Business 24 September 2019
CBD products are all the rage right now, and if early indicators hold, it will remain this way for the foreseeable future. If you haven't heard about CBD, it's time to up your social exposure because CBD is everywhere. CBD products claim to offer relief for everything from pain to inflammation, treatment for anxiety disorders, and a myriad of other ailments. Because of the multiple uses, CBD has caught the attention of today's consumer. This has resulted in a flurry of CBD brands flooding the market and has made breaking out of the brand noise feel like the Wild West. Add to this consumers confusion about the seemingly similar CBD products available for sale, and you have one monumental marketing challenge on your hands. I haven't even talked about the regulatory environment, platform restrictions and other limitations CBD brands already face. What's a CBD brand to do? This article will break down the top 3 strategies CBD marketers should use to stand out from the crowd.
The digital marketing landscape is tricky for CBD brands. At present, Google, Twitter and others do not allow CBD brands to engage in paid advertising. That means that CBD brands need to get creative. One of the best opportunities is for CBD brands to focus their efforts offline and connect with potential customers via experiential marketing. Festivals, Farmer's Markets, outdoor expos, health and wellness retreats and hyper-local events provide the perfect outlet. This grassroots style lets your CBD product speak for itself by being explained, tested, smelled, tried and consumed. This approach also provides interesting and authentic photo and video fodder for social media marketing. Images and videos of real people trying your CBD product which artfully captures their natural expressions and honest feedback can be priceless on social media. It also provides an opportunity for user-generated content which is equally beneficial for capturing your customer's trust. A little raw and genuine content can go a long way in separating your brand from the competition. More than that, all of this provides valuable, customer-centric content that engages and informs your target audience. Get your booth, tabletop and outdoor gear ready and go after it!
2. Be All about the Influencers
It's no secret, Influencer Marketing works and influencer partnerships should be a top priority for CBD brands. An ideal approach is to seek influencers who can help tell your brand story through insightful blogs and articles. Influencers who are also bloggers have a loyal readership and are skilled in the art of storytelling. That makes them not only a great resource but also a worthy investment. Influencers could discuss their personal issues with pain or anxiety and explain how CBD helped to offer relief. To keep the cost down, CBD brands would be wise to use micro-influencers who have smaller follower counts but tend to have more loyal and engaged followers. This is also a clever way of utilizing unique and original content marketing tactics through digital platforms to expand your brand's reach and engage new audiences. If you haven't thought of using influencers, it is time to give this marketing opportunity a try.
3. Social with a Purpose
To be honest, most of the time I'm underwhelmed with brands on social media. They tend to feel too much like non-distinct copy-cats of other brands. However, I recently stumbled upon a CBD brand that is doing many things right on social media: SundayScaries. First, they have aligned their brand with a higher purpose through cause marketing and social issues which resonates with more and more consumers. In fact, according to the Cone/Porter Novelli Study, 77% of Americans feel a strong emotional connection to purpose driven brands. Specifically, SundayScaries have partnered with The Trevor Project and donate $1.00 from each sale of their jerky product to provide intervention and suicide prevention for youth within the LGBTQ community. Second, they appreciate the native environment of Instagram. It is clear that they put a great deal of thought into the curation of images on their Instagram page. They speak to the creativity and aesthetic nature of Instagram users. Their brand page feels distinct from other CBD brands. Plus, their fun memes add an element of levity that captures the brand's essence. While their engagement rate could use a little work, they have been clever in using contests with complimentary brands to increase their engagement and reach. One area of improvement would be for SundayScaries to begin writing and distributing interesting blogs or articles which concentrates on the lifestyle interests and needs of their customers. This will afford stickiness on their website while providing another connection point on social media. Other CBD brands take note, SundayScaries methodology shows that there are many organic opportunities to improve your visibility, engagement and reach on social media.
The truth is that some of the limitations to CBD marketing will gradually go by the wayside as platforms determine how best to support this growing industry. Still there is no time like the present to increase the exposure of your CBD brand by following these simple tips. After all, the Wild West only lasts so long.
Women have come a long way in redefining beauty to be more inclusive of different body types, skin colors and hair styles, but society's beauty standards still remain as high as we have always known them to be. In the workplace, professionalism is directly linked to the appearance of both men and women, but for women, the expectations and requirements needed to fit the part are far stricter. Unlike men, there exists a direct correlation between beauty and respect that women are forced to acknowledge, and in turn comply with, in order to succeed.
