An organization dries up if you don’t challenge it with growth.
~ Mark Shepherd
An organization dries up if you don’t challenge it with growth.
~ Mark Shepherd
Deep near the border of Las Vegas lies Nipton, a small town in San Bernardino County. This California desert town sits within 120 acres of land featuring a general store, hotel, and school house. It’s one of those ghost towns within the Mojave Desert area with a small population (even smaller than Ipswich!). Even in this 21st century, we still have ghost towns lying around the wild wild west.
Instead of dribbling on about the picturesque landscape of Nipton, this PR topic is on the golden opportunity that lies within desert towns (pay close attention to the term ‘golden opportunity’ throughout this story!). Since these towns have a very low population rate, tourism is the key strategy for keeping these unique towns going. There are still customers that would enjoy taking a trip to deserted towns to get away for a while. Deserted towns have that nostalgic western feel, taking people back to simpler times.
But with a ghost town like Nipton competing with big-time cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco, tourism competition can be heated around California. And with many more Americans taking less vacations these days, the strategies to attract tourists become much more complex. Businesses are testing out new tricks to attract the new and younger tourists (i.e. unique hotel bars with assorted craft beers, food tours, and even flavored water!). Nipton is revolutionizing their tourism strategy by changing from being a ghost town to being a pot town.
It’s official, folks – this California ghost town is going to pot…LITERALLY! Cannabis-focused technology and growing firm American Green Inc. purchased the town for about $5 million. The new strategy is to transform Nipton into what will be known as, “an energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination”.
Other than going to pot (again, LITERALLY!), Nipton will also be producing bottled water infused with cannabis. These cannabis-infused water bottles will come from Nipton’s aquifer. Looks as though the water is springing back up into this desert town!
Think about this for a moment – a small deserted ghost town that found this golden opportunity to flourish their tourism business. Not only that, but there will be a river of cannabis-infused water floating around the desert. ‘Golden opportunity’, water appearing around the desert creating an oasis…history, my friends, is repeating itself!
California was a huge gold town during the 19th century and Nipton was one of the popular destinations. Pioneers traveled thousands of miles to the new lands in search for the gold. It wasn’t so much ‘the’ gold they were looking to collect, but rather the idea concept of gold itself.
Christopher Columbus once said that someone who had gold were in possession of something with such great value of earth. People sought after the amazing value the gold had to offer. This amazing value would help souls reach this paradise they yearn for. Paradise is reflected not within the piece of gold itself, but the value gold would bring to the individual. The mere idea of discovering gold would strike a sense of shock, adventure, excitement and even opportunity (a GOLDEN opportunity would be more like it!).
How does this philosophical concept of gold apply to this PR case? Cannabis itself presents great value on this earth. It is the number one booming cash crop in the country, with people planting their own seeds to grow strains of their own. With cannabis becoming much more popular within the social norms, the demands for cannabis start increasing. The ever-increasing demand presents a myriad of opportunities for the communities. Ghost towns like Nipton, California see cannabis as this ‘green gold’ that would cause tourists to come rushing in (hence the term ‘Green Gold Rush’). In a sense, the ‘ghost’ you’ll be hearing about in this ghost town is the shipment of Ghost Train Haze being sold!
We are presented with an intriguing, yet nostalgic strategy happening in California. Legalizing recreational cannabis means the green gold has finally been unlocked and people are rushing to collect from the treasure chest. This green gold provides many opportunities for the industry itself and the people who help it grow. Some opportunities include increased profits, buzzing publicity, an ever-growing community of cannabis users; but the most important opportunity of all is the discovery of a new way of living. It’s these golden opportunities that make the West so amazing.
With that in mind, we continue to be in the midst of the 21st century green rush happening in the western region. The cannabis community continues to spread and new opportunities arise on the horizon. Pioneers from the 19th century aren’t so different from the pioneers heading out west these days. Both groups set out west in search for gold, a new home, friends, family; but most importantly, these pioneers went forth to search for their new lives.
