Party Like a Marketer Podcast

Episode 48: Public Relations During Tough Economic Times

Episode Description

Lisa Buffo, Founder, and CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association sat down with Tatiyana Brooks Director of Emerging Markets at Comprise Agency, to discuss Public Relations During Tough Economic Times.

Learn more and connect with the Cannabis Marketing Association:

Read the Transcript

Lisa Buffo  00:12

Hello everyone, welcome to party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to cannabis marketing, public relations and authentic storytelling. I’m your host Lisa buffo, founder and CEO of the cannabis Marketing Association. We’re about a week away from our annual cannabis marketing summit June 21 through 23rd in Denver, Colorado for two and a half days of cannabis marketing speakers, best practices and networking over three stages at the Hilton city center. This year’s theme is doing more with less scaling sustainably. We know how tough it is in the industry right now. So all of our content, whether it’s a conversation about SEO or retail design is going to be spoken about through the lens of how to do it on a budget and effectively to help companies drive their top line revenue and their profit. Today’s conversation features Tatiana Brooks, the public relations account director at comprise as the director of emerging markets I comprise Tatiana is responsible for executing impactful public relations strategies that grow companies across a number of verticals, including cannabis, AI, cybersecurity, financial technology and more. She is committed to cannabis advocacy, social responsibility and education and Tatiana partners with local organizations to increase business opportunities for minorities and restore economic wealth. Get your tickets now to the cannabis marketing Summit. Use the code podcast 20 for 20% off exclusive to party like a marketer subscribers, go to the cannabis marketing and click on the cannabis marketing Summit. See you next week. Tatiana, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Tatiyana Brooks  01:56

Thank you, Lisa. Really happy to be here. Really happy to be here.

Lisa Buffo  02:00

Yes. So can you tell our audience a little bit about who you are your your career background, anything else you want them to know about Tatiana, as well as your work at your agency and a little bit about what you do?

Tatiyana Brooks  02:14

Sure, absolutely. So my name is Tatiana Brooks. Everyone calls me toddy toddy, you my CEO called mutator chop. I’m director of emerging markets at comprise that we are one of the nation’s first technology public relations agencies. And we are based in Boulder, Colorado. I started my PR career in Las Vegas where I handled social media digital marketing includes management, all types of account management for entertainment, food and beverage and CPG brands. One of those being cannabis. But since leaving Sin City, I’ve really honed in more on cybersecurity, synthetic biotech, agricultural, biotech, anything that’s new on the scene, and one of those still is cannabis. So all about cannabis technology as well. So I really like to specialize in impactful stories that help not just consumers and media, but also investors, employees, political leaders. So what I do is help my clients really just increase their awareness and their thought leadership.

Lisa Buffo  03:10

Awesome. And how long have you been doing this? And this is comprises like, this is our bread and butter. This is what they do.

Tatiyana Brooks  03:18

This is this is what we do. Yeah, we are all about making sure that anyone new unseen or you know, whether it be startup or whether you’re a very established company, but just making sure that they are seen in a very positive light and making sure that they’re effective, whether that be increasing their funding or increasing awareness for their products. That’s just that’s definitely our bread and butter. But I’ve been doing this for about five years now. And P in Vegas, where I started my PR career. One of my first clients was one of Vegas’s first recreational dispensaries. So really, really appreciated the grassroots movement and still do to this day.

Lisa Buffo  03:57

Awesome. And can you talk about some of the best practices for PR for cannabis clients? Like, what are the things that when you start out the gate with them, that you advise and recommend when working with them? And like what, how do you approach cannabis a little bit differently than say, cybersecurity or, you know, some of these other technologies that you mentioned? Like what’s kind of the bread and butter of of best practices and that public relations approach that you have?

