Lisa Buffo, Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, sat down with Evan Nison, Founder & President of NisonCo, to discuss how PR can positively impact cannabis advocacy. For more information go to: https://thecannabismarketingassociation.com
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Lisa Buffo, Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, sat down with Evan Nison, Founder & President of NisonCo, to discuss how PR can positively impact cannabis advocacy.
NisonCo is a public relations firm dedicated exclusively to cannabis, hemp, and CBD. This cannabis-specific firm was established in 2013, in order to connect with media outlets in hopes of creating a better understanding of cannabis-related social policies.
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Lisa Buffo: Hi, everyone. Welcome to party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to in-depth conversations with cannabis and CBD marketers who are breaking down stigma and changing the game of cannabis communications. Today, we’re talking to Evan Nissen, founder and owner of Nissen co PR. Evan Nissen is the youngest member of the normal board of directors and sits on the board of directors, of students for sensible drug policy.
He is the founder of the PR from NisonCo, which connects leaders in the legal cannabis, medical marijuana. And hadn’t been histories with influential journalists across the US and the world in 2010 while still a student Evan took a semester off and moved to California to run the college outreach for the cannabis legalization ballot initiative, prop 19.
Which spanned over 40 actively managed schools statewide. He was the president of Ithaca students for sensible drug policy for four years, which under his leadership passed one of the first college policies in the country that equalize penalties for cannabis and alcohol on campus. He also received one of the pens used to sign the New York nine 11, good Samaritan law and New York medical marijuana law for his involvement in the passage of both bills.
During the 2016 us presidential campaign, Evan pressed Hillary Clinton for a firm answer on her support for legalization during a live town hall event on ABC’s good morning, America, and more recently as a part of his mission to build socially driven businesses. He co-founded what be in Maya, a woman’s focused cannabis brand with actress will be Goldberg and fellow board member Rick Cusick.
He then went on to co-found Emerald farm tours, a Northern California based cannabis Corp tour company to give the public a transparent hands-on view of the cannabis industry from seed to sale and bloody good vape and smoke a smoke shop in New Jersey. He founded with a victim of cannabis prohibition who was held in jail for a year awaiting trial.
Evan has been mentioned in the news sources, such as the New York times. CNN Politico USA today, NBC New York, Bloomberg TV Forbes, and has been profiled in the cannabis civilized Ethica times, home news Tribune, the marijuana times and the Sun-Times. He also received the 2011 normal student activism award and high times freedom fighter award for his advocacy.
Evan, thank you for joining us today.
Evan Nison: Thanks for having me.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah. So tell everybody a little bit about what you do, who you are and what you were doing before you entered the cannabis industry. Give us some context in this unco,
Evan Nison: For sure. I, started where we and I were born and bred in cannabis. I started noticing co-write after college sort of accidentally.
and I started about. Six or seven years prior to that as a volunteer advocate, lobbying for medical marijuana and legalization in mostly New York, New Jersey, but also, I moved, I took a semester off of college and moved out to California in 2010. for their recreational legalization, ballot measure were where we almost won.
but that was largely about messaging. You know, we talked about control and tax cannabis, things like that. we were, the first campaign told him he used the word cannabis instead of marijuana, things like that. and then I went back to New York, got one of the pens, use the sign, the, New York medical marijuana law and the New York nine one good Samaritan overdose prevention law.
and then I initially actually got hired to lobby for a bill that was supporting for free, which was industrial hemp in New Jersey. And then during that campaign, I wound up sending them a lot of reporters, which led to my PR firm. And now we have about 20 employees.
Lisa Buffo: And so is that, that was the accident, was that you were starting with lobbying for this group?
Evan Nison: Yeah, well, I started doing, I was lobbying for industrial hemp in New Jersey for free, and then this client paid me to lobby and then I wound up sending them reporters and then they hired me for PR in addition to that, and then started referring. So, yeah, it was one, one sort of accident. Happy accident led to another happy accident.
Lisa Buffo: Nice. And why cannabis and hemp? I mean, what got you so excited about those to start your advocacy at such a young age?
