Why You Need a Mentor

Why You Need a Mentor

After art school, I was fortunate to land an internship at a pretty prestigious ad agency as a Junior Art Director. Only my major was in animation, not design. I had little idea how to do the simplest tasks in my job. I could sketch and do storyboards. I barely knew Photoshop, didn’t know what a page layout was, or how to design a simple logo. I was miserable, depressed, and hated graphic design. I felt I didn’t have anyone to turn to.

After a couple of months, I was sure I was going to be let go. However, things turned around for me when an Associate Creative Director named Jerod was hired. He saw me struggling at my job and decided to take me under his wing. One day, after being yelled at by my production manager for being late with some ads, Jerod stayed late after hours one night, and he helped me get them done by sitting next to me and showing me the ins and outs of Photoshop.

After that, I followed him around like a puppy dog, asking him how he kerned that headline, how he added grunge to that photo. I aimed to absorb as much information from him as I could, and I learned quickly. Eventually, the lights turned on, and I discovered that not only was this a fun job, but also that I was good at it. Jerod just gave me that spark of confidence I needed.

Here’s what a professional mentor can provide for you:

Experience – There’s always someone who does it better, faster, longer. Your mentor might have many tricks up her sleeve when it comes to being efficient at their job. Buy that person a lunch or a coffee every once in awhile to discuss!

Career insight – Where are you going in your career? Is that office a dead-end with no professional mobility? Your mentor will have wisdom when it comes to climbing the ladder there.

Network – Your mentor has been around the block. They’ve shaken hands with, introduced themselves to, mingled with other potential job opportunities. Get in good with your mentor, and watch the doors open.

Even if you’re in the middle of your career as a polished professional, there is always, always someone who can teach you a few new tricks. If you’re at the twilight of your career and about to retire, please find that young up-and-comer to show them the ropes! 

And Jerod, if you’re reading this, I can’t thank you enough. 

Mission Critical?

Mission Critical?

Every company has a mission statement, sometimes its one of those items often thought of as checking off the box. Yeah, we have a mission… and often, that is where the energy of the mission stops.  It’s not something that is thought of as embedded in every aspect of the company.

The Cannabis Creative Announces the Completion of Its First Fully Global Consulting 'Pod'

Denver, CO, and Toronto, CA (PRWEB) May 30, 2017

The Cannabis Creative - the industry’s first fully global branding firm-announces the completion of its first ‘consulting pod,’ as well as its presence in the Canadian cannabis markets with the addition of veteran brand strategist, Rachel Colic.

Colic joins The Cannabis Creative from a highly successful brand strategy career in numerous markets, and in recent years, within the cannabis industry. Her most recent work, developing a brand for one of the top Canadian Licensed Producers (LP) in cannabis, drove incredible results for her client. “Rachel’s way of thinking - which is helping brands find their ‘why-’ is truly innovative and will help drive the results for our clients that they deserve”, said Brett Schklar, CEO of The Cannabis Creative. “Rachel develops brand strategies that are thoughtful and inventive, creating a fully integrated brand experience for our clients, driving exponential growth for their businesses.”

Rachel Colic’s appointment as Brand Strategist rounds out The Cannabis Creative’s first global consulting “pod”, which consists of a four-team group consisting of a brand strategist, creative director, growth hacker and project manager.

“I have been very fortunate to work on many brand strategies, and most recently working within the cannabis industry. I’m elated to put my strategic skill-set to use with Brett Schklar and the team at The Cannabis Creative with our first global consulting ‘pod’”, said Colic.

About The Cannabis Creative
Founded by brand strategy veterans, The Cannabis Creative is the market’s first truly strategic and truly global-focused brand consulting firm. By providing educational workshops (online & offline), developing brand strategies that utilize a highly executable “brand playbook,” and building out the marketing programs that are focused on driving growth paths, The Cannabis Creative boldly serves its clients with game-changing strategies and growth-focused execution.

Learn more by visiting: http://www.thecannabiscreative.com.

Cannabinoids AND Neurogenesis

By Anton

Alzheimer’s disease is a cruel, chronic neurodegenerative disease that cruelly robs many elderly people of precious memories in their golden years.

40 percent of former NFL players suffer from brain injuries/chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease due to repeated concussions and brain trauma, resulting in memory loss, dementia, deafness, vertigo, and increased suicide rates. 

If only there was some sort of healthy, safe medicine that can possibly slow down brain degeneration, or protect and even grow back brain cells (neurogenesis). Oh, wait, there is. Cannabinoids!

