Case Study: cannabisMD

Situation

With the global explosion of the legal cannabis industry over the last few years, consumers and curious would-be cannabis/CBD consumers have been in dire need of a reliable, trustworthy source for factual, non-advocacy user information around all things cannabis/CBD. A vertical with undisputed editorial mastery of the subject matter, sourcing content from the world’s most authoritative experts on “both sides of the plant”, as industry insiders would say of the cannabis and CBD worlds.

Enter cannabisMD. The firm approached RLM PR, pre-launch, after it had just installed a new CEO, Michael Klein. While this would be Klein’s first go helming a media company in cannabis, it was anything but his first high-profile role in the media business: Klein had been an exec in TV programming for decades and was known for his work at MTV, Travel Channel, and Condé Nast, among others.

At the time of launch, cMD had three three primary business goals. First, to become a source of real cannabis knowledge for the entire world (not “stoners”). This means leading the charge to treat consumer education around cannabis as a wellness-oriented mission—not merely a recreational one. Second, the company wanted to reach the Procter & Gambles of the world to become a safe space for advertisers in this nascent field, providing those companies with key data via its proprietary adtech solution, Knowledge Navigator. It also presenting the KN data with a bespoke plan to action it effectively, via the “human touch” offered by cMD’s Growth Team. The goal was to make cannabisMD the #1 brand in the portfolio of its Canadian parent company, Miraculo.

Strategy

RLM immediately began crafting a strategy to position cannabisMD as the go-to source for most media stories involving cannabis and CBD; the idea was to deploy cMD’s stable of best-in-class medical expert contributors to deploy real-time thought leadership for major trend stories.

Counter to a plethora of competitors in this industry, cMD’s experts are not freelance writers but thinkers with real expertise. This type of participation has led to the elevation of the entire industry. RLM capitalized on the availability of reputable professionals as non-advocacy experts willing to debunk medical claims featured elsewhere while separating a lot of fact from fiction.

While the above strategy was deployed initially to win brand awareness and grow the audience for the consumer-facing side of cMD, RLM was determined to garner serious exposure for Knowledge Navigator and the adtech play within cMD. We needed serious attention around the disruptive properties of this proprietary tool from the business and news outlets of record; the tactical marketing and advertising trades; and the venues at the intersection of culture and technology. Decision makers needed to be made aware of the power of this tool not only within the cannabis space, but its potential white-label applications for any industry.

RLM was able to achieve wide success in our B2B push by showcasing how the KN tool works as a standalone, industry-agnostic piece of leading adtech. We offered media keyword search data from cannabis and CBD-curious consumers; the data proved the interest for CBD/cannabis knowledge from the public at times eclipsed the search volume of keywords like “Jesus” and “Beyoncé”. We explained to media that once brands comprehended what their customers and would-be customers were searching for cannabis/CBD, those brands can unlock the true power of KN by working with the cMD growth team to conduct a comprehensive advertising strategy based on the found data.

And to top it off, while other cannabis companies had tentatively dipped their toes into the ad space, RLM worked with cannabisMD to create and promote the first-ever 30 day cannabis billboard in Times Square. Expecting many to think our campaign was a stunt, RLM orchestrated a handful of high-profile interviews, including video of the gorgeous digital ads in much of the mainstream press, starting with a broadcast interview on Yahoo! Finance.

RLM secured additional coverage for a second Times Square ad campaign featuring cMD’s collaboration with Survivor winner, cancer survivor, and avid cannabis advocate, Ethan Zohn; this garnered coverage in Men’s Health, People, and Daily Mail. RLM positioned this news as major breakthroughs for the advertising industry, garnering coverage from several trades, including AdWeek and Advertising Age.

Results

RLM has been able to establish cannabisMD as the informational leader in the whole of the cannabis industry within a frame of 10 months and to garner high-profile placements in publications like NY-1, Bloomberg Radio, Forbes, Maxim, Observer.com, USA Today, Real Simple, Yahoo Finance, Benzinga, Newsweek, PasteMag, and Merry Jane (see full list below) by procuring highest-level coverage for Knowledge Navigator, all while positioning a CEO and several coveted medical advisors as non-biased experts on a number of cannabis ideas.

Over the course of the myriad campaigns, RLM has successfully positioned the now leader in non-advocacy info, cannabisMD, as fully capable experts in an ever-evolving industry via a giant burst of major (and select) media. This includes USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, FOX News, Huffington Post, MSN, MarketWatch, Digiday, AdWeek, PopSugar, SheKnows.com, Marie Claire, Fortune, CNBC, Maxim, MarketWatch, Metro, MergerMarket, Bustle, Arizona Republic, Disruptor Daily, and ZDNet, plus dozens more podcasts, daily and weekly news inclusions, TV outlets, and leading digital publications.

Yahoo Finance, "Michael Klein on Medical Cannabis"
Forbes, Knowledge Navigator, CBD Popularity"
US News and World Report, "CBD and Migraines with Dr. Tishler"
Pop Sugar, "CBD and Hangovers"

Category

AdTech, Consumer, Earned Media, Education

Tags

Date published

January 6, 2020