Evan Nison: So I was drug tested in high school, for falling asleep in class one time, just like random, like not randomly drug tested, but yeah, New Jersey in a public school, which pissed me off.
And I didn’t even smoke back then, you know, at all. and then I started smoking right after high school, I would say, and just realize that it was like a whole lot and it was just bullshit. and then in an economics course, I think in freshman year we, did a, using economic theorem and like, Theory and equations.
We, we plotted out a cocaine market and basically it made me realize that the entire drug war just made no sense from every logical angle. And it was a purely emotional reaction to a problem. and for me, it was all centered around drug policy actually. Yeah, cannabis was a something I care about because, you know, I can, I’m a consumer myself and it’s something that I think is incredibly unjust, you know, maybe, maybe even more than the other drugs, but the entire drug, whereas the disaster in my mind.
Lisa Buffo: And you started organizing, I know in college as well with students for sensible drug policy. And did that. I mean, how did that work translate to the lobbying you did? Was that a separate thing or together, or tell, tell me a little bit about them and how they helped you.
Evan Nison: Yeah, it was basically one in the same. you know, a lot of times I wear my normal hat. A lot of times I’d wear my SSTP hat. the, the students for sensible drug policy chapter that we had had a lot of victories on campus. we were tied for the first campaign, the first campus to equalize penalties for marijuana and alcohol on campus.
I think, college, we were tied with Yukon, and we pass something called a good Samaritan policy, which allowed you to call, for medical assistance during drug overdoses and things like that. and then the success we had on that is what led up to us, lobbying on the state level for that same policy.
We sort of lobbied on it as it, we lobbied. It as an extension of the successful college policy, basically. and a lot of my employees now, or at least a handful of my employees actually come from my SSDP chapter and I’ll most, I don’t want to say most, but there’s a good chance that most of my employees in this and co across the board, come from the SSTP network.
Lisa Buffo: Nice. So then, so you started at SSDP did this lobbying at the college level and you took it to the state level and then across the country to California. So now you’ve started NisonCo PR. So where do you go from there? So you have that first client. How did you grow the company? And do you have a specific focus is missing co really, you know, cannabis and advocacy based, or, you know, what, who are the type of clients that you work with?
Evan Nison: Sure. So most of the employees, either come from, your background or an advocacy background in communications in some sort at this point, we started for the first five or six years purely doing, Media outreach, basically are the simplest way to put what we do. And our goal is to, is to build a relationship and maintain a relationship with every single reporter and reviewer that’s covered cannabis in English or cannabis related products or industries like CBD or hemp for vaporizers.
So yeah. initially I started this list, and then we did such a good job that my first client started referring us to second client, that second client wound up referring us to like five more people. so it took time, you know, initially, but. It was all centered around that list of reporter relationships that I initially started in Google doc and is now, you know, on Salesforce.
and just managing that, we have since started spreading our wings a little bit, you know, and start, and, as the industry matures and regulations loosen, we’re allowed to do things like SEO, and some marketing tactics, content marketing, specifically, or. Or is really what we’re doing a lot of, I started some other companies too.
I smoked shop tour company. I have some real estate and some other things. and so I use the other company is sort of as, I don’t want to say playgrounds, but, but ways to learn new marketing tactics. And then once something works, we bring it over to Nissim co we started offering it to existing clients and then if it works, we’ll offer it to new clients.
Lisa Buffo: So, is that how you expanded to the marketing services sector within this and co was you tried it with these other brands and then you, you brought it in house and offered it outwards.
Evan Nison: Exactly. Yeah. I learned SEO myself for my other companies, you know, to get. To get revenue for the company is that I was like, this is important.
I want to figure this out. I have missing go-to, you know, it could be mutually beneficial. and then I saw getting what, what happened to revenue? When you go from the second page, the bottom of the first page, like instantly up and you go from the bottom of the second page at the top of the first page.
Again, noticeable. And then you go from that third, second, first spot. I mean that is what makes a business that could make a business successful alone. and it’s really hard to say that you can dominate or own a part of an industry without owning it on Google also. PR and SEO is because the best SEO firms in the world can’t get the back links that we can get as a PR firm. so those types of things, those two things together have been really powerful for my other companies. And for our clients first steps or resources you went to when you went to learn SEO, like, do you have any, did you go to Google skill shop or where did you go to learn those things?
