The news media love tracking trends. In this era of high-speed technological innovation, you just might have a story that could get you earned media. Analyze your business and your industry. Positive news media stories have greater credibility than advertising.
When CVS announced several years ago it was dropping sales of all tobacco products at its pharmacies, it was big news. CVS got lots of positive coverage that set it above its competitors.
Today, smoking stories are swirling around vaping and marijuana, and companies in that industry are taking advantage.
Philip Morris, the company that for years marketed its leading cigarette brand with the Marlboro Man, is getting out of the tobacco business. So says Jacek Olczak, Chief Operating Officer of Philip Morris International:
Did you catch that? Philip Morris plans to get away from nicotine altogether…eventually. But for now, the company recommends vaping, which, of course, contains nicotine.
Meanwhile, the pot business is on fire (you should excuse the pun). Business is very good. PR pro Rosie Mattio says she represents more than 20 companies:
According to Mattio, the big social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Google, prohibit pot ads. So, her strategy is to get all the earned media she can:
Then there’s a man with an appropirate first name, Smoke Wallin. He’s CEO of a cannabis company whose name you might find somewhat counter-intuitive, Vertical Wellness. He’s merging with another marijuana company and plans to go public in Canada, where the use of the THC (mood altering) product is legal.
Wallin’s company also has CBD, the medicinal product derived from cannabis, and he sees huge upside in that part of his business, as well:
The biggest thing since the end of prohibition! he says.
Lesson here: be alert to those instances where your proactive outreach could lead to some positive benefits by going through the prism of the news media. It requires savvy PR that spots and executes the opportunities. And having your messaging ready to go.
Are you prepared?