Tatiyana Brooks  04:27

Yeah, yeah, definitely. So I would say whether that be you know, if it’s cannabis technology, or dispensary, or cannabis brand, as we all know, you know, there’s plenty of sellers in the industry. But we tried to shift away from that kind of stoner culture because you know, this is a business this is an industry leading something that we are trying to standardize. So that’s one best practice for sure. But also still making sure to resonate with those consumers who are still those Sonal cultures is still super important. So making sure that we have the messaging right So whether we’re talking to investors or customers and whether those consumers are new to cannabis, or maybe they’re cannabis averse. So it’s making sure that we are, you know, really tailoring that messaging to complete their goals. dispensary, they began hosting blood drives to help the American Red Cross because they were having a blood shortage. And those blood drives that helped to offer discounts to consumers who donated. So now they do it every year. And they see consistent boosts from not just their, you know, regular consumers, but also new customers. One of their customers even said that, they said, like, I didn’t know anything about cannabis, I was just trying to give back. But I ended up walking into the store and trying it and now I loved it. So it was a great way to help the community but also drive sales. So definitely giving back is something that I have seen go really far. I know it can be tough, especially right now, Canvas is in a downturn overall. But there’s still some opportunities to give back that may not have a huge lift on your marketing your marketing area. Another strategy I’d say is, you know, responsible cannabis marketing. That’s something that myself and my CEO Doyle Alby, who’s got we’re going to be speaking at the Cannabis marketing summit soon, later this month. And our Yeah, I don’t know what our presentation is going to be on lessons that the cannabis industry can take from the alcohol industry when it comes to Respess responsible marketing. So we’ll definitely be diving into what the alcohol industry did, but from the cannabis side, we just really want to make sure that the marketing strategies we’re doing protects them from anything as well as a claims from saying that cannabis is unsafe or, you know, anything, you know, let’s say that there are upcoming potency caps that we need to worry about those effective marketing strategies, making sure people know you know, you have to be ID several times before you go into a dispensary, those types of things need to be shared with consumers, and it’ll help just protect them overall.

Lisa Buffo  06:55

So you’re saying as an actual strategy to educate consumers on compliance and what to expect so that they you are building that trust as far as like expectations matching reality and they know what they’re getting into, not just as far as the product itself, but the experience of purchasing and compliantly purchasing cannabis.

Tatiyana Brooks  07:17

Right? Absolutely. And it’s not to say, you know, your day to day consumers they’re not walking into your dispensary because, you know, they’re being IDs so it’s not necessarily messaging for them. But it’s for you know, it’s for parents you know, it’s for school leaders who are worried about you know, the negative aspects that may be associated with cannabis but this is an additional way to protect you from that for example, you walk into a liquor store you can have your child with you you know, that’s something that not a lot of consumers know is that dispensaries you have to be ID once twice maybe even three times before you walk out with your purchase to some dispensaries, you have to have your product in a bag. Sometimes there’s additional labeling on there. So I think talking about those things, if it helps relieve those cannabis adverse and then may even take them from cannabis averse to cannabis. Curious to maybe even becoming a cannabis, excuse me,

Lisa Buffo  08:12

It never occurred. To me that analogy about children being actually allowed into liquor stores, that’s so obvious, but it just like that just clicked, how much of a difference that is, and what an possible, like barrier for parents to be able to go. Because they have to either be by themselves or have childcare or like the kid would need to be old enough to be able to sit in the car for a little bit by themselves. That actually really does affect things that would never occurred to me.

Tatiyana Brooks  08:43

Yeah, yeah. and these are things that need to be discussed, because we are regulated far more than, you know, other industries. So like I said, it’s not for those cannabis enthusiasts are not walking in, because hey, my favorite dispensary really cares about ideas. It’s not something that there may be thinking of is top of mind. But it’s an added barrier that we need to be discussing in a more public stance to make sure that people know that, you know, this is something regulated. This is a business, you know, this is a legal business. And you know, we’re doing the right things and we’re doing more than just crossing the T’s and dotting the eyes.

Lisa Buffo  09:16

And how does public relations play into the marketing mix? Because it seems like years ago when cannabis was new, PR was such an obvious strategy. Everyone was really curious about it. It is protected by the First Amendment. So when it comes to regulations, you can like in theory, say whatever you want to a journalist. It’s not the same as like putting together a campaign and launching it and putting it there. But you know, PR doesn’t involve brand storytelling, but I also feel like when I speak with journalists, now they are saying you know, there’s so many product new products launching so many of them are similar like the kind of initial shiny objects newness of the industry, and whatever new gummies brand just came out, is starting to dole of it, which is good in the sense that okay, this is becoming more mainstream, that it’s not headline news every time like, this is what we all wanted. Right? But like, how does PR play into the cannabis marketing mix? And how do you see brands being effective in it now and in the future? Given that it is less of a hook? I think at this point in time, then it wasn’t very nice.