Before stepping foot into the workforce, women who choose to opt out of conventional beauty and grooming regiments are immediately at a disadvantage. A recent Forbes article analyzing the attractiveness bias at work cited a comprehensive academic review for its study on the benefits attractive adults receive in the labor market. A summary of the review stated, "'Physically attractive individuals are more likely to be interviewed for jobs and hired, they are more likely to advance rapidly in their careers through frequent promotions, and they earn higher wages than unattractive individuals.'" With attractiveness and success so tightly woven together, women often find themselves adhering to beauty standards they don't agree with in order to secure their careers.
Complying with modern beauty standards may be what gets your foot in the door in the corporate world, but once you're in, you are expected to maintain your appearance or risk being perceived as unprofessional. While it may not seem like a big deal, this double standard has become a hurdle for businesswomen who are forced to fit this mold in order to earn respect that men receive regardless of their grooming habits. Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation, is all too familiar with conforming to the beauty culture in order to command respect, and has fought throughout the course of her entrepreneurial journey to override this gender bias.
As an internationally-recognized women's advocate, Elting has made it her mission to help women succeed on their own, but she admits that little progress can be made until women reclaim their power and change the narrative surrounding beauty and success. In 2016, sociologists Jaclyn Wong and Andrew Penner conducted a study on the positive association between physical attractiveness and income. Their results concluded that "attractive individuals earn roughly 20 percent more than people of average attractiveness," not including controlling for grooming. The data also proves that grooming accounts entirely for the attractiveness premium for women as opposed to only half for men. With empirical proof that financial success in directly linked to women's' appearance, Elting's desire to have women regain control and put an end to beauty standards in the workplace is necessary now more than ever.
Although the concepts of beauty and attractiveness are subjective, the consensus as to what is deemed beautiful, for women, is heavily dependent upon how much effort she makes towards looking her best. According to Elting, men do not need to strive to maintain their appearance in order to earn respect like women do, because while we appreciate a sharp-dressed man in an Armani suit who exudes power and influence, that same man can show up to at a casual office in a t-shirt and jeans and still be perceived in the same light, whereas women will not. "Men don't have to demonstrate that they're allowed to be in public the way women do. It's a running joke; show up to work without makeup, and everyone asks if you're sick or have insomnia," says Elting. The pressure to look our best in order to be treated better has also seeped into other areas of women's lives in which we sometimes feel pressured to make ourselves up in situations where it isn't required such as running out to the supermarket.
So, how do women begin the process of overriding this bias? Based on personal experience, Elting believes that women must step up and be forceful. With sexism so rampant in workplace, respect for women is sometimes hard to come across and even harder to earn. "I was frequently assumed to be my co-founder's secretary or assistant instead of the person who owned the other half of the company. And even in business meetings where everyone knew that, I would still be asked to be the one to take notes or get coffee," she recalls. In effort to change this dynamic, Elting was left to claim her authority through self-assertion and powering over her peers when her contributions were being ignored. What she was then faced with was the alternate stereotype of the bitchy executive. She admits that teetering between the caregiver role or the bitch boss on a power trip is frustrating and offensive that these are the two options businesswomen are left with.
Despite the challenges that come with standing your ground, women need to reclaim their power for themselves and each other. "I decided early on that I wanted to focus on being respected rather than being liked. As a boss, as a CEO, and in my personal life, I stuck my feet in the ground, said what I wanted to say, and demanded what I needed – to hell with what people think," said Elting. In order for women to opt out of ridiculous beauty standards, we have to own all the negative responses that come with it and let it make us stronger– and we don't have to do it alone. For men who support our fight, much can be achieved by pushing back and policing themselves and each other when women are being disrespected. It isn't about chivalry, but respecting women's right to advocate for ourselves and take up space.
For Elting, her hope is to see makeup and grooming standards become an optional choice each individual makes rather than a rule imposed on us as a form of control. While she states she would never tell anyone to stop wearing makeup or dressing in a way that makes them feel confident, the slumping shoulders of a woman resigned to being belittled looks far worse than going without under-eye concealer. Her advice to women is, "If you want to navigate beauty culture as an entrepreneur, the best thing you can be is strong in the face of it. It's exactly the thing they don't want you to do. That means not being afraid to be a bossy, bitchy, abrasive, difficult woman – because that's what a leader is."
women in business women empowerment women entrepreneurs women supporting women female entrepreneurs female leaders makeup lookism gender bias attractiveness attractiveness bias makeupless working women corporate women beauty standards beauty culture success in the workplace femme fatale business woman