The Cannabis Industry Turns to PR

In the U.S., more than 20 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and five states allow it for recreational use. President Obama recently said “You’re starting to see not just liberal Democrats, but also some very conservative Republicans recognize [prohibition] doesn’t make sense.”

So it’s only natural that as Merryjane.com recently reported, “Money is now pouring into the burgeoning industry and cannabis businesses are investing even more in public relations to burnish their image and get their brands noticed.”

“One of the drivers of the boom in cannabis PR agencies has been the high number of activists entering the industry,” the article explains. “And the questions…from reporters that are coming from the mainstream media come from a much more educated place; we’re no longer educating them on the basics of cannabis and why legalization makes sense.

“As more states legalize marijuana, there’s going to be more need for local press for things like dispensary openings and local license applications and those sorts of things. Like for instance in Colorado, obviously, there’s more local reporting going on, so I think eventually there will be more local cannabis PR offices.”

Marijuana is a booming business that will soon be sweeping the country. Cannabis is still federally illegal so a lot of media won’t accept advertisements, leaving public relations as the most effective way for the cannabis industry to gain brand awareness.

PR will play an essential role in introducing the public to the cannabis industry and transforming mainstream views. The challenge is to overcome negative stereotypes created by the most impressive campaign ever: Reefer Madness.

Carney & Associates proudly provides public relations and  publicity services for authors, experts, businesses and nonprofits who are improving our world. Please contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to see how we might be of service to you.

 

 

KPFA’s Letters and Politics on Transgender Women in Prisons

CARNEYPR.COMMitch Jeserich, host of the popular Letters and Politics radio show on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, recently interviewed my incredibly talented friend and client  Kris Schreier Lyseggen.

Kristin, a distinguished international journalist and photographer, was there as part of our publicity campaign to discuss her latest book, The Women of San Quentin: Soul Murder of Transgender Women in Male Prisons. Kris has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the struggles transgender women endure, and the abuse and trauma they suffer in male prisons.

Ashley Diamond, one of the women Kris features in the book, joined her for the radio interview. Ashley is a transgender woman and nonviolent offender who had sued Georgia corrections officials for failing to provide her medical treatment and safekeeping.

Here’s an excerpt from KPFA’s post: “True stories about nine transgender women in the male US prison system who grew up never feeling safe, who were surrounded by others telling them that they should be ‘ normal ’ , and that their deepest sense of who they were was an error.

“As the number of transgender people ‘coming out’ reaches levels we never before dreamed of, author Kristin Lyseggen hopes this book will shed some light on the needs of people locked up twice in their lives.

“She started writing this book as soon as she moved to California from Norway, just before we learned that Private Bradley Manning was Chelsea Manning and before we knew about the popular Netflix TV show Orange Is the New Black. In real life, most women with gender identity issues, when jailed, are put in male prisons with notorious predators. The only options for many of them in order to survive is to live isolated in cages, or become sex slaves for other inmates.

For Kristin Lyseggen to understand the reality of their lives, she had to gain trust from people she had never met and never expected to meet. This book project led Kristin from the ‘ war zone ’ in East Oakland, California, to the run-down, chaotic intensity of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco; she traveled from a boundary breaking Transgender Health Conference in Bangkok to a clandestine LGBTQI advocacy conference in Nairobi, Kenya; from an event to raise funds for incarcerated transgender women in Oakland where one speaker was ( former FBI ’ s ‘ Most Wanted ’ ) Angela Davis, a professor at University of California; to conservative Rome, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama; to a maximum security prison in the Central Valley of California. Without exception the stories she encountered during this project were diverse and different from one another in ways that were surprising and often disturbing.

“Kristin was introduced to an almost inconceivable struggle heaped upon the usual stories of people incarcerated in US prisons. In spite of the conditions of their lives, they taught her that what landed them behind bars, and the contradictory feelings one has about their crimes, there could be the possibility of redemption.”

I was honored to conduct a national publicity campaign for Kris, and the Letters and Politics radio show was one of many PR interviews we arranged for her. You can listen to it here.

Please contact me for a free consultation to discuss how our public relations services can help with your publicity needs.

 

 

PR Gaining Well-Deserved Respect in 2016

In an age where traditional advertising has become skippable, blockable, and opt-out-able, businesses are increasingly recognizing the power and importance of publicity and public relations.

As a publicist specializing in media relations for more than 20 years, I had to smile at a recent article in Advertising Age, How Public Relations Is Earning Its Place in 2016.

Traditionally, advertising agencies don’t really understand PR and now they’re scrambling to get up to speed. They’re learning the difference between “buying eyeballs” and “earning them.” When you’re earning eyeballs, your job is to create content that’s newsworthy.

Here are some excerpts from the piece:

“Edelman, the largest independent PR agency, is ‘getting not just a seat at the table, we’re getting half the table,’ said Jackie Cooper, global chair-creative strategy at the firm.

“Where PR used to be tacked onto a campaign after the creative was finished, Edelman is now working with brands and advertising agencies from the very beginning. The agency has been working hand-in-hand with Adobe’s creative teams, for example, from the start of the creative process to build digital activations for the software company’s creative products. Edelman won the Gold PR Lion in 2015 at Cannes for its work on the Adobe Photoshop ‘Murder Mystery’ campaign.

“Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i, who worked in communications earlier in her career, said PR agencies are waking up to the power they can yield beyond media relations. “Marketers really look at how they get the biggest bang for their buck and making their work talkable certainly extends the reach,” she said.

“While 360i is a digital marketing agency at its core, Ms. Hofstetter added that she frequently puts on her PR hat to come up with ideas for clients that consumers will care about and want to share.”

But Harris Diamond, McCann Worldgroup chairman-CEO, cautions “Even though many agencies are adding new capabilities to try to create one-stop shops, the smart firms will primarily focus on what they know best.”

So on that note, contact me for a free consultation to discuss how our public relations services can help with your publicity needs. 🙂