Cannabis has quickly become the new #1 cash crop in America since being legal in Colorado and Washington. Legal states have seen billions of dollars raking in from cannabis sales. Everything from flowers, edibles, concentrates, tinctures, capsules, and other cannabis products are selling like hot cakes each month. These products are in high demand and the cash flow is coming in faster than ever.
Colorado, the state where recreational use was first made legal, has seen widespread benefits in the increasing cash flow. In an ironic twist, all of the finances from this so-called ‘drug’ is actually helping the state flourishing. The Centennial state utilized the finances to fix roads, upgrade their educational system, better education on legal cannabis use, and even day centers for the homeless. All of these public benefits Colorado is seeing are from selling pot.
Even with these amazing financial benefits, there is one MAJOR problem that still needs to be solved: banking. Since cannabis is still federally-illegal, many banks refuse to conduct business with cannabis companies because of federal regulations. These federal regulations have opted many dispensaries out of a safe financial system that would help business run smoothly. Instead, many businesses have been forced to operate strictly on cash alone (which is REALLY bad!).
These strict financial regulations pose major business problems for many companies. One of the main problems is financial security. Many businesses are operating on cash, meaning they have no financial services set up. Since the finances are tracked through dollar bills, employees must work to keep track thousands of dollars in their office. The only secure solution would be to have a huge safe in place to store all of the profits in. Dispensaries are one of many businesses that are in danger of being robbed if necessary procedures aren’t in place (if you think a medical dispensary won’t ever get robbed, you couldn’t be any more wrong!). No set financial services mean businesses have a HUGE risk of being robbed if their profits isn’t properly secured.
Onto a less serious issue, no set financial services mean there’s limited creativity with financial promotion. Promotion, one of the four P’s of the marketing mix (price, place, promotion, and product!), is a crucial tactic of lifting your business off of the ground. Your dispensary may be fully operating, but it’s nothing without many marketing promotion to raise awareness of your business. Most dispensaries provide an ATM so that customers will have the cash for the product they want. It seems to help, but doesn’t really solve the bigger problem of the financial operations.
What if someone really wants to use their debit/credit card instead? If someone wanted to write up a check, how would it be processed? Would gift cards ever become an option to use?
It may seem trivial, but it’s important for serving every type of customer that comes in. Gift cards are a great strategy for promoting the business. If a bank won’t work with a dispensary due to legality issues, then gift cards won’t be a payment option for people. Other than gift cards, customers could be turned off by the fact they won’t be able to write off a check or use a debit/credit card to pay for their order.
So those were some problems I found that need to be solved if we want to push the cannabis industry any further. A majority of dispensaries are operating on a cash-only basis, which means they are in danger of being robbed. Not only do they face the danger of being robbed, but they are limited in their marketing creativity. The cannabis industry has been gaining leverage since legalization has been making waves over the past few years, but there’s still work to be done to increase its full potential.
I believe it is important to solve these financial roadblocks before pushing further. Massachusetts will have legal dispensaries opening next July, so we must get the financial operations squared away. We have to be pushing forward, not backwards.
The cannabis industry is here to stay, federal regulations or not. Banking companies should work to solve the financial regulations that are hindering the businesses from growing further.
A few weeks ago, I had an intriguing conversation with someone about how public relations work. He was unfamiliar with the industry and was curious to see why it is becoming a growing business tactic. We got into the idea of people gathering together for an event that provided food, drinks, guest, and other entertainment. It was then that I brought up the opening day event for the Red Sox all around Boston.
This was where things got interesting. I discussed an example of Liberty Mutual having a spread of hot dogs, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, and other ball park food to celebrate the opening day of Fenway Park. It was then that he grew confused as to why the food and drinks were necessary for the event. After seeing his confusion, I clarified to him that the food and drinks were just an asset for the event itself. He was still puzzled during our discussion, but he was still interested in this topic.
During our deep discussion, I thought about the importance of holding publicity events. Every now and then a major public event happens within the area; whether it is directly related to the company/organization or not, these businesses will hold an event to celebrate. This is where the PR work comes in – businesses need all of the communications help they need to pull off their special event. Whether it is a gala or a major CEO stepping down, companies work their hardest to showcase a memorable night.
