Most people starting up a new business do so because they have a great idea, passion for the product or service and an undeniable dedication to see it through. Running a business in the CBD industry, however, requires much more than that.
I was recently asked to help with the digital marketing and social media strategy for Supplements for the Soul, a new UK based company, specialising in selling CBD oils, vape liquids and other cannabis-related products. As a Creative and Digital Marketing Manager I jumped on the opportunity and relished the idea of a new challenge. Little did I know how much red tape that challenge would involve…
CBD products are relatively new to the UK and, being a controversial topic (I have been explicitly told there must be NO mention of any medicinal benefits), this brings a mountain of barriers.
Here are a few of the NO’s I have encountered so far:
- NO promotion on Facebook or Instagram (this includes boosted posts and page promotions)
- NO advertising on Google. PPC is not an option here.
- NO CBD product can be sold as a medicine – it must be categorised as a Food Supplement
- NO mentions of medicinal benefits
- NO reviews mentioning medicinal benefits – these must be removed from all digital channels (including your website, social media pages and other review sites)
From my initial research, these rules and regulations originate from an executive agency called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), who regulate medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. An MHRA spokesperson said: “We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine. Medicinal products must have a product licence (marketing authorisation) before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised in the UK, unless exempt.” You can read the full statement here…
Succeeding in any industry can be a challenge, but the business of CBD seems to be on a another level!
Have you had any experiences in the CBD industry? Or with CBD products? I’d love to hear your thoughts…
One thought on “My toughest challenge yet…”
You and I may have a few things in common. Currently I co-own a CBD Dispensary in Northern Colorado. Which by the way I stumbled upon this business while pitching my talents as a Social Engineer & advocating for a Cryptocurrency working to become a financial stabilizer for the global “Canna” Community. The first thing I noticed about what you stated are the harsh laws for CBD in the UK. In the United States Cannabidiol or CBD has to be mentioned or explained at least once by it’s actual name (Cannabidiol). If you operate a CBD Dispensary and are not a true physician, then you must be sure clients who purchase from you and listen to your recommendations know that you are not a physician and CBD does not cure cancer. This also goes along with the fact that you can not state a claim as to CBD cures, or is the absolute definitive answer to a pain or medical problem.
Branding is very competitive and from knowing the industry, rebranding is the most important thing for CBD shops. Just like Pot Dispensaries, CBD Dispensaries have very bright, active and sometimes costly advertising/marketing tools. On top of making your logo and layouts stand out, even in your own store. However in the U.S. Cannabidiol, Hemp Products and mentioning that they “help” or “may reduce” are perfectly ok to state
along with a suggested use. Most CBD Distributors do make suggestions that specific products work best for anxiety, or gummy bears are better for sleep management and I personally know of pain salves that state relief. Even the title states or suggests what is does, i.e. “pain salve”.
We have no problems advertising on FB, as a matter of fact FB drives most of our client base and our website is being created to handle high volume and affiliate work. Social networks.. not a problem.
Our problem is getting the masses to understand that going to a Marijuana Dispensary and purchasing CBD is not the same, as Marijuana Shops that sell CBD, will have a pretty high percentage of THC included. A true CBD Dispensary will have at maximum .3% THC for anything that is created full spectrum, which are the laws for the U.S. and at that percentage we can ship anywhere in the continental U.S. But most importantly Kim, a CBD Dispensary will have a wide variety of THC Free Products. With that mentioned, CBD Start-ups are the fastest growing business in the U.S. for millennials, Hemp farming and production in Colorado alone has surpassed agriculture and traditional farming as king crop for revenue and innovation. Laws in the U.S. are relaxed and hopefully about to get even better with new legislation. We can process Credit Cards and have we kids and pets in store if we choose. ( 18+ to purchase )
Becoming part owner after I proved that my knowledge about the industry and its direction are dead on. We started rebranding and focusing on product development which we developed seven new products within 5 months. Going into the Hemp Business, be sure you partner with knowledgeable professionals, know the laws and connect with those who know it also. Support the industry by creating variety in your store. CBD solutions are not one size fits all, but more so the custom solution that works best with your pain management choices.
Sorry I’m long winded. but love the Industry and those that it has helped. fill free to contact me.