Tatiyana Brooks  10:29

Yeah, well, I say they definitely both have to work hand in hand, that’s really important for your marketing team and your PR team to be very well aligned, as well as with your social media team. And I know with, you know, again, with cannabis being in quite a downturn, there are things that you know, get taken down or lost in the mix, marketing and PR those types of services be started to becoming one of the first things that brands may be thinking, you know, maybe something has to go. But when it comes to PR, it’s supporting marketing, in the sense of, you know, marketing is getting your products out there, making sure your consumers know about them. But there’s an added level, an added layer, that’s really important. So with PR, we’re helping to make sure that journalists and writers know about the products that you’re going that you’re, you know, utilizing and putting out there. But also the thought leadership is a really big piece, one of our former clients, when we’re working with them on one of their gummy brands, their gummies, where it helps out for, you’re able to score them and have a bit more of a micro dose. So that was something that was fairly new to the market. So that marketing is helping and making sure that consumers know about it. But then the PR element is making sure that, you know, people know that it is becoming a thing. And then it goes into thought leadership of you know, why do we need gummies that are less than 10 milligrams, you know, and it’s talking about that is one of the first things on the market. So that’s another added layer of making sure that you’re seen as a thought leader, you’re seen as a revolutionary. And it’s just, it’s just more than just getting that product out there. So they all come together.

Lisa Buffo  12:03

Yeah, so you can still leverage it in that educational sense, like you were saying that thought leadership can be tied to that education, which I think ultimately helps everybody at the end.

Tatiyana Brooks  12:14

Yeah, especially for an SEO SEO as well. So, you know, if you, you know, you put out a product and your consumers are worried about it from aware of it from a marketing standpoint. But then it’s also that PR standpoint is making sure you know, marijuana venture covers it, making sure High Times covers it. That way, when people are looking for edibles that are less than 10 milligrams, they’re searching for those and boom, you know, you’re coming up and saying, you know, this leader was just featured and High Times with their new product.

Lisa Buffo  12:44

Yes, that makes sense. And how does working with an agency like yours, like work? Tell me about that process? And like, what about the benefits of working with a PR agency and connecting with the media to ensure that things get covered?

Tatiyana Brooks  12:59

Sure, sure. Sure. So when we sign in as a client on, you know, we want to know all the nitty gritty, you know, we want to know about your upcoming products, your upcoming announcements, who are your thought leaders, and then we want to just elevate them, and make sure that they are just seen in the best light possible, as well, as you know, seen as technological advances. Those are things that are really important. So when you come on, we just learn everything that we can about you. And you know, we plan, you know when to when you want to release your products, when you want to start talking about new things, and it’s all really planned. And we do like 90 day sprints. So every 90 days, we’ll do a strategy session, and talk to you about what your goals are what KPIs we need to confirm, and then the pathways to get there.

Lisa Buffo  13:46

And what are common KPIs from a press perspective,

Tatiyana Brooks  13:50

From apress perspective, I would say common KPIs are, you know, making sure they’re in those trade publications for sure. So they want to be in high times if they’re doing something from a political standpoint, they want to be in normal. So we want to make sure we’re getting them reach their reach and outlets that they prefer. But then it also is uplifting their marketing and social media. So you know, we’re making sure we’re working with their social media teams is that when they get published in an article, then their social media is following up with saying hey, you know, thanks, hi times for featuring me. And then it’s really adding to that conversation. So that’s another KPI is how social and marketing can both benefit from PR efforts. And another KPI I would say is just making sure even when it comes to their events, you know, it’s more than just marketing with when it comes to events. It’s making sure you know Hey, was it featured on the news? Or you know, it was my blood drive for example, covered more places than just cannabis to reach those cannabis diverse and cannabis curious consumers to that makes sense.

Lisa Buffo  14:55

And do you have any like stories or client wins you want to share? where you were like, this is like the perfect example of PR being knocked out of the park. And this is how it like really helped and benefited a business like, what’s that? What’s that kind of dream scenario look like?