Recently, scientific studies at the US National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) have proven that cannabinoids are neuroprotective, particularly against brain cells damaged by alcohol, by up to 60%.

According to NORML.org, “Emerging evidence also indicates that cannabinoids may play a role in slowing the progression of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's Disease). Recent animal studies have shown cannabinoids to delay disease progression and inhibit neurodegeneration in mouse models of ALS, Parkinson's, and MS.”

In a German study on mice, “low, regular doses of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, may help to keep our brains from slowing down as we get older.”

 

By now, you might be thinking of the perpetually stoned guy whose brain cells have been wrecked by heavy usage of marijuana.

According to the American Journal of Addictions, long-term usage of marijuana had only a minimal effect on cognition and memory. Harvard Medical School performed MRI’s on the brains of 22 long-term cannabis users showed “no significant differences” between people who heavily smoked marijuana, and those who have never smoked.

So cannabinoids have been shown to have a minimal negative effect on memory, and can delay neurodegenerative diseases, but can it grow back brain cells?

Canadian researcher Xia Zhang used a synthetic version of THC found in medical marijuana to promote neurogenesis in lab animals. Zhang also discovered that symptoms of anxiety and depression were reduced!

So even though neurogenesis studies are still in the early stages, early studies that cannabinoids can improve memory or symptoms of mood disorders are promising.

Let’s get on it, America!

3 Key Branding Ingredients for A Global Cannabis Brand

3 Key Branding Ingredients for A Global Cannabis Brand

By Jordan Bentle

The cannabis industry is a turbulent but burgeoning industry not only in the US, but globally as well. This is a natural occurrence in an industry that is in its neophyte stage and needing to quickly mature.  Countries around the globe are looking at the outdated drug laws on the books related to cannabis, and deciding to come to the table in a measured and fact-driven way instead of through fear and propaganda.

With countries like Uruguay who will begin selling cannabis in pharmacies in July, Australia legalizing medical marijuana last year, and Israel decriminalizing recreational use of cannabis and leading the way in medical marijuana research and study, it’s clear that attitudes are changing and people no longer want to shove their heads in the sand on a plant that clearly has medical applications.

The wildly unsuccessful US “War on Drugs” helped steer global drug policy for decades. That being said, the future is positive for cannabis regardless of what the current administration does in relation to legalized cannabis markets in the U.S. In a welcome surprising move Friday, The administration proposed to massively cut funding to the drug czar’s office. An amendment has also been added to the Federal budget proposal by Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) that would give Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department no money for enforcing Federal laws on medical marijuana states, at least through September.

Regardless of how the fight plays out over the next four years in the US, cannabis is going to be mainstream, legal, and global. Period. It’s just a matter of time. Companies that choose to look at the bigger picture and take a larger growth mindset will make the strategic branding and marketing choices needed to become the global players in the cannabis industry. You see it with clear companies that stand out and are differentiating themselves in the in concentrates, edibles, pre-rolls, and of flower.  

While there are clear global implications at play for the cannabis industry, thinking about what it would mean for your brand being global is worth entertaining. Global companies go through very strategic planning and develop brand mapping guidelines. These determine the how and why they run advertising and marketing campaigns. This strategy helps determine how successful they will be and how difficult they will have to fight for growth.

Whenever we help brands create a strategy that will help them on a global stage, we go through extensive brand mapping and strategic planning. We put together some of the top keys to a high-level branding strategy that will prepare your cannabis company for global growth:

Step 1: Get 20/20 Vision. Step 2: Profit

This doesn’t mean getting lasik or wearing glasses (although my more frequent squinting says otherwise), it means how developed is your vision of your company? How big are you thinking? What do you want to be the best at? If you are able to easily attain your vision, or you’ve already reached it, then it wasn’t big enough.

What’s The Point?

The mission of a company is it’s entire purpose, it’s entire reason for existing. All companies have value offers that will make their buyers’ lives better in some way. If you don’t have a good grasp on the why you do what you do and how it improves the lives of your customers, then it makes it harder for your company to tell its story, attract talent, and build a fulfilling, but ultimately successful business.

Simon Sinek, author of the book Start With Why, outlines in this Tedx talk on why companies like Apple are innovative year after year. He discovered that all of the amazing and inspiring figures and organizations throughout the world have one thing in common: they all act from the inside out. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. If you don’t know why you do what you do, or why people should buy from you, then how can you expect to be loyal or engage with your brand?