I just started dabbling in a bunch of tools researching and playing around with the company. I mean, this is a huge advantage I have, That had probably an unfair advantage that I had the different companies to mess around with. I could try something on one. If it worked, I tried on another, if it worked, I’d try it on the third.
I could see monitor all my companies very, very closely and see, Oh, why is this one going down? But this one’s going up. I was able to sort of start figuring out the algorithm because I had the different companies to mess around with and observed them and tinker with.
Lisa Buffo: And your background is purely communications, not technical?
Right? So you, you don’t need a tech background to figure this out.
Evan Nison: Yeah, for sure. I don’t even know my background is at this point. I mean, I started doing advocacy. I went to school for marketing and management, but I honestly didn’t go to college. I mean, I guess I went to class enough to pass, but I was lobbying more than I, as much as I possibly was able to. And then I started the PR firm. Because of the experience from the advocacy. So I don’t even know. I think it’s, yeah. I guess it’s communications. Public affairs is probably, yeah. What business do I like business?
Lisa Buffo: Yeah, for sure. You’re an entrepreneur. So we do have a lot of startups and entrepreneurs who listen and who are curious about how to leverage PR a lot are early stage, and maybe you don’t have the funds to put a firm on retainer. Can you talk a little bit about some of the first steps that entrepreneurs should consider when approaching public relations? probably first if you’re low budget and then next, you know, how do you engage with a firm as you grow?
Evan Nison: Yeah. I mean, it could be free. You don’t need like a firms like us. We’ll always have more relationships, that we’ll be able to keep fresh because we have new clients coming in that we could always pitch and things like that. I don’t know where that is coming from. Like Donald turned him off. but really what reporters are trying to do or is write about things that their readers want to cover as quickly and efficiently.
And as legitimately as possible. So if you’re a legitimate with SSRIs and you start reaching out to reporters and you’re helpful, they will work with you. I almost, all of them will work with you. it’s not like an impenetrable barrier to reach out to these reporters. A lot of their emails are public. You’ll find that it’s just going to be hard to maintain a consistent reporter, a consistent presence in the media by doing that. But you definitely will be able to. Have a presence in the media in some amount, you know what I mean? Maybe monthly or something like that. if you develop a good relationship with reporters and they’ll really appreciate that.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah. So just find, you know, reporters that have a beat related to what your topic of expertise is and just send them an email, reach out to them on Twitter and let them know that you’re a resource.
Evan Nison: Yeah. And be helpful. Don’t say, this is my product, you know, it’s better than the product you’ve covered and, you know, whatever. And don’t say, this is the company, this is how I want to cover it, or pitch them right away. But, you know, offer yourself up for anything that you think. Yeah, I have a cannabis grow house and we use led lights and we’re sustainable. If I can help with anything related to cannabis, really anything related to those issues, let me know.
Or if I can help connect you with people, you know, in the growth space, let me know. that will go a much, much, much longer way than you. And to treat a reporter like your marketer.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah. That makes sense. And so then for the companies that are a little bit bigger and wanting to engage with a PR firm, what are some things they need to consider when approaching a firm and, and how should they go about those conversations?
Basically, what, how do you find the fit that this firm is going to be right for me and my company.
Evan Nison: Totally. I mean, you should have a conversation with a few firms, probably, you know, at least get the vibe at the sense of who they are, the type of people that work there. do they work? Are they strict hours?
You know, it isn’t an office where they shut down at five o’clock and you know, that’s that, what type of account management is it? How many people are going to be pitching you sort of, and also think about what your goals are. What are your goals? Raising capital building, brand equity, gaining customers, building brand notoriety, building yourself up to position yourself for leverage for contract negotiations or other types of negotiations.
and think about what those are and be ready to go to the firm with that. If you want to be. If, if you want to maximize the chance that you’re gonna be happy with the results at the end, because then the firm will be able to say, all right, we can definitely do this. We may be able to do this, or we can’t do this.
