Tag Archive for: personalities

So you want to make your CEO the star? It’s a growing trend and there’s still room for your celebrity cannabis CEO.

The cannabis industry is ready for you, and you can take some tips from outside the cannabis industry to capitalize on the opportunity. From investment opportunities to increased brand value, to policy influence locally and nationally, and even profit increases, there are a lot of reasons why a CEO can be an important brand asset.

We’re seeing celebrity CEOs in the cannabis space, you know who they are. While it might look like those cannabis CEOs became industry household names simply because they’re so brilliant or successful, that’s simply not the case – there are many brilliant AND successful CEOs in cannabis whose names you wouldn’t be able to name. If you look around, you’ll see that cannabis CEOs and even more famous CEOs whose names you know, with very few exceptions, do these things in some combination. Because I’ve had the opportunity to work directly with some fantastic CEOs as well as politicians, I well know the big and little steps creating a celebrity takes.

So how do these CEOs become celebrities? The answer: extreme commitment to repeated exposure in multiple channels. Rome wasn’t built overnight and neither is celebrity CEO.

Close the C-Suite/Consumer Disconnect with Social Media

Edelman’s 2019 Trust Barometer said the majority of people (63%) believe CEOs should communicate with the public via social media and even more (79%) say knowing a CEO’s personal values is important to building trust, and that they trust spontaneous speakers more than well-delivered speeches. Contrast these statistics with the fact that 61% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social media presence at all. No wonder there’s a disconnect from the C-suite to the Consumer.

These are interesting statistics for cannabis CEOs, who run businesses in an industry not yet federally recognized.

Increased Industry & Brand Trust

Yet this is EXACTLY the reason cannabis CEOs should be using social media. Even more than most industries, we must create trust with the general public. Summer 2019’s vape crisis did not help the cannabis industry’s reputation with the general public.  Social media offers cannabis brands the opportunity to speak directly and consistently. Because social media offers the opportunity to be spontaneous, here’s the ONE THING you can’t get past with social media: if you’re CEO is tweeting or engaging on LinkedIn, she absolutely must be directly involved and engaged on the platform herself, at least sometimes. And she should be using social media as a listening platform too, it will help her feel more connected and more engaged with her clients.

Balance Strategy with Authenticity

Whatever objectives you have to this strategy, there are reasonably straightforward systems that can be employed to overcome them.  Regardless of your strength as CEO, there’s a way for social media to work. Ghostwriters have a place in social media and many executives and celebrities rely on them, but the truest opportunities come when it isn’t exclusively outsourced, where there is a natural balance that remains authentic AND strategic.  Harborside’s Steve DeAngelo does this very well, he uses Instagram to showcase his boundless energy and willingness to engage with the cannabis community. By intelligently committing to a platform he’s comfortable with, he’s able to work it into his daily life. DeAngelo has also been very consistent with his key messages, he comes back to the same topics time and again and he uses social media to reinforce those messages while also adding a sense of fun and celebration to serious industry discussions.

Pick A Format That Celebrates You as CEO

With social media, there are many, many formats and opportunities. For example, you can balance authenticity with strategy with serialized content. Serialized content allows for consistency and systems to be in place while maintaining flexibility enough to jump into action when there’s a particularly timely opportunity. From podcasts to video forums to tweetchats, serialized content offers a direct opportunity for CEOs to showcase their personalities and warmth, which according to Chris Malone of The Human Brand, is an essential factor in increasing trust, “There are two basic dimensions that we judge people on: competence, which is all about how your abilities are perceived, and warmth.” If your CEO is particularly witty or opinionated, live formats offer CEOs an outstanding opportunity for enhanced brand recognition.

Go where your consumers are. What cannabis CEO is going to make waves by being the first to create engaging content on TikToc or even one of the e-sports platform? There are all kinds of digital places where your consumers roam, be there, where you can actively enjoy the people and space.

 

Open the Kimono To The Press

Simply BEING a CEO isn’t enough to develop ongoing coverage. In order to become a celebrity CEO, there’s groundwork to be done.

Prepare Yourself

Show up for the interview on time and prepared. Be clear on what you’ll say, identify a couple of key quotable statements you don’t want to miss and yes, review the journalist’s past articles to get a sense of their voice and depth. When the article is published, be sure to send a thank-you note and make sure your social media outlets share them.  Get yourself ready with a variety of professional headshots and lifestyle shots that showcase how your CEO embodies the brand.