But what exactly happens at these events? What makes them so significant that companies have to blow them up so big? Who reaps the most benefit at the end?
Think about the last time you attended a party with your friends. Some of the typical things you see is a spread of food, alcohol being served, a DJ spinning some mad tracks, some people sharing a joint (if the party is 4/20-friendly!), groups of friends playing lawn games, and other entertainment happening. All of these aspects help make it a great party, but the most important reason for why people attend parties? To get together with other people and meet new friends!
That right there is the big connection with all of these social gatherings – people gathering together to celebrate the special occasion. Human beings are the most social creatures on earth. As much as say we can’t stand people sometimes, we actually LOVE being around people all of the time (Aristotle referred to us as ‘social animals’). We get together with people for parties, funerals, sporting events, weddings, and even small things like sharing a joint together (sharing is caring!). People have gathered together for events since the dawn of time.
Moving back to the idea of publicity events, blowing it up big is vital for getting people CONNECTED with one another. Connection is the key word when it comes to company/organization events. When a CEO is stepping down to retire from the company, all acquaintances connect with each other about the him or her. The high-priced liquor and caviar spread is wonderful, but the main thing is about connecting people together.
Let’s go back to the ‘Opening Day’ event in Boston back in April. Liberty Mutual had that ballpark food spread for a reason. It wasn’t so much to raise awareness of their brand, but rather to connect people together about the Red Sox playing at Fenway Park (FYI, Red Sox won against the Pirates that day. GO SOX!). Opening day is a MAJOR event here in Boston, so Liberty Mutual really hit it out of the ballpark with their event! Other companies threw their own parties, thus connecting with their own social groups about opening day.
And there you have it folks — publicity events are CRITICAL for increasing connecting among each other. Whether it is casual networking among people or businesses throwing parties for retirees, connection is the key idea at the end. Businesses throw parties to gain closer connections to their audiences or employees. Not only do brands reap the benefit of increased awareness, but customers also gain the benefit of closer connection with their employees as well as the overall audience.
All of these ideas are tied with the idea of human beings being ‘social animals’. We don’t just socialize with other human beings for the fun of it, but rather for the sense of belonging in this crazy world we live in. As silly as some of those office parties can be, it’s a great way for connecting people together for whatever reason necessary.
To those that are baffled on the importance of public relations, THAT is one of the essential reasons why PR is critical for any company/organization. Public relations is what will blow up your reputation sky high!
To start today’s post, I have an interesting story to share: I was staffing for an event at the Hynes Convention Center this past weekend. The event was catered to the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (in English, heart surgery). My role at the event was line monitor, which was to monitor the pre-registration line to make sure things were running smoothly.
Once the line quieted down, I got to take a 15-minute break. With my CBD vaporizer at hand, I went for a stroll outside. What I saw outside was absolutely baffling to me. I went out the doors to see members of the event…smoking cigarettes.
Seriously guys…I was watching PROFESSIONAL heart surgeons smoking cigarettes outside of the Hynes Convention Center. Some members smoked typical cigarettes while others smoked a cigar. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed surgeons having a smoke before heading back to their class.
Think about this for a minute: these are licensed surgeons that work fixing the human heart to prevent it from stopping. They were admitted into medical school for over TEN years studying everything they needed to know about heart surgery. Ten years of studying, labs, homework, papers, and other school work and yet some of them smoke cigarettes during their break. Cigarettes are the #1 cause of many heart problems in America and there are actually heart surgeons who smoke. This observation was absolutely MIND-BLOWING to witness. How do we have heart surgeons smoking cigarettes? What happened?
What happened? AMERICA happened! But in all seriousness, this is an interesting topic to discuss. Employees in the medical field always caution us about smoking cigarettes every year. Doctors and nurses ask us things like how much alcohol we drink, how much cigarettes do we smoke, do we smoke cannabis (if so, how much), and if we consume any other drugs. Our doctors can only inform us about what’s causing the problem (there WERE doctors that advertised cigarettes on television, but that’s for another discussion!).
