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Becoming a Subject-Matter Expert

The Texas Hemp Convention rolled into Dallas earlier this year, and it was an event our agency couldn’t pass up. That’s because it is now our job to know the latest and greatest on all things hemp, CBD, marijuana, regulation, deregulation, research, scientific studies, product integration, marketing, and even the renegades running amuck in scenes playing out a bit like the Wild, Wild West.

Chalk it up to an agency’s duty to become a subject-matter expert for, in this case, the CBD industry and the growing media frenzy for an unregulated industry that is poised to reach $20 billion by 2024.

The event confirmed the role that Texas is playing in the greater CBD field, with recognized industry professionals and top legal experts on hand. Meanwhile, much of the exhibits dotting the tradeshow floor were what you would expect: start-ups and mom-and-pop operations looking to cash in on an early opportunity without the marketing power, industry research capabilities, or sheer business know-how to make a lasting impact on a business vertical desperately hungry for a responsible leader to champion the segment.

And then there is our client.

When BizCom Associates opened its doors two decades ago, who would have thought we would evolve into a PR agency specializing in the topic of CBD? Over the last 20 years, our work with entrepreneurs, food concepts, and franchise distribution channels has turned us into an award-winning agency. Today those very same ingredients have also created the perfect storm for us take the lead in this national CBD conversation.

Our introduction to the power of PR in the CBD space came when Tariq Farid, the founder and CEO of our franchise client Edible®, decided to make hemp-derived products the focus of his next entrepreneurial venture. In the summer of 2019, Tariq officially launched Incredible Edibles®, a company that supplies CBD with traceability and authenticity from the hemp farm to the finished product. His new company partnered with local farms in South Windsor, Connecticut, the University of Connecticut and state agencies on the most comprehensive and collaborative hemp pilot in the state.

Creating a voice for Tariq in an industry that is simultaneously trendy as well as changing would be a challenge. That’s where we came in. We felt the best angle to focus on was the traceability aspect of Incredible Edibles as well as how Tariq is now taking a leadership position in the CBD industry, and that approach paid off.

Branding 101 was an advantage for Edible

Next up, what better way to roll out Incredible Edibles than through Tariq’s original business, Edible? The BizCom team took a hands-on approach to the launch when the brand chose Dallas-Fort Worth [our own backyard] as the first market in the country to debut its new CBD product line. We had two primary PR objectives for the launch: to drive awareness that CBD products were now available in select DFW locations and to reinforce the quality and authenticity of the products being sold.

We’ve seen firsthand the growing prominence of CBD not only in DFW, but across our entire home state of Texas. Back in June 2019, Governor Abbott singed House Bill 1325 into law, which authorized the production, manufacturing, retail sale and inspection of industrial hemp crops and products in Texas. And this past January, the USDA approved Texas’ state hemp plan.

With all of these major advances, it’s no surprise that Edible’s DFW franchisees were the first to express interest in carrying the new CBD product line. Equally important was pairing a new initiative with a household name — a first of its kind that was a welcomed message for an otherwise untested marketplace.

As Edible dives deeper into CBD and expands its product line outside of DFW, PR is going to be crucial in order to deliver accurate messaging and positioning.

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