!-- Global site tag (gtag.js) - Google Analytics --> Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2020 14 I t’s hard not to laugh some days at the onslaught of novel CBD products. Folks are advertising the cannabinoid in a head-scratching array of products, from sports bras to suppositories. One CBD manufacturer is even selling a $40 piece of black obsidian (also known as glass) to help its cus- tomers apply CBD to their skin. The jokes tell themselves. It’s tempting to see the never-ending parade of unusual CBD products as evidence of a naïve industry throwing out crazy ideas because CBD makers don’t know what customers want. But as we examine marketing strategies in this issue, I want to share excellent news with new CBD entrepreneurs. And that is, even the biggest and oldest brands make dumb mistakes and recover. So this young industry has a deep well of marketing mistakes from which to learn—no business degree required. Cologne Collapse My favorite mistake is one I learned from Cindy Blum, vice president of marketing for Elevate CBD. She told the story at the most recent MJBizCon about a great marketing fail from Harley-Davidson, a brand so venerable that the company name is practically a synonym for “motorcycle.” Harley-Davidson enjoys near-myth- ological user loyalty. So it surely made sense (to someone) that Harley- Davidson fans would want to douse themselves in … a branded line of colognes, aftershaves and perfumes. The 1994 rollout of Harley-David- son eau de toilette became an imme- diate punchline. Finally, a product for everyone who wants that biker smell in a bottle! Sepia-toned commercials showed a model in a skimpy black dress unable to keep her hands off a rugged biker wearing the scent of Harley-Davidson. Critics howled. “Who can resist the smell of sweat and motor oil?!?” was the general reaction. The scents didn’t stay on the market long. Harley-Davidson colognes and perfumes smelled nothing like sweat and motor oil. But they also didn’t connect with consumers who associated the brand with rugged masculinity and the open road. Even worse, Harley-Davidson damaged the motorcycle brand along the way. The products made devoted bikers question Harley-Davidson’s authenticity. It was a quick lesson in brand dilution. Instead of leveraging Harley- Davidson’s impressive branding power to attract a new line of business, the perfumes and colognes undercut the brand’s core identity. Failure Isn’t Forever The Harley-Davidson story is a great one for CBD entrepreneurs wanting to avoid expensive mistakes. New products need to be con- sistent with a brand’s values and meet customer perceptions and expectations. If your CBD product is associated with health and wellness, does it make sense to give it a fun makeover? Or add it to a product that customers don’t associate with health? Another lesson from Harley- Davidson perfume is this: Failure isn’t forever. Harley-Davidson quickly abandoned the perfume line and moved on. I had no idea until hearing Blum’s talk that Harley-Davidson ever made it. CBDmanufacturers can do the same. Maybe you tried to launch a CBD product that resonated in the wrong way, damaging a brand you worked hard to establish. You can recover! Consumer memory can be short, and brands can recover from even the most head-slapping mistakes. Simply stay true to your brand and resist the temptation to get attention with a product that doesn’t meet your brand identity. And as you add to your portfolio of CBD products, don’t be afraid to pull the plug on a dud. Learn from Harley-Davidson, and hopefully your marketing mis- takes will fade faster than a spritz of bad aftershave. Kristen Nichols is editor of Hemp Industry Daily. She can be reached at  kristen.nichols@ hempindustrydaily.com . The Sweet Smell of Failure CBD makers can learn from others’ mistakes in marketing new products HempNotebook | Kristen Nichols