As CEO, you should be ready to share your availability with marketing and PR. When traveling for business, strategize with your team about how you can capitalize on the time your in that city. If you’re traveling for pleasure, stay a day or two extra and give your team ample time to set appointments for you.

Invest in media training, get really good at driving the conversation where you want it to go. Learn how to handle the toughest of questions with elegance and grace. Learn what circumstances produce the best outcomes for you and make yourself available for those oppotunities. For example, some people just don’t do well in person, so pursue opportunities that are over the phone, get comfortable with industry journalists so you can develop some mutual trust. Develop in-person opportunities over time and in settings where you feel comfortable.

Don’t Buy Into Your Own Press

“Fame is other people’s perception of who you are,” said Oprah Winfrey. “In order to remain true to who you are, you have to be aware of it, but you can’t buy into it.”

Stay grounded. For CEOs starting out on the celebrity endeavor, take a step back and treat all journalist opportunities like they are the most important you’ll ever do. Remember that journalists are a tight-knit crowd and if your cannabis CEO isn’t warm or inviting and interesting, word gets out. More importantly, you never know where that journalist will land. Be kind. Be respectful. Be humble.

Lean In on Warmth & Wit

CEOs don’t have to be flashy, they DO have to be open and wise. Linton wasn’t a particularly dynamic speaker, but he always had something interesting to say and he said it with the confidence and authority that left everyone hanging on his every word. He knew his strength and he exercised it.

An excellent example of this is Bruce Linton who was famously ousted from Canopy in July 2019. Linton had been making the speaking circuit and made himself available for comment to press, for the better part of a year, and it seemed no publication or conference was too big or too small for him to share his perspective.

Linton’s availability worked in his favor as his ousting was big news, but Linton wisely got out ahead of the story and used his visibility to tell his side of the story. It’s not just that he got out ahead of it either – he handled the entire situation with class, he was forward-looking and resisted any temptation to slam his former employer.  All this worked out well for his next employer Vireo Health who got a healthy 26% stock bump after naming him CEO.

What’s interesting is a good look at this Google Trends report, which starts in 2016. You can see that Linton was already taking his position as CEO seriously even then, the groundwork was being laid. Even before his firing, you can see that the hard work is starting to pay off. The spike is obviously the news that he was let go, but most interesting is that Linton never took his foot off the gas and searches for him remained high even after his firing:

The Number One Tip for A Celebrity CEO

Planning. Don’t launch a celebrity campaign without using all your resources in marketing and PR. It’s a great idea to have a mix of trusted resources and new people who can see the forest through the trees. By now, CEO, you know who you are, lead your team of advisors by being transparent with them about your strengths and weaknesses. There’s no one who wants you to flop and starting out on the right foot will enable you all to succeed in this very exciting opportunity.

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Are you done yet?
If you’re like most of the media and most of America you’ve had it with the Kardashians.
We’ve moved past not caring and into outrage.

But how did this happen?
We can look to the Kardashian social media strategy for part of the story.

How did the Kardashians go from being little known D-listers with Instagram and Twitter accounts to being the most hated family in America?
I mean, it started off innocent enough, a group of spoiled beautiful girls with a notorious last name, living the day-to-day drama of having too much of everything.
It’s the kind of thing America watches, sometimes to feel morally superior, sometimes with an aspirational sigh.
And the girls were social media mavens.
They WORKED Instagram.
They LIVED on Twitter.
Snippets of their daily lives seeped into our consciousness one tweet and pic at a time.

But the Kardashians crossed several lines, specifically Kim Kardashian, who has turned pop-culture fascination into outrage and disgust.
Here’s where they went wrong:

The Line Between Transparency and Pathology

In the beginning, Instagram and Twitter followers loved how the girls lived their lives shamelessly out loud.
Their family feuds and heartaches on display for all to see.
We loved that curvy Kim and Khloe owned their curves proudly.
We even endured the occasional well-placed stunt by them and their family members.
The personalities turned into personas.
We like personas it allows us to put people in neat little categorical boxes.
It gives us context.
Personas aren’t terrible. Actually, from a branding perspective, they can be quite fantastic.
So even though their celebrity sky rocketed, their personas kept them “real.”
We DID like to see them at some exotic beach, we did like seeing their pretty selfies…until the selfies became over-orchestrated photo shoots.
But the Kardashians forgot something: they were interesting when we could relate to them, or at least identify on an aspiration level.