Make Your Voice Heard

How do you want your company to be perceived? The language that is broadcast on social media, email campaigns, collateral, and advertising all need to fit the values and tone of your company. Putting out messaging that doesn’t appeal to your audience, or doesn’t fit your company will come across right away, which doesn’t instill trust. People ultimately do business and buy things from people they trust. Find your voice, and make it heard.

As the cannabis industry continues to mature and grow, the industry as a whole needs to embrace the mindset of making a global footprint if they really want to thrive. Companies that thrive on a global stage don’t make their branding strategy an afterthought, but an integral part of every single marketing strategy they implement.

Jordan Bentle is a Growth Hacker for The Cannabis Creative, a brand strategy consulting firm that helps cannabis companies (primarily medical and tech) develop global growth paths through strategic brand mapping and planning in order to drive effortless growth. Follow The Cannabis Creative on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and connect with Jordan on LinkedIn

Develop your own brand strategy playbook. Attend The Cannabis Creative Branding Strategy Workshop.

 

Big Pharma Conspired To Destroy Cancer Medicine For 4,000% Profit Increase

Big Pharma Conspired To Destroy Cancer Medicine For 4,000% Profit Increase

By Anton Reyes

Supply and demand, right?

It was recently discovered that Aspen Pharmacare, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, threatened to destroy life-saving, cancer-treating medicine, in order to jack up their prices 4,000%.

This medical monopoly is more interested in their own bottom line, rather than treating and saving lives. It’s disgusting. That takes a special breed of asshole, or in this case, assholes. Cancer touches the lives of everyone on Earth. While human beings are painfully battling or dying from this awful disease, the unsympathetic head guys in Big Pharma are fantasizing about their next vacation, or that new car.

In a published email by The Times:

“We’ve signed new reimbursement and price agreement successfully: price increases are basically on line with European target prices (Leukeran, a bit higher!)… Let’s celebrate!”

Celebrate? Celebrate what, that the poor now may not have access to life-saving drugs to treat their loved ones and may die because of it? The lack of empathy is astounding.

So what’s being done? Not much. A Department of Health spokesperson said they are “taking action against excessive price rises on unbranded generic medicines” by proposing more laws.

Sadly, this is nothing new in America. According to authors Aaron S. Kesselheim, Jerry Avorn, and Armeet Sarpatwari, the state and Food and Drug administration grants a monopoly to Big Pharma, which allows them to charge whatever they want.

The best way I know how to battle Big Pharma is to support organizations like NORML.org, other similar pro-Cannabis groups and reaching out to your local government, to show Big Pharma that there’s a better, more natural medicinal option…an option that is more readily available, treats a myriad of diseases and illnesses, isn’t as life-threatening as painkillers or opioids, and is affordable. Although Cannabis has been used as a medicine since almost 7,000 BC, recent scientific discoveries for this kind of therapy has now eclipsed what many researchers could have imagined 20, 30 years ago. We are on the verge of something amazing!

And until we can drop the stigma of this humble plant as a scary, evil Schedule 1/recreational drug, Big Pharma will continue to walk all over us.

The High Holiday: How 4/20 Has Changed Over The Years

The High Holiday: How 4/20 Has Changed Over The Years

 

By Jordan Bentle

Even though the Trump Administration is creating a lot of confusion as to what their next moves will be in terms of Federal Marijuana enforcement, the cannabis industry steams ahead. 420, or "The High Holiday" has changed over the years as cannabis has come into the mainstream and out of the shadows. Cannabis enthusiasts across the world are celebrating. Here in Denver, the 420 Rally is forecasted to be the biggest ever with event organizers expecting upwards of 50,000 people in Civic Center Park where artist 2 Chainz will be performing later in the day. Even Uber has partnered with the event organizers to offer discounts on rides so people don’t smoke and drive.

The holiday has become the official holiday for cannasseurs, activists, and enthusiasts alike. Many people assume this day originated around the police code for when smoking the devils lettuce was in progress, but they would be assuming wrong.

4/20 started in 1971 in San Rafael, California (of course). A group of friends that dubbed themselves the “Waldos” in San Rafael High School met at a local spot at their school, 4:20-Louis, where they would smoke and embark on a search for an abandoned grow, complete with a treasure map that was drawn by the grower. After several failed trips to find the grow, they shortened the term to just “420” and would use it anytime they would smoke. Allowing them to be discreet, and none would be the wiser.