Tatiyana Brooks  15:12

Sure, sure, sure. So a couple years ago, I was working with the green solution, which is a pretty predominant dispensary here in Colorado as well as a couple other states. But a couple of their founders were that are veterans themselves. So we really wanted an opportunity to give back to veterans. So when they opened their dispensary in Black Hawk, which is a fairly small market, but it was, you know, became one of the first dispensaries in that area, Blackhawk, Colorado, but they also partnered with a veteran community and gave, I believe, don’t quote me on the number, but we definitely gave a couple $1,000 to those community leaders and had a big event had a big splash, especially in such a small market. So they were featured in all of their, you know, smaller newspapers and publications. But that helped them get new customers in a very small market. So that’s definitely a win for sure. That blood drive that I’ve mentioned earlier of another great way to reach cannabis diverse and cannabis curious as well as just giving back. And even American Red Cross thank them as well. So that’s just adding the the grand scope of being able to be seen in a positive light. Those are just a couple really, pretty recent one recent one, we worked with Terrapin care station on releasing their first cannabis kind of vending machine. So you know, it was new technological advancement, we featured and got them featured in mjbizcon. So just really cool things.

Lisa Buffo  16:44

Yeah, and I love the enforcement on give back, but also like creating Win Win Win scenarios that have this snowball effect, where if you’re doing something good for a certain community, and the broader community to so like veterans, for example, in Black Hawk, that there’s a good story to tell, they’re more than just like this new dispensary opened and come check them out. It’s like, here’s who they are, here’s the value and how like serious that they see themselves within the community. And like, I guess I just say how serious that they’re taking it. And it ties into their story. And I think sometimes we as marketers can make things like overly complicated, and like overly metrics driven and overly analytical. And like, there’s nothing wrong with that. But also, it’s like, when you step back and take a look at the bigger picture and think about like, what are people going to remember what’s going to really build trust and stick with them, what is going to be that working smarter and not harder. And it’s like there, there is a story to tell there, which is that the store open money was raised, money was donated, and it was donated to a meaningful cause to the community and to the business. That’s like triple, you know, triple bottom line. Like when when, when there.

Tatiyana Brooks  18:02

In terms of stories already there, you know, that you just really think about your history. And that’s, you know, it’s just a great part of storytelling is sometimes when you’re just looking within finding out the true things that are passionate about who your client is, or even if you’re you know, you’re just thinking about yourself, if you really go towards that and work off of those real experiences, that’s when you have the most effective marketing, in my opinion.

Lisa Buffo  18:25

So when you are working with clients, do you sit down and ask them like, tell us her story? Or like, what are your core values? Or, like, how, what are some of the things you would ask to when you’re saying the story’s already there, like, I’m assuming part of your job is being able to tease that out, and then turn it into an action plan. So like, what does that look like? And how would our audience if they’re maybe startups or haven’t worked with an agency before? Like, how do you approach that process? And how should they be thinking about that, as far as finding a story that they, instead of creating one extracting one?

Tatiyana Brooks  19:02

For sure, for sure. Yeah. So in the beginning, you know, we’re, it’s a lot of conversation. When you’re signing on a client, it’s, you know, finding out their history, finding out what makes them tick, finding out what their employees really care about finding out what their founders care about me, you know, maybe if we’re not talking to a CEO, we’re talking to someone’s communications officer, right. So we’re, you know, we’re talking about the story of how their company came to be. Those are things that are really important that needs to stick with it, that story needs to stick through. And if you start by making sure that that story is in from day one, it will continue on. So that’s something we do quite often in the beginning. But once you have that friendship relationship, I like to become friends with my clients. I really do because you know, we’re it’s a partnership. You know, it’s you know, yes, you’re getting getting comprise as a service but what you’re really getting as a partner, someone that cares about your future access success, so just you know, really becoming friends with them is something that I really enjoy about my job. Um, but when it comes to say, you know, early cannabis entrepreneurs or perhaps your social equity applicant, right? You want that to stay rooted in you or perhaps you started your cannabis business because you know, your mother wanted, you know, really wanted medicine or perhaps you wanted medicine, maybe mental health is something that’s important to you. Maybe you know, an uncle, you know, is, has to be put in prison for a nonviolent crime for cannabis, something like that, you know, keeping those stories alive, it helps generate sales truly, because people want to contribute to something that is passionate, something that is worthwhile. And then it also just, you know, it makes you happy overall, you know, if you want to share those really meaningful stories they should carry on throughout your business, in your social media and your marketing and in your PR.

Lisa Buffo  20:52

Yeah, that’s a really great point. Just about to ask you a follow up to that unblinking, you had said something really good.