And this is where they REALLY went wrong:

the Kardashians never missed a chance to put distance between themselves and their followers, in an effort to show how special they really are.
We went from relating to them as they journeyed through life to feeling more and more like they were nothing like us.
Most of America would never marry a celebrity for the media bump, and it isn’t even something most of America aspires to.
Most of America doesn’t make the extreme personal journey of their family members about them.
And now there’s today’s pregnant photo of Kim.

We’re now at the point where the transparency has turned into pathological and pathetic.
With this photo, Kim has managed to make the beautiful, sad.

From Mysterious to Saturated

A well placed nude photo or leaked video (eh, em, Kim) can actually be GOOD for a celeb.
Really good.
But when you start to see nude (or nearly nude) photos of a celeb several times a year, it’s no longer exciting, titillating or even interesting.
Three times this year already we’ve seen Kim nude.
Here: Feb 2015
Here: May 2015
and…
Here: July 2015

I mean, is there no end in sight?
Now, not only are you pathetic, you’re worse: you’re common.
You’re the OPPOSITE of special.
You’re now just another naked person – just like the one we see in the mirror everyday.
Nothing special about pathetic and naked. Nothing aspirational about that. At. All.
Even nude models and porn stars know better than to show up naked on Instagram everyday.
Why?
Because mystery is a good thing.
Leave a little bit on the table.
Let ’em wonder just.a.little.bit.

It’s not just the whole naked thing.
We started to get the sense that the Kardashians never said no to anything that might make them money.
From fashion brands to tell-all interviews.
From appearances to marriages.
If you had dollars, the Kardashians would be there to hoover it up.

Standing For…..Shallow and Surface?

And through all this, America begins to wonder, “What DO the Kardashians stand for?”
I mean, besides makeup, hair extensions and designer brands and boyfriends?
We’re left wondering if they are really as shallow as all that.
Do they lend their voices to causes that might make them more human?
Do they use their celebrity to advance a passion that might make the world a better place?
What little they apparently DO do for charity seems opportunistic and self aggrandizing.
Even Donald Trump, who Kim had to one-up with her naked photo today, has a cause.
You might not agree with Donald Trump, but at least he stands for something besides money and wrap-arounds.
We can’t defend the Kardashians anymore because we can’t even justify their celebrity anymore.

And so begins the downward slide of some of the earliest and most prolific social media celebrities.
We should thank the Kardashians for their lessons in personal branding, except they’d probably charge us for it.

 

 

Because there is nothing more fearless than creating something and pushing it out to the world; everything you produce says something about you, this is an article about creating an authentic personal brand for creatives that resonates.
This is an article about showing the you in a deeper way, a way that allows you to be you.

This is not an article about how to be number one of Twitter.
This is not an article about how to get a job using social media.
This is not an article about how to trump up your yet-to-be accomplished triumphs.

If you are a creative: a musician, an artist, an author, this is a digital personal branding article just for you.

You’re in a unique position as a creative.
You speak to the world through your art.
It’s a fearless way to live, and yet, art serves as a protective layer, doesn’t it?
You let your art speak for you so you don’t have to do the speaking.

Yet, you’re probably all too aware of the value of digital personal branding.
It means the difference between a hobby and a career.
And, importantly, it’s accessible to you in a way other forms of branding are not.

I’ve worked with creatives on a regular basis for many years on personal branding in digital formats.
I wanted to share with you some of the best advice I give creatives starting their digital branding journey.
This is a road map, one you can return to time and again.

 

Take Us On Your Journey

The creative process is fascinating and like a thumb print, unique to the creator.
Use your digital presence to let the world into your process.
Let us see you as you go through the creation journey.
Let us see the process, both artistic and emotional.
As importantly, let us into your personal journey, bit by bit.
Let us see how you became who you are, work it into your story about a piece.
Was there a pivotal moment when you just KNEW this is what you were supposed to be doing?
Tell us that story.
How did you decide to use a particular medium or process?
Tell us that story.
What are were you feeling when you created a particular piece?
Tell us that story.