And what type of services, you know, there’ll be, they shouldn’t be able to give you a pretty clear picture of what they’ll do for you that will accomplish those goals. but aside from that, the most important thing, if your goal is media hits, you know, Getting into media in articles. the most important thing.
I don’t want to say I speak for every PR firm, but I’m pretty sure I personally have a PR firm is be ready to respond to the reporters requests, and apply to your PR firm. because the PR firm can do hours and hours and hours of work to get a lead. And if you’re busy and you don’t communicate that to the firm, you can leave, lose a lead that, that took a lot of work to get.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah.
Evan Nison: And that happens a lot.
Lisa Buffo: I was just going to say, do you see that happen a lot with your clients?
Evan Nison: We have clients sometimes that come on, particularly like very busy entrepreneurs, that haven’t built up the infrastructure yet. And they know that the media hits would be good for them, but they’re very busy.
They’re flying all over the world or the con, they were flying over wherever. They were meeting with people. I guess it’s not an issue anymore. They weren’t, it wasn’t an issue. They were meeting with people, you know, going to conferences. They were on the floor at conferences. and they didn’t have somebody to delegate that to, and then they, that could, that can become frustrating for everyone. Yeah.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah. What are some of the differences you see working in public relations for cannabis versus other industries?
Evan Nison: It’s very specific. there’s a lot of firms. That are non-cannabis firms that are learning it. but you really have to know it. You can’t fake it.
Lisa Buffo: Know the industry?
Evan Nison: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. You can’t work with somebody. Who’s like one of the mistakes. I see. Some people make, there’s actually a few larger brands that did this.
They come to us, we get them a lot of media and then. They will go to like a fifth Avenue from that’s three or four times as much money that is like, they’ve done Coca-Cola or whatever, you know what I mean? But they don’t know canvas at all. So they wound up getting charged three or four times the amount it’s as a frustrating experience for everyone.
And then they come back to us it’s after like three or four times. so I’m not saying those are. They’re bad at PR. I’m sure they’re great at PR for the industry as they know, but make sure whether it’s us or, well, we obviously be here, but whoever you work with, that they know cannabis and PR, and also, I would say if you’re a CBD brand, a lot of CBD brands say that they’re not cannabis.
In this world, you kind of are like, you can go to a lifestyle PR firm for sure. And you will get this. but no matter what type of angle you’re going for in the CBB CBD world right now, you really are still relying on the CBD reporters, the reviewers and the reporters that cover that general beat.
Lisa Buffo: That makes sense. And do you work with reporters? I guess my question is, do you find reporters in the cannabis space are working to do I guess, well, on behalf of the industry and portray things. You know, given that cannabis has been illegal for 80 years and the drug war is still going on. I mean, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about our industry about this plant, what it does, who it affects.
and I think part of our goal as industry professionals is to change that narrative and change that conversation. Do you see, brands and reporters like working towards that common goal or, does that conversation even come up or is it just very, you know, here’s, here’s the company, here’s what we do, and here’s how it’s going to be talked about.
I would I’m in reporters for sure has helped. I would say, I mean, I would almost say that there have been. Reporter advocate. I made a lot of reporter advocates. there’s a lot of people in advocacy that came from SFTP that I’m at writing that we work with as an example, and, particularly freelancers, you know, I’m sure this is probably true to some degree with staff, but particularly freelancers, they kind of are getting screwed more than anyone like in society right now. Not more than anyone, but I mean, they’re, they have the contractor.
Yeah. it’s hard to make it, you know, the comfortable living in any sense. And I may be because of that, they’re more, they really want to do good in their writing. A lot of them. I mean, of course there’s like a staff writers and then like the New York times, the wall street journals or whatever, where like they’re 100% just giving you the accurate picture.
and I think that’s true. Well that your picture is what we’re fighting for, but I think that. Freelancers specifically for whatever reason, maybe because it’s, it’s the circumstances that they’re in and themselves. They really like covering things that are positive for society. Yeah.
Evan Nison: Yeah, that’s true.
Lisa Buffo: And so, another thing I think we see with cannabis and companies in this space is there’s so much similarity between brands, particularly with CBD companies, right? Like what makes your CBD brand different than the next? Do you have advice for startups and entrepreneurs on how to differentiate and particularly how that translates when working with PR and the media?