The holiday evolved over the years and permeated into the Grateful Dead culture which also had some connections to San Rafael as well, and helped drive the popularity of the term even further.

The term is now ubiquitous with smoking and is used on everything from Craigslist Ads advertising “420-Friendly” roommates and living situations, to Tinder and other dating apps to hopefully swipe right on other cannabis users.

Here in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation had to replace the mile 420 sign east of Denver on I-70 with mile marker 419.99 to discourage people to stop stealing the sign.

As cannabis has continued to grow (pun intended) in mainstream popularity, we are starting to see the signs of normalization. The last two years Totino’s has run localized billboards in Denver to “Stock Up B420,” and guerilla street team marketing by handing out small samples of Totino’s pizza rolls outside music venues and cannabis events. They upped the ante this year with "Better When Baked" campaign with hilarious video ads. Totino’s is owned by General Mills and someone clearly understands getting ahead of the game as cannabis goes mainstream is going to help drive sales. I don’t even eat Totino’s Pizza Rolls, but these ads make me want some.

The cannabis industry still has some ways to go before huge public campaigns are implemented by the biggest companies in the world, but we are beginning to see companies recognizing the value of buyers who could provide a boost to their bottom line. Not just looking at them as stoners, but as legitimate buyer personas that will respond to the right messaging, at the right time.

Cannabis Branding Tips: Are You a Blue Collar or White Collar Cannabis Brand?

By: Rachel Namoff

According to cannabis research firm Arcview, sales of legal weed in North America rose by 34% to $6.9 billion in 2016, (https://www.arcviewmarketresearch.com/media-coverage/) and based on estimates from investment firm Cowen & Co., U.S. legal sales could reach $50 billion by 2026.

So what does this mean for industry insiders?  What are the steps needed to keep up and not get swept up, or swept aside, in this torrent of growth?

The most important aspect of any business is your brand.  Developing a strong brand strategy that encompasses all aspects of your business will set you apart.  The cannabis brands that will experience the greatest growth are those that have successfully made the transition from a ‘blue collar’ brand to a ‘white collar’ brand.

If you're confused by what that means, consider the difference between the corner coffee shop and Starbucks.

Starbucks has taken a simple product, a cup of coffee, and found a way to elevate its status and create consistency internationally.  When you enter a Starbucks, the thought of ordering a simple coffee is foreign-the choices are grand, and the barista walks you through the customized process with ease.  Shanghai or Chicago, you can count on your experience at Starbucks.

There is consistency and identification my 5 year old is aware of.

The corner coffee shop is unique; one of a kind, and different from every other corner coffee shop.  It lacks consistency and identification, though it may have some quirky nuances that draws patronage. They probably won't have the milk I desire, and I will most likely order a plain coffee.

In the torrent of growth, plummeting wholesale costs, increased regulation and quality control, the corner coffee shop cannot keep up.  Add to that my inclination to order a low cost item, a plain coffee doesn’t help its competitive advantage.

I see the corner coffee shop as unique, but mostly its brand story is based on convenience.  Convenience is its differentiator.  The coffee shop will only capture patrons whose proximity is near.

Now, more than ever, it is so important to distinguish your differentiation.  What is your brand strategy?  What makes your brand stand out?

If you are concerned you are getting lost in the crowd, don’t fret. Become a billowing brand.   Lead the pack.  Lead the way.  The future is yours.

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Why Do We Love Pets and Hate Vets?

Why Do We Love Pets and Hate Vets?

By: Jordan Bentle

One of the embarrassing blights on Colorado’s medical and recreational cannabis market has been the exclusion of PTSD as one of the qualifying conditions for patients to use medical marijuana. Reading of Senate Bill 17-017 that would add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Disorders to the list of debilitating conditions that would qualify for a medical marijuana prescription was once again pushed back to April 10 by the Colorado House of Representatives.

No conditions have been added to the medical marijuana list by the Colorado Department of Health since 2001. SB 17-017 Senate bill, cosponsored by Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, and Sen. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, passed 34-1 on February 3rd. It has since stalled in the House.

Now this doesn’t mean that activists and legislation haven’t tried to get PTSD through in the past, but it’s been blocked. In 2015, the Colorado Department of Health voted 6-2 to not add PTSD to the list of debilitating conditions ignoring tons of anecdotal evidence and testimony from patients and veterans on the positive effects of cannabis has had on their PTSD.