Tatiyana Brooks  21:07

No problem. I was just about it. Just you know, when it comes to how your company began, that those are really important thing. So judge, you got it?

Lisa Buffo  21:18

Yes, yes. So when it comes to marketing, like I was saying in the beginning about sometimes us overcomplicating it as marketers that you want to be able to turn your customers into evangelists of your brand. And if they have an experience that they really love, or a core value that like you align with our core values, like I think of TOMS shoes as the most kind of like, obvious, almost oversimplified example, where, like, those shoes weren’t particularly like, fruity, or innovative, or, arguably stylish, but it was like, they’re at a decent price point, they’re well made. And I know, with this purchase, I am helping somebody else really in need. And I feel like that just simple concept, like skyrocketed them to like, first in class. And it’s not that, you know, we can even have that sort of direct comparison in cannabis, as far as like a one for one model. But it is just this consideration of that founder had a story, it was tied to something that was important to him, he built it into the business model, he was able to make it work and that like directly hit at the emotional appeal of customers that allowed people to talk about it for it to be recognizable. And then like, even with that Black Hawk example, like that snowball effect for it to like, keep going and to keep getting bigger. And having that authenticity in your messaging. And that story that folks can resonate with in your messaging can often be like, way more simple than just like, what what is the latest deal that we’re running? Or like, what are the products benefits? Like we actually just did a webinar last week with five of the top editors in cannabis with mg magazine, marijuana venture and J days. And they were all talking about, like, what not to do. And one of the things they said was like, Don’t send a press release with your prices. And don’t send a press release with, you’re just like listing off your product attributes like that there’s not a story there. And that doesn’t differentiate at all. And essentially, like, this wasn’t their words, but essentially what they were saying was like, how does that matter to our readers? Like, how are you appealing to the readers? You need to keep that in mind? So I care about tie that in? Yeah,

Tatiyana Brooks  23:34

Yeah. Yeah, they really care about you know, are you first Are you biggest are you, you know, what makes you different? Your differentiators are so, so, so important. And you don’t want to steer clear of them. You don’t want to brag of course, but you want to make sure people know that you know, what makes you different. Why do I want this cannabis gummy versus something else? Or why is this cannabis coffee? Better than regular coffee? You want to talk about those differentiators? And definitely steer away from prices and press releases.

Lisa Buffo  24:04

Yeah, yeah. Like think like a journalist, right? Like, what, what are they doing? And how much? How do they have to write what is their kind of processed for that. And then if you can meet them as much there as possible, you’re going to have a more likely chance of being covered. And I think that’s one of the benefits about working with agencies is that you will not only know how to do that, but you have these longer standing relationships with reporters in the media and can know and advise on, this is what they’ll like, and this is what’s different. And here’s how to take your story and craft it versus just having folks send it they also mentioned to I will say I didn’t occur to me that this was something that was happening that they’re starting to get press releases that are like generated by like AI and chat GPT and they were like we can tell like we know when a human sat and write that versus like, you know, an admin in your office who cranked it out on chat GPT and Do you immediately lose or losing trust with reporters, they’re so it’s just like working smart, smarter, not harder isn’t always spending less time on things or being less considerate, because it can actually kind of come around and bite you. If if you don’t know how to craft that message.

Tatiyana Brooks  25:21

Exactly, it can definitely bite you in the butt on our agency, you know, we talk about it every day, you know, we definitely want to stay on top of the latest tools. But we you know, we have to use AI to benefit us not to make us look bad. So that they can definitely tell because you know, it is a robot, you know, it, it lacks the emotion, it may not have updated information, I think it only goes back to 2021. So, you know, there are things that it just simply don’t doesn’t know. So you have to use it to benefit you, you definitely don’t want it to appear that a robot wrote it.

Lisa Buffo  25:56

For sure. and, um, given that you’ve been working in this space for a while now, and you have a lot of experience in all these different industries. What are some advice that you received, at the beginning of your career that you have found is still true? And and also, what’s the flip side? Like? Is there any advice that you’re like, This is what I thought coming into PR? And then this is not actually how it is?

