With the passage on the ballots in nine states last Fall, cannabis is now legal in some form in 29 states. Everyone wants to get into the game and the cannabis rush is on. This includes more traditional bankers and Wall Street executives. The trend is growing of more leaving the tired landscape of stocks and bonds for a different kind of green – financing cannabis companies in the U.S. that are in desperate need of capital. Why? Because cannabis is still federally illegal. Typical bankers, investment firms, accountants, lawyers and the usual suspects of consultants are now entering the scene as well as financial advisors.
But how does a financial company, be it publicly traded in Canada or a private equity firm based in New York establish itself as credible, legitimate and viable in an industry that has a stigma of the stoner?
Enter public relations, which doesn’t have the barriers to entry or legal requirements of say an accounting or legal firm. That is the beauty of it. Traditional media have flocked to covering cannabis as the trend towards legalization is clear. The rise of cannabis journalism is also undeniable as Cannabis Now magazine recently wrote about it its latest issue.
Financial companies operating in the cannabis space are letting priceless marketing slip through their fingers as savvy companies such as iAnthus Capital Management swallows up the media attention, along with stock volume, investors, and deal flow.
The need for a clear and concise message, along with astute company positioning and a winning traditional and social media strategy are imperative as the business landscape in cannabis becomes ever more competitive. A recent Forbes column by a great cannabis journalist Julie Weed points to the need to use social to drive a business or product:
So how does one go about getting this media attention? It always comes down to telling a great story. This is how you win your share of “ink.” Also going to the right cannabis reporter at the right time with that right story is key.
Playing off the constant stream of news in the cannabis space is also an imperative. Having the talking points and quotable quotes set to go to the right journalists when news is imminent or breaking is how you get into mainstream media, such as Bloomberg, US News and others.
Friday Night, Inc. is the perfect example of how our firm seized the opportunity around the full legalization in Nevada and the cannabis shortage news after implementation by securing national top tier media coverage:
The coverage secured helped the tiny public company trade above 3 million shares.
It’s great to be in Cannabis Now and Cannabis Business Daily and talking to people with an interest in the space, but for high impact, having a name brand household name media outlet cover you is like gold.
The articles become marketing material to use in pitch decks, investor meetings, and other business worthy endeavors when proving your business model and value proposition is paramount.
So, when planning your cannabis business strategy, don’t forget to get some hits in the mainstream media and infuse your growth with some public relations grow.
Bill Bongiorno is President of Blue Chip Public Relations, Inc., a firm specializing in working with financial and alternative investment companies including the cannabis industry.