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

Marijuana Business Magazine March 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | March 2020 62 C arlos Santana, Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Whoopi Goldberg. These are just a handful of celebrities who have lent their names to—and, in some cases, invested in—cannabis companies looking to promote their brands. But working with a celebrity pays off for a brand only if the deal is properly executed, said Paul Jankowski, founder and CEO of brand strategy and consumer engagement agency New Heartland Group in Brentwood, Tennessee. “Many times, they’re done without the proper strategy put in place before the partnerships are executed,” Jankowski said. Elements to a successful partnership include: • Identifying the brand’s objective. • Finding a celebrity who shares your values. • Activating the partnership properly. After contracts are signed and the deal is done, there are al- ways additional “asks” of the new celebrity partner, Jankowski said. They can range from additional tickets to meet-and-greet events to a video shoutout for a retailer or even a request for a band playing a consumer event—all things that are not in the contract. “It’s important to have someone involved in the deal from the beginning who can mitigate those asks and navigate rocky waters,” Jankowski said, noting that it’s important to work directly with the celebrity and his or her management team rather than a booking agency or speakers bureau that charges hefty fees. A celebrity-endorsed brand will resonate with consumers if they identify with the talent, their lifestyle or their music, Jankowski said. “The talent becomes an integral part of bringing the brand to them,” he said. “It just comes down to what kind of relationship the influencer or talent has with their fans.” But sometimes celebrity endorsements can miss the mark or fail entirely—take Tiger Woods and Oldsmobile or Ariana Grande and Starbucks, for example. The A-List Nailing down strategy is key for cannabis companies to successfully partner with celebrities By Margaret Jackson & Marketing Art of The Branding Carlos Santana Photo by Ruben Martin