Many veterans and individuals with Acute Stress Disorders have been using the state’s recreational market to medicate, but this puts those individuals at a disadvantage of paying much higher prices and taxes than they would receive on the medical side. The current tax rate for Colorado on recreational marijuana purchases is 10% plus the 2.9% state sales tax, plus any additional local taxes. Medical marijuana will only be subject to the 2.9% state sales tax, plus any additional local taxes. Not only would they pay higher prices, but if they are veterans then they also run the risk of losing benefits for being a medical marijuana user.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, has shown promise in helping some individuals to alleviate anxiety, reduce epileptic seizures, help with Crohn’s Disease, decrease inflammation and pain management, and protect against nervous system degeneration. CBD does not contain THC, so patients do not feel the euphoric “high” when using CBD.

CBD products have gained tons of popularity in not only helping children with seizures and other debilitating conditions, but the popularity of CBD products for our canine friends have exploded as well. CBD has shown to help dogs with separation anxiety from their owners, reducing joint pain, and itching.

Now you can get CBD and THC products without a medical card, but medical products many times will have higher dosages to better treat patient issues and conditions. To get the same amount of medication on the recreational side, individuals need to pay higher prices, and can’t talk with their doctor on how to best use it.

The fact that dogs can get better access to cannabis than veterans of our armed forces is a tragedy.

I’ve worked with veterans, and PTSD affects them in different ways. However, in all the  individuals I have know to use it, it has quelled anxiety, persistent thoughts, and insomnia.

Personally, I have experienced the benefits of CBD infused products with both pain and anxiety. Six years ago I was in a dirt bike wreck leaving me with a compression fracture in my T3 vertebrae, swollen knees, a concussion, and hole in the side of my tongue. The doctor prescribed opioids immediately following the crash; I was dependent on them in a very short period of time, so I immediately went off them. The over prescription of opioids is why we are seeing such a terrible heroin overdose crisis in the U.S, and I had no intention of going down that path. There is data now that shows opioid deaths go down on average 25% in states that legalize medical marijuana.

I was informed by my orthopedic surgeon 3 years later that I had indeed had a compression fracture, and most people recover with no pain, but some will experience pain the rest of their life. I was in the latter camp. My use of CBD infused products using an olive oil based delivery system has helped in reducing the inflammation and spasms that have plagued the muscles around the T3 vertebrae. It’s something I will continue to explore as a treatment because it has worked for me in my own health issues.

The reason opponents claim for the refusal to put on the medical marijuana conditions list is that the tons of anecdotal data is not enough to sway their decision to recommend it for inclusion, and that more scientific studies are needed before they will make a decision.

There are a number of studies looking at medical marijuana, like the DEA approved study that the  Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is running to determine the effectiveness of cannabis on treatment resistant PTSD. Recently, John Hopkins University pulled out of the MAPS study due to the cannabis being grown by the government was filled with mold and very poor quality.

Hopefully, Colorado’s legislature will do what is necessary to provide veterans and others suffering from PTSD and Acute Stress Disorders the treatment and help they need.

They’ve earned it.

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Who Stands to Lose the Most, if Pot is Fully Legalized?

It ain’t about health. It’s about money.

It ain’t about health. It’s about money.

It’s 2016. Medical marijuana treatments have been widely known for centuries. Yet pot is still illegal in most states. Why? Because there are groups lobbying against it to line their own pockets.

According to an article from Sun Times Network, these are the top anti-marijuana lobbyists who have the most to lose:

1. Who: Pharmaceutical Corporations

Why: Cannabis would offer a safe alternative to their products, potentially replacing “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”

 

2. Who: Police and prison guard unions

Why: Ending the War on Drugs equals lower police funding for local departments.

How much spent: California Correctional Peace Officers Association gave $1 million to “the campaign that successfully defeated Proposition 5 in 2008”.

 

3. Who: Private prison corporations

Why: The more people incarcerated, the more companies like Corrections Corporations of America and GEO stand to gain. According to a The Intercept article, these private prison companies donate to both conservative and liberal politicians.

 

4.  Who: No surprise, alcohol and beer industries

Why: They fear the competition that a safer alternative would bring.

How to fight back? Be an informed voter. Regular citizens can take a stand against wealthy groups by showing up to the polls. Currently the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington have fully legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical use.

If you’re curious to see where your Congressperson stands on marijuana-related voting records, check out NORML’s Congressional Scorecard.

Let’s fight back!