Be Relatable

To many people creatives are special.
Indeed, you are.
But being “special” means most people don’t think they can relate to you.
And one of the most powerful ways to enhance the value of your work is to be a human.
Yes, we want to see your triumphs, but we also want to see your struggles. And I don’t just mean your “humble brags.”
Find something that people can relate to.
Maybe it’s a world view.
Maybe it’s a mission you’re on.
Maybe it’s a passion you have.
The more relateable you are, the more easy it is to attribute meaning to your work.
Where there’s meaning, there’s value.

Be You x10

Subtlety and nuance is valued in creating lasting pieces of work.
We love to have layers of work, something we can discover throughout time about work.
But in the digital world, subtlety doesn’t translate very well.
You want to pick three things that you’ll reinforce all the time when you share yourself.
Make these things elements of  you which are most comfortable with, elements that make you, you.
And emphasize them.
Your “you” can be humble and unassuming, just emphasize that; celebrate it.
Your “you” can be slightly nutty and narcotic, just emphasize that; celebrate it.
For every authentic, real, part of you, there are people who can relate to that part of you.
But you’ll have to emphasize that part of you, over and over again.
You’ll need to actively underscore it in your digital expressions.

It takes discipline and thought to really create your digital personal brand. It takes practice too. Allow yourself the time to unfold, like a butterfly into your most comfortable you.
Good luck on your journey!
Please, drop me a note here or on Twitter so I can follow along!

It’s true – YouTube celebs are a “thing” and if you think you belong in front of a YouTube audience, you could be right!

But just like theater, music and pop culture celebs, not all who do it rise to the top. It’s as tough in YouTube as it is in Hollywood. So how are you going to be get to that “celeb” level? The casual nature of YouTube celebs belies the strategy, passion, commitment and yes, a little luck it takes to standout on one of the biggest internet platforms today.

Here are seven hints I give to personalities who want to use YouTube as their launching point.

cannabis conferences and cannabis magazines

Forget the Money, For Now
Figure out what you REALLY want to do here. What you’re REALLY passionate about. If you’re saying “I’m passionate about power cords, but there’s no money in that,” you’re totally going about it the wrong way. There’s a niche for every passion. Granted the audience isn’t necessarily huge for power cord aficionados, but if that’s your true passion, why not be the king or queen of power cords? Who knows where it might take you? You might redefine an entire industry with your opinionated perspectives or hilarious rants.  Focus on being you and honing your voice and really diving into the topics you want to dive into. But please, please, please, have some fun with it.

Be You, Own You
What are your little quirks that make your friends laugh? What do people always tell you they remember about their first meeting with you? That’s you. That’s you’re “on,” most memorable,  you. That’s who you want to be in front of the camera. Those are your most natural brand signatures.

 

Be You, Extreme
Let’s face it, you aren’t always “on,” and that’s OK. But when you’re in front of the camera, turn that persona to 10. The most powerful personal brands take their personalities to the most extreme. Look at the Kardashians, they don’t even leave the house, not once, without looking fabulous. That’s their personal brand and everything they do publicly supports that personal brand. I’m sure there are plenty of days on the couch without make up on, hair done up, but never while the camera may be on them. So be you, but be extreme and consistent in that signature, at least while the cameras are on you.

You Don’t Need Fancy
When you’re starting out, don’t tell yourself you can’t do anything until you have a Hollywood produced introduction. Don’t tell yourself your videos need to be edited to look like a Fast & Furious flick. Just get out there and start recording. Perfectionism is the roadblock to progress. Just DO IT. You’re biggest goal at this point is to let your personality shine, let You Be You, distractions from your personality are just that, a distraction.

An Editorial Calendar: Your Best Friend
Do yourself a favor, do some planning. Spending just a couple of hours a week planning your content week and month will give you enough structure to get out there and do it. If you don’t give yourself that structure, most people won’t record because they don’t know what they want to say. There is some content that you can record months in advance and when you have that content and the time to do it, do it.  So plan ahead, give yourself a road map, but…

Leave Room for Inspiration
Because you’re you, because you’re fun, there are going to be times where you just HAVE to plop yourself in front of the camera and share your thoughts. Those moments of brilliant inspiration are awesome – go with it, let it run. And hit “publish” as soon as you can. These impromptu moments are often some of the most fun.

Take Some Acting and Improv Classes
Being in front of a camera isn’t necessarily a natural thing even for the biggest personalities. Taking improv and acting classes will allow you to extend yourself more naturally in front of the camera.