Tatiyana Brooks  26:21

Yeah, I would definitely say when it comes to PR again, you know, it’s it’s definitely about those relationships that you’re building, especially when it comes to PR, you know, speaking with journalists, there’s still journalists that I met, you know, at conferences five years ago that I still keep in contact with over email, or just, oh, you had a baby, you know, just keeping those relationships are super important. It doesn’t, it doesn’t stop when you give them your business card. It involves you keep going. And you’re still making those connections day to day. From specifically a marketing standpoint. What I would say is staying on track on top of the latest tools is super, super important. And being aware of you know, any new shakeups in the industry, for example, Twitter, they just started allowing cannabis ads. Um, it’s a little clunky at the moment, still working out some kinks. But being just knowing that you have that availability, you can, you know, be the first on a platform you could potentially I think it was just released earlier this year. So you could be one of the first dispensaries one of the first cannabis brands to be seen on Twitter. And you know, consumers may not ever forget that they may say, oh my god, a cannabis ad on Twitter. I’ve never seen that before, I need to check this out. So staying on top of the latest tools is super, super important. Another thing I would say is, I don’t think I knew how big events and experiential marketing would be. When Ken when I first began in the cannabis industry, I helped one of my former clients with their kind of their 420 festival. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this is so cool. But it’s so much bigger than that now. So being ready for that when the time comes when consumption lounges become more of a norm, or even being ready to give a cannabis course on how to make your own edibles. Or you know, maybe there’ll be cannabis watch parties in the future for sporting events, you just being able to shift and you know, begin with those. And I know we live I live in the beautiful state of Colorado. So we have a lot more opportunities than other states. But as those new states are forming, to be ready to jump in when they’re able to do so.

Lisa Buffo  28:25

Yeah, I the consumption conversation is always interesting, because the analogy I like to use, which you will probably understand is like the current environment would be like if we had liquor stores, but no bars. And we have dispensaries but we don’t have consumption spaces. And it’s like, could you imagine? Could you imagine if we had just liquor stores or no bars that you had to walk home with your alcohol in a bag and then consume it in your living room. And that was like the space you were relegated to? That’s the current phase that we’re in?

Tatiyana Brooks  28:55

Yeah, especially. And you know, I started in Las Vegas. So that was a message I was often having to really navigate because Vegas is a big tourist city. So yeah, we have people coming in coming into my clients store saying, Oh, I can’t wait to buy cannabis. But wait, I can’t smoke it at the I can’t smoke it at the hotel. What do I do? Or, you know, they’re asking bud tenders, you know, where can I smoke this? Can I smoke it right here? You know, so being able to navigate those things and making sure that your marketing still allows and ensures that consumers have ways to go about it. That was super tough. Consumption lounges, I believe just recently became illegal in Nevada, so I am hoping they can really push that because to be a tourist and to come to Vegas, you know, for a week or a day and you know, you see the big dispensaries and the lights and you have nowhere to go. That’s super tough.

Lisa Buffo  29:49

Yeah, definitely. So I want to talk a little bit about your talk at the Cannabis marketing Summit. Can you give a little preview, just a little preview as to what you’re talking about maybe some highlights or what’s important. We, as many of you know, our conference is June 21 through 23rd. We have three stages running. We’re over two and a half days. We’re talking about all topics cannabis marketing. And Tati and her CEO have a really awesome workshop and presentation about kind of the parallels between alcohol and cannabis, which if you don’t know, or I don’t know, it’s already, but our marketing regulations are pulled directly from the alcohol industries and just modified so like it. And actually, this is for all with cannabis regulations. I should say, this isn’t just marketing. But in Colorado amendment 64, which is the legal the bill that was passed for legalization, their slogan was regulate marijuana like alcohol. So that is, alcohol is the basis of cannabis as policies. But we know it’s not the same, right? Alcohol doesn’t have this medicinal use the effects of alcohol and cannabis, you know, are very different on the body and the mind. But from a regulatory standpoint, that’s that’s how things were built. So can you give a little insight into what you’re going to be talking about? And maybe what folks can look forward to?