In a surprising study, less than a quarter of doctors smoke cigarettes while nurses smoke twice as much. While these numbers aren’t so high, it’s still alarming to hear of medical professionals smoking cigarettes during their break time. The irony around this is that doctors/nurses advise us against smoking cigarettes, yet there are some that smoke during their free time.
If we want to better understand this strange phenomenon, let’s shift gears from cigarettes to the obesity crisis. Over two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight and about a quarter of people are obese. Doctors and nurses always advise us to exercise on a daily basis as well as eating healthy food each week. In a surprising twist, some of these doctors/nurses are overweight themselves (FYI, there are MORE overweight nurses than doctors!). So not only do we have medical professionals smoking cigarettes, but now there’s some that are overweight or obese!
Public Relations deals with the reputation of a company or businesses. Medical professionals have a serious moral/ethics code to abide by and keeping a clean record is a serious deal. One misstep and they could jeopardize their entire careers to the point where they lose their medical license. Are cigarette smoking and weight issues part of the moral and ethics code that doctors/nurses abide by? If not, then those destructive behaviors should definitely be added into the list.
I’m not saying that every doctor needs to look like McSteamy or McDreamy from Grey’s Anatomy (although that would be a perfect world to live in!), but they should consider what kind of example they are setting for their patients. Patients will learn through EXAMPLES set by doctors or nurses that tell them how they can lose weight or what steps to take on quitting cigarettes. If I were an overweight/obese patient coming in for a physical check-up, I wouldn’t be motivated to lose weight if my doctor or nurse wasn’t physically healthy. How can doctors/patients expect us to be healthy if they can’t take care of themselves?
Here’s another analogy to consider: police cops are always advising us against drunk driving or doing drugs in this country. They come into grammar schools to teach kids the dangers of drugs (cocaine, meth, alcohol, heroin, etc) and how they destroy your life. It would be EXTREMELY unprofessional if those cops were to snort some blow or inject heroin after the lessons. Kids aren’t going to listen to you once they catch you with that joint or needle you were about to use. Doctors/nurses who smoke that advise us against smoking is the same as cops doing drugs while telling people to not do coke or smoke crystal methamphetamine.
One last thing to consider with this ironic tale: what if the problem was us? What if the overall health in America has gone so downhill that medical professionals have turned to smoking to combat the stress of treating their patients? Could the stress of so many unhealthy patients have created a snowball effect where doctors/nurses have given up on teaching us how to stay healthy? Have we lowered the bar so far down that doctors have to smoke a pack (or two) of cigarettes to get through the day? Is this what American healthcare has come to? If doctors/nurses can’t set the right example for living a healthy lifestyle, than who can?
As a human being, I have very little health problems I deal with. I eat right each week and I exercise every now and then (when I’m not at the gym, I am walking around Boston or doing some cardio exercise). While I don’t smoke cigarettes myself, I do consume cannabis as well as vape CBD oil on a daily basis. My doctor isn’t overweight/obese and I’m unsure if he smokes cigarettes during his free time. I wouldn’t consider myself overweight (although I could lose some of that belly fat!), but I am well aware of many health problems going on in America.
With that, hearing about doctors/nurses smoking cigarettes sends an eerie message to us patients. If the rate of medical professionals consuming cigarettes or are overweight is increasing, then we really need to do a double-take on America’s healthcare system. We don’t need to force every doctor to look like something out of General Hospital, but they should consider what kind of message they are sending to us. An overweight doctor won’t motivate me to cut back on the pizzas and fried calamari if that’s all he eats every week.
And as far as people’s health goes, maybe we need to stop our bitching and do the hard work necessary to live a longer life. You and ONLY you can take the steps necessary to be healthier. No doctor/nurse will provide you with some magic pill that will make you become just like them. They follow the same diet/exercise routine just like everyone else. Here are some tips if you want to look like McSteamy/McDreamy: cut back on smoking cigarettes, exercise daily, and eat healthier every day.
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