According to most CBD company founders, the momentum behind the “Green Rush” has little to do with money – it is more about how these founders realized their own lives or those of the people closest to them improved as a result of CBD. It seems many founders are motivated by a personal mission rather than the pursuit of profit.
That’s just one of the findings of the CBD Confidence Survey, which was created to elevate understanding of this rapidly expanding small-business sector. The CBD industry on average is experiencing 107 percent year-over-year growth in what the Brightfield Group projects to be a $24 billion industry by 2023.
The finding, which shows that six in 10 CBD company founders see the industry’s momentum a as personal mission, is critical, according to Larry Berg, the CEO of CBD Marketing Hub, which is collaborating with Cannabis & Tech Today, USA CBD Expo , CBD.io, and the Insyght Institute, the nonprofit arm of market research firm Target Insyght.
Together, they are producing a series of exclusive studies on CBD industry trends with a unique focus on small- to mid-sized CBD companies.
“In marketing, a storyline drives consumer belief and engagement,” says Berg, who is a proponent of making social impact a rallying call and an aligning factor among CBD businesses, large and small.
“The fact that the underlying motivation of so many businesses, including my own, is personal and not entirely profit driven, is under-represented in headlines,” says Berg. “It’s important that the public understand the back stories that make us who we are and contribute to our drive for continuous improvements.”
Companies like Hampton’s Choice CBD are reflective of the marketplace.
Billed as ‘Nurse, patient, and dog owned,’ the company and its co-founders Chris Hampton, Christian and Leslie Schanie, are laser-focused on advancing knowledge and education around Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
You can even follow Hampton’s dog and company spokesman, who devoured three bagels and a tub of cream cheese off Hampton’s desk during a recent interview.
“CBD doesn’t fix that,” deadpans Hampton.
“I learned a long time ago there is no miracle pill, rub salve, tincture, shot that is going to take away my RA, but there are things that I do that help me keep going,” says Hampton, a master grower with 15 years cultivation and processing experience.
Hampton, his company, tagline, and dog Boo are all very relatable, according to Berg, who says Hampton’s focus on one area (RA) of the increasingly crowded CBD marketplace is smart.
Hampton, who was diagnosed with RA more than 25 years ago following a promising college football career at the University of Louisville, says “being able to research, develop, and share products that have worked for me with the support, insight, and knowledge of my two business partners, who are medical professionals, has been a blessing.”
A natural researcher, Mulligan discovered that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD and insomnia as their male counterparts. That research, coupled with her personal experience with CBD, is now the story of Winged, a CBD brand formulated exclusively for women.
The Winged’s simple tagline, “CBD Formulated for Women” becomes more powerful with its reinforcement in its product messaging, packaging, advertising and social-media platforms, according to Berg, who notes that Mulligan’s ability to incorporate her own personal story in her product platforms adds to her brand’s authenticity and trust factor.
Their “kick-ass” marketing and social media engagement is icing on the cake, according to Berg, who says innovative companies like Winged can quickly become next generation market leaders with the right targeting and promotion.
Top CBD companies like Florida-based Green Roads World, which controls six percent of the market and reports sales in excess of $45 million, also have a compelling backstory and tagline: “One team on a Mission to a Healthier You.”
Its co-founder, real estate investor and former football player Arby Barroso, became interested in CBD after being introduced to it by a friend in Colorado.
Prior to discovering CBD, Barroso used opiates to treat a crushing football injury. His medicinal use quickly morphed into full-blown addiction with his investment in a pain management clinic, according to a published article in Inc. Magazine.
CBD gummies containing THC became Barroso’s salivation, but presented a new challenge —passing court-ordered drug tests issued as a result of a drug conviction.
His subsequent outreach to compounding pharmacist Laura Fuentes resulted in the creation of a THC-free CBD oil, which provided such market-worthy efficacy that Barroso and Fuentes bottled and sold it under what is now known as Green Roads, a product sold in more than 10,000 retail stores and wellness centers. Fuentes had a strong reputation – Drug Store News recognized her in 2019 as one of its Top Women in Retail.
Despite their size, Green Roads consistently reminds its loyal customers of its humble origins of helping make products for friends, family and associates and a personal mission that still drives the company today.
“Even after industry awards and accolades, Green Roads still takes the most pride in the countless stories we hear from people about how our CBD helps them live every day better,” says Barroso.
The power of a personal connection with a brand is an invaluable asset to established brands like Green Roads, growing organizations liked Winged , as well as emerging CBD companies like Hampton’s Choice CBD alike, according to Ed Sarpolus, the founder and principal of Target Insyght, the organization behind a series of ground-breaking hospital surveys credited for shifting healthcare institutions’ product positioning from big behemoth corporations to a collection of caring individuals.
With so many new entrants in the CBD space, it’s imperative for companies to differentiate themselves, according to Berg, who opens every customer conversation with his own personal story.
“Sure, building CBD companies is our business, but it’s also a moral obligation that we take seriously,” says Berg, whose father’s life was transformed by CBD.
The CBD Confidence Survey series supported by CBD Marketing Hub, Cannabis & Tech Today, USA CBD Expo, CBD.io and the Insyght Institute, the nonprofit division of leading market research firm Target Insyght asked respondents “What primarily inspired your company’s founder to get involved in the CBD industry?”
Fifty-six (56) percent of respondents reported that a personal, family member, friend or close personal acquaintance’s health issue was the catalyst for their involvement in the CBD Industry.
That’s a compelling figure according to CBD Marketing Hub Founder & CEO Larry Berg, who recommends that the nearly 60 percent of CBD-based businesses who have a compelling backstory elevate it in their company branding, marketing, and media strategies in order to gain customer loyalty and build market share.
Customers who are brand loyal share their experience with family, friends and social connections. In a recent study of over 100,000 consumers, Motista identified that customers who are emotionally connected with a brand have a lifetime value that’s 306 percent higher than the average customer.
Among Berg’s “Insiders Tips”:
- Differentiate Your Brand and Reinforce your Brand Story. As the marketplace becomes more crowded with look-alike products, it is important to stand out. Make your customer’s experience a novel one by showcasing the painstaking efforts your brand employs to reflect core values like Bluebird Botanicals’ commitment to environmental stewardship. The company’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by the year 2030 is reflected by its status as a Certified B Corp.
-Stay aware of general market trends and the intersect with your brand
-Promote investments in external (non-CBD) media platforms to broaden brand awareness
-Extend connections to influencers who share common connections outside of your brand, like an environmentally conscious consumer who is not currently a customer (but could be)
– Be loud & proud – tell your story in all non-paid and paid media