Tatiyana Brooks  31:11

You’re sure, absolutely, yeah, so we’re super excited about it, my CEO, and I, Doyle, we are going to kind of tag team and you know, I am the, you know, the cannabis expert for this presentation. And he is the alcohol expert. So, he worked for Coors many years ago, helping out with their PR, so a lot of those initiatives that he was, you know, navigating through an 80s and 90s. That is just what we’re going to be talking about how cannabis can benefit from those as well. So as you just discussed, a lot of these regulations are directly tied to how alcohol was introduced and legalized and regulated in the US. So we’re going to be diving in to talk about, you know, some of the some of the sort of obstacles that the alcohol industry had to overcome, you know, some of the unsubstantiated claims, some, you know, claims to ban alcohol, you know, we won’t talk too much about early on, you know, in the 1800s, and the, you know, the temperance movement, but we’re gonna talk about how in the 80s, you know, drunk driving was something that was greatly discussed. And, you know, there were several marketing pushes to, you know, ban alcohol once again. So the alcohol industry really worked hard to make sure that that didn’t happen, provided some extra regulation, some extra oomph to the fact that, you know, this is a regulated industry. So one thing we’ll be talking about is, you know, the slogan 21 means 21. You know, that’s still runs true, you know, alcohol, liquor stores, and bars still have the signs up to this day. But that was one way to protect themselves from potential re banding of alcohol. So we’ll be talking about responsible marketing strategies that cannabis industry professionals can use. But more than just responsible marketing, it’s the responsible positioning. So that goes right back into discussing that, you know, to get into this dispensary, you have to be 21, you have to show your ID, those types of messages need to be shared more so more often than not. So we’ll be diving into those. I won’t talk too too much about the specific parts of the presentation, but just know you’re going to be hearing from an alcohol PR Pro. And then what I like to call myself, I’m getting much better at cannabis PR over the many years. So you’re gonna see how we’re, you know, going back and forth and talking about what did alcohol do? And how can cannabis benefit this because as time goes on, you know, we are going to be I don’t want to say attacked, but you know, as you know, things are going to be legalized in the near future. more states are, you know, becoming legalized, we have st Banking Act, to potentially hopefully fingers crossed. See, that will help but you know, when those things come to come about, that means your futures come with it. So it’s just all about protection. And you know, all about making sure that people that aren’t cannabis enthusiast knows about the good thing that we’re trying to do in the industry.

Lisa Buffo  34:01

Yeah, that’s a that’s a great way to put it. And I’m, I’m really excited for your talk. And today we work correct me if I’m wrong, but did he work in house like as an executive at course, yeah. So he knows, like, you know, then,

Tatiyana Brooks  34:12

She saw it then. And, you know, it was working very closely with you know, a lot of those messages. That was you know, it was it was all him so, really excited to talk about it.

Lisa Buffo  34:22

I was gonna it’s gonna be a great talk. Awesome. And you guys are Friday right after our keynote. So you’ll be you’ll be there. Friday morning for those who are coming.

Tatiyana Brooks  34:32

Yep, yep, yep. And then for anyone that would like to connect on you definitely reach out to me on LinkedIn that I will be there all three days. I’m super excited. I was there last year, so a lot of amazing talks so I’m really excited to be giving one this time.

Lisa Buffo  34:45

Nice. Nice I can’t wait it’s gonna be we took where it’s gonna be better. Like last year was awesome. It was an awesome event. It was our first time doing it in person given the hiatus with the pandemic, but We took like all the things that were good for last year and all the things we could have improved and put it into the show. So, and I’ll tell you guys a little bit more about that. But I’m tatty. I also want to ask you, where do you see the industry going in the future? Like, what’s the short term? What’s the longer term? And if you could even tie that into PR, like, where do you see it going? And what are some of those opportunities there?

Tatiyana Brooks  35:25

Yeah, yeah, for sure. Um, so right now, I’m super hopeful for safe Banking Act. You know, it’s super important to make sure that legal cannabis businesses have access to financial services, keeps the employees league safe, it keeps the community safe, you know, because, you know, especially with dealing with cash, but I’m also really hopeful for expungement of non violent cannabis records. That’s something that I am really, really passionate about. I know one of the Democratic senators, I believe it Merkley, but he’s pushing for reform that kind of is rooted in restorative justice. So we want to make sure that, you know, states get funding if they choose to expunge cannabis records. So I definitely see that happening, I’m really looking forward to it. And tying both of those things into PR, you know, when it comes from, from a business standpoint, making sure that you know, if that is something that you are passionate about, you want your consumers to know about it, too, you want to be representing in a positive light, and you want to be making sure that the media knows about that as well. So that’s something super, super important. And when it comes to safe Banking Act, as that thing, you know, as it really began, begins to, you know, take flight. You know, that’s when cannabis businesses need to be talking about here, look at what’s happening right now, here’s how this could benefit my business. So from a PR standpoint, as those conversations happen more often, we need to be discussing that externally and saying, like, the reasons why I need this for my business is X, Y, and Z. So I definitely think that’s really important. I would also say that, I guess, you know, again, we’re talking about social media. If more platforms decide to allow cannabis ads, I think that’ll be really important and really helped grow the cannabis industry. experiential marketing, I know, it just mentioned that, but now that we’re out of the pandemic, we can really, you know, be connecting in person and create new experiences involving cannabis. So I think that’ll be really important, as well. And then lastly, social equity. I definitely see them really propelling. I also see the rise of their businesses. But I also see and hope to see mentors who are long term players in the space. I’d really love for them to help propel them up as well.