Evan Nison: Yes. So one be very, I should have mentioned this earlier, when I answered how to work with the porters. If you’re a CBD brand brand, be very careful with reaching out to reporters and reviewers. Right now, they are very, they’re tired and some are fed up with. CV pitches. we monitored, reporters tweets constantly.
And I don’t think there has been more complaining about, pitches than CBD pitches, from these reporters recently. luckily we haven’t been included in any yet. We go through great lands to try to not. Be complained about, but you have to be very careful. You either need a very specific angle or you should take different types of tactics. Do things that are press worthy instead of just asking for press, would be good. doing things like, SEO is huge. I mean, you P honestly, To to compete as a CBD brand effectively right now, especially in e-commerce, you really need to be doing everything you need to be having. As you need to be doing SEO, you need to be doing PR you need to be doing partnership and brand building.
It is such a competitive space. you really shouldn’t go into that as a startup right now, in my opinion, unless you want to be a local brand.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. and then what is the number? Maybe you just touched on this, but what is the number one mistake you see PR professionals make in this space?
Is it, is it that exactly just not differentiating and asking for help or is there anything more specific you see that you’re like, Oh gosh, I just wish people wouldn’t do this.
Evan Nison: Treating reporters like their marketing staff that is, It like hurts when that happens when, especially when the reporters see it, it’s like in the email chain, that’s just not their job, you know, like it just isn’t their reporters and they will take their job of reporting and telling the story as they see it pretty seriously, all of them, you know, whether they consider themselves advocates or whatever, they, none of them want to consider themselves like shells for. Oh for, for companies that aren’t paying them, you know what I mean? Like happy to do things mutually beneficial. but think about it like that. Do not think about it as a one way road.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah. That’s fair. That makes sense. And I would say, what is your favorite thing about working in cannabis and working in this space? Like what gets you so excited and doing this and waking up every morning?
Evan Nison: Well, it’s exciting to me because I was able to start before there was a recreational industry. So there’s something sort of sentimental about it for me, where I like saw when legalization bills were, you know, word documents on my laptop and things like that. And now they’re in play. but I, but really, I love the people for the most part and I love the.
I don’t want to say unpredictable nature of it because it’s not necessarily unpredictable, but it’s ever changing and you have to be consistently adapting. and I feel like I never thought about this before, but you know, like that saying, like, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I kind of feel like it’s like that for cannabis as an entrepreneur.
Like if you can make it, you can basically make it anywhere. And while I still have this energy, I guess I like given that.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah, that’s true. That makes sense. So, something that you had mentioned earlier was in California when you were passing that bill, that that was the first one to exclusively use the word cannabis
want, sorry, what?
Evan Nison: Tried to pass the bill. We got 46.5% of that.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah. So do you work with reporters and your brands on language and specifically the use and difference of the word cannabis versus marijuana? I know this is something internally. We talk about a lot in the industry. given that marijuana was, is basically the propaganda word that the government used that has racial connotations behind it. Do you, does that conversation come up with your clients and with reporters, do you spend time educating on that? And is that, is that a part of your strategy for the first few years?
Evan Nison: That was the majority of my time. lately it really is not, I think most people understand it. also. Using the word marijuana right now isn’t as harmful as it was back then, you know, we were really trying like we’re legalization is happening at this point.
I can’t foresee, I mean, we have Donald Trump in office and I still think it’s going to happen. I can’t foresee, I don’t want to say anything Tuesday, but it would be hard for me to imagine a situation, where it didn’t happen. And back then we were really fighting for all of those undecideds and, you know, like I had to put on a suit anytime I went anywhere and I had worn a suit and, you know, Lyle.
I mean, I guess a few times since before the pandemic, but not nearly as much, I wear suits much more as before as an example. so those types of messaging issues and the education that goes along with it, like what is CBD isn’t as important anymore. but we’re still available and there’s a lot of lingo, a lot of new reporters who are coming in who are saying like, Oh, what lingo should I use?
