabis and hemp, wellness and CBD, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to dureeandcompany.com; or visit its new, specialized cannabis- and CBD-specific site at cannabismarketingpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.