Lisa Buffo  37:38

Yeah, yeah, that’s awesome. Let’s see. And then what is your personal favorite part of working in the cannabis industry? Like what? What is different about it from the work you were doing in Vegas and the other industries that you work with? Like, I’m guessing cybersecurity is a very different conversation.

Tatiyana Brooks  37:58

So you know, it is quite different those those client calls are definitely different. Um, my favorite part of the cannabis industry is that, you know, it’s it’s grassroots history, and how that still is carried on do with that same passion today, you know, in the in the 60s with the anti war era, you know, cannabis did switch from being just like a fun leisure activity to really a fierce political stance, and that is still something that is really cared about still today. Even today, you know, our industry we prioritize, you know, reversing the effects of war on drugs. We’re extremely active in politics. And then we come together for writes for cannabis business owner. So that’s my favorite part of being in the cannabis industry is that we do really care we you know, I feel like it is truly just all good people. Honestly, I haven’t met a cannabis bad actor to this date. And I love working in the cannabis industry. I love helping them propel, especially as you know, there’s so many new cannabis companies coming to beat, you know, every single day. So helping enter these markets, especially new markets as they’re coming to be. My dad is wanting to become a franchise owner of a dispensary in Missouri. So with that, I know I know. So just seeing it grow and seeing it, how it’s something that I used to hide from my parents. Yeah. And now I’m helping him get involved. So just it’s, it’s so cool to see it literally growing more and more every day. It’s my absolute favorite thing.

Lisa Buffo  39:27

So is he applying for a license?

Tatiyana Brooks  39:29

Yeah, yeah, he’s applying for a license. So helping him through that whole thing. And it’s just it’s so crazy that he you know, now I don’t have to hide it. Well, I mean, I haven’t hired him definitely since I started working in it five years ago, but to see him seeing the benefits of it, seeing him understand how it’s helped me over the years for personal use and helped propel my career and how I’ve, you know, he’s always following along he’s going to be watching this client I know right now Let’s see how is it helping clients? You know, increase their sales and you know, become, you know, true thought leaders in the industry. That’s just really cool to see.

Lisa Buffo  40:09

Nice. Yeah. I love that. We’ll talk to you. Thank you so much. Is there any contact information you want to share anywhere on social email website? Sure. Audience can find you.

Tatiyana Brooks  40:23

Yeah, yeah. So comprise that agency that is our PR agency. If you’re interested in speaking about our services, we would love to connect with you. You can reach me at LinkedIn slash Totti Brooks, that’s the best way there. And then also just at the event, I would love to talk to any and everyone. I’m really looking forward to it. I will be at every single event and I’m really looking forward to it.

Lisa Buffo  40:46

Yes, thank you so much for your time.

Tatiyana Brooks  40:47

Thank you, Lisa. I can’t wait. And I’ll definitely have to come say hi to you later this month.

Lisa Buffo  40:52

I will see you there.

Tatiyana Brooks  40:55

Awesome. Cool. Cool. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Lisa Buffo  40:56

Get your tickets now to the cannabis marketing Summit. Use the code podcast 20 for 20% off exclusive to party like a marketer subscribers, go to the cannabis marketing and click on the cannabis marketing Summit. See you next week. you all for listening to today’s episode. We’ll see you next week and we’ll see you in June at the Cannabis marketing Summit. Get your tickets now at the Cannabis marketing To get your free entry to the CMA sevens marketing awards.

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.

Become a CMA Member Today!

Join the fun as we host exciting educational and networking events in your community. Engage with your marketing peers and collaborate to solve the cannabis industry's toughest marketing and public relations challenges, all while building community and having a great time!