Can you look at my, my article and make sure that unlike not accidentally looking like an idiot to people who consume whatever?
Lisa Buffo: That makes sense. And so what do you think is one of the biggest disconnects you see between the public and the cannabis industry? I mean, something I think we noticed is that there’s a massive to your point educational gap between consumers and non-consumers are those who are really intimate and comfortable with this space and those who are not, what’s the biggest disconnect you see? And is there ways that NisonCo in your firm kind of works to remediate that.
Evan Nison: Let me think there’s a lot of disconnects and probably the most common is the simplicity. I think a lot of the public think the cannabis industry is just a dispensary. Like if you want to get an industry, you start a dispensary and that’s your option, and a lot of our job is, is sort of mitigating that. I mean, we’re talking to growers and budtenders and accountants and law firms and consultants and investors. and, I think we were able to also help with that. Again, not to talk too much about the past, but when we were able to sort of, when those, when the initial institutions weren’t on board with like when wall street itself wasn’t necessarily on board with this, or, the banks are kind of, I think they want to be on board, you know, like they’re not fighting us as an example when we were able to do those types of messages, I think there was a little bit more advocacy and it also to get, yeah. To get those onboard.
Lisa Buffo: That makes sense. And so where do you see the future of things going for NES and co and the industry? What would be a win for you in three to five years?
Evan Nison: For NisonCo, I am loving SEO, so I will definitely want to expand SEO. I would love to have that like sort of fully built out like the PR side is, and then keep expanding. You know, we really liked the like, like sibling companies are starting to collect fam kind of like it started a smoke shop, a couple of smoke shops in New Jersey, and we carry a lot of missing code clients and we’re starting to do things like, consumer review testing, like literal testing with actual customers in the smoke shops and we, like I was saying farm tours, we had branding opportunities with that. and there’s a lot of mutually beneficial. We, you know, we can use that to bring bustles of tourists to our clients. Dispenser is when there’s not a pandemic. so I think building out missing, because a PR and communications firm, and then building out the sort of, sibling companies, that are mutually beneficial with it.
Lisa Buffo: And with this pandemic. I mean, I know this is sort of changing the game for everybody. And maybe as of this conversation, it’s a little bit early, but how do you see this changing the industry? And particularly from a PR perspective, I mean, what what’s happening with your dispensary clients and what’s, what’s shifting now that we’re all at home.
Evan Nison: It’s fascinating because we actually there’s. A dramatic shift in obviously the industry and everything like that. So a lot of clients are having cashflow issues. a lot of clients are coming to us because they have new business models that are related to COVID or something like that. and there’s a lot of, but there’s a lot more articles being written, period. This is something that I was not expecting.
We have more media opportunities for our clients than we have had in years, mostly related to COVID. but there’s just more media being consumed by people being at home and written by reporters, being at home instead of out in the field and things like that. that there’s just tons of that going on. and we also are having a noticeable uptick in our SEO clients because so many people are going online to shop, that the, the PR and SEO sort of synergy is something that a lot of clients are starting to come to us for.
Lisa Buffo: Yeah, that makes sense. So I want to talk a little bit about SEO before we wrap up. So tell me a little bit about the first steps that you take with clients when you approach SEO, work with them. Where, where can, and what I’m trying to get at is where can our listeners and startups and entrepreneurs start with SEO with, again, they can’t hire a firm, or are new to this space.
Evan Nison: We do audits for free. So like, and I liked doing audit so that’s, you can contact us and I’ll do an audit, on our SEO page, on our website, we also have a free audit. That’s mostly for retail locations and dispensary is, can put yourself in as an e-commerce shop. And I really liked MAs as a tool that would be one that free 30 day trial.
I would try that, you know, if he was a low budget and you want to do it yourself, and checklists there’s start Googling onsite, SEO checklist, offsite, SEO checklist. that’s the crux of it. Like you’re going to get 80% of it. By following those checklists and the other 20% of it will be unfortunately impossible unless you have multiple companies to tinker with.
but you’ll be able to at least get yourself, you know, on the first page with that stuff. or your first couple of clients in the door. If you were trying to start, you know, a little practice and then have the clients to tinker around with and learn more about.
Lisa Buffo: And do you, so outside of those checklists, do you also, prioritize or recommend writing content and beefing up blogs?
Evan Nison: Yeah, for sure. But it should be, strategic. So we’ll do, we’ll start with an audit of the first initial things that we see onsite offsite that they can improve, structurally. on the backend, and then a competitive analysis and we’ll look at all their competitors, their top keywords, and also their top performing pages and if you look at your competitor’s top performing pages, you can start getting an idea of what people are Googling for, and do topics based on that. But if you do just random. Blogs for content. It will be helpful, but you really want content that people are Googling and sharing around and coming back to that.
Lisa Buffo: Makes sense. Okay. So last few questions, so how are you changing how the cannabis industry is perceived? And, and I, I say that as Evan personally, what’s, what’s your angle into this?
Evan Nison: What I’m trying to do is I guess I’m a social entrepreneur, like getting what I was saying. I don’t know. My background is it’s part, business, part advocacy and public affairs.
I think building more businesses that help each other and that have a social tie-in, Is the way to do it. Like my personal mission statement, life, whatever is to build influence well, build power, but everyone’s afraid the word power, build power and influence for myself to change the things that I want to change, socially, and then monetize that power and influence how I can ethically.
So I want to, I’m basically, I don’t want to say using the cannabis to, to start that, but yeah. But that the cannabis industry is part of that plan, you know, missing coal and all these other companies will fall into my hope is that plan. And while we do that, we can show what the cannabis industry can and should be, which is, you know, a socially aware and conscious industry.
And you guys also do pro bono work for nonprofits and advocacy groups, right?
Yes. we’re pausing that briefly for the pandemic. but the application is still online and we do rolling applications and we have some lists of clients that we’ve worked on there, like sauna, packaging, Africa rising we did, I love that stuff. so yeah, everyone should apply if you have, if you’re a nonprofit or honestly, we love just as much for profits that are doing things that are setting good examples. I think like the free work we did for sauna is actually has been one of the more effective work, effective things we’ve done at shaping the industry. we did a free thing for them on their, ocean, reclaimed ocean plastic.
Lisa Buffo: And who are they and what do they do?
Evan Nison: They do, green packaging. and we did a free push for them on, they, they had a packaging at, they came out with, from reclaimed ocean plastic. And then since then I actually had a number of them.
Packaging companies that told me without knowing that I did, we did their PR saying like, Oh, is like doing this and they’re getting a lot of attention for it. So we’re going to be doing, you know, a line of green packaging and stuff like that. that’s really what we want. You know, we want to be able to highlight things that other companies will mimic if we highlight it.
Lisa Buffo: Awesome. Alright. Well, tell us where, any last things you want to say, or you want to mention.
No, this was good. I appreciate you having us on, it’s been a great partnership with you guys and, we love you guys. Well, tell
you, I appreciate it. Tell everybody where they can find you and how they can get ahold of you.
Evan Nison: Nissim co.com and as a Nancy, I S as in Sam, O N as in Nancy, C O like company.com.
and I’m there Tuesday at 11.
Lisa Buffo: Awesome. Thank you so much, Evan. It’s been a pleasure.
Evan Nison: Yeah. Thanks. You too.
Lisa Buffo: Thank you for listening. Did you like this video? Give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple music. You can learn more @thecannabismarketingassociation.com and find us on social media at, at @cannamarketing and at @cannabismarketing ummit.
And don’t forget to buy tickets to our annual virtual cannabis marketing summitthis June.
Meet Your Host
LISA BUFFO, Founder and CEO of Cannabis Marketing Association
Lisa Buffo is an award-winning entrepreneur and marketer with a passion for launching companies with experience in both the cannabis and technology industries. Lisa is the Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, a membership based organization focused on education and best practices for industry marketers with the vision of rebranding cannabis at the national level. She was named one of 2019's 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Cannabis by Marijuana Venture Magazine in 2019 and named “The Marketing Guru” by Women & Weed magazine and is a featured speaker and media source in publications like Forbes, The Guardian, and VICE. You can find her on Instagram @libuff and Twitter @libuff21