• Jordan Sherman

Brand messaging: Building Brand Protection PR™ through Thought Leadership

May is here and it’s warming up out there! We want to help you turn up the temperature on your CBD brand’s thought leadership with a comprehensive look at your brand’s messaging. Through thought leadership, you can take your CBD brand from being “just another company” into being an industry AND thought leader, a key component in Brand Protection PR™.


We will be talking at length about the Four C’s of communication. You can download that free here!


You can listen to Move the Stairs Brand Protection PR™ conversation each week as a podcast! Find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.

Building a framework for your brand message

When you’ve become a thought leader, you’ve achieved a critical component of Brand Protection for your CBD company. When we say thought leadership, we mean “Someone who has an authoritative voice in an industry where they are considered one of, if not the primary go-to expert. These people are constantly on the precipice of the latest developments in their industry and are almost always willing to offer their opinion and insight into what’s new and happening now.


When you earn a level of trust from the media, your customers and your colleagues, it’s incredibly powerful, especially when something negative happens that directly or indirectly puts your brand into the spotlight.


The power of thought leadership doesn’t come overnight but you can use the 4 C’s (clear, compassionate, consistent and conversational) of communication to build the framework behind your CBD brand message.


Great examples of brand messaging

For the purpose of this blog, let’s look at the brand messaging checklist for a company like Nike.


Brand purpose✔️

The company was co-founded by Phil Knight, who combined his love of track and his master’s degree in business to build a massively successful sneaker company.


Awesome company name✔️

According to Brandminds, the company rebranded from Blue Ribbon Sports to Nike after one of the company’s employees had a dream about Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.


Catchy slogan✔️

What about the “Just do it” slogan? This short, punchy slogan evokes hope, encouragement, and confidence, to athletes from the pros to the weekend warriors!


Highly visible influencer✔️

Lastly, we cannot ignore the Michael Jordan effect. Arguably the greatest to ever play in the NBA, he signed a sneaker deal with Nike during its heyday of the 1980s and 1990s.


Take all of the hard work, a consistent and catchy message, and a little luck and you have a multi-billion dollar company. There are obviously fewer messaging restrictions on the sneaker industry compared to the CBD industry, but the same ideas apply.


Because CBD is so at home in the health, wellness, and cosmeceutical space, it’s important to incorporate a scientific education component in your outreach. A recent industry-funded study with data indicating that CBD users did not experience any adverse impacts on their liver is an excellent piece of information to share with your customers. This promising study helps add to the scientific data of CBD effects, but it’s important to be accurate and specific about what this study says, and doesn’t say. Keep in mind the study hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet and the FDA has not weighed in on it yet, either.


What can you say? You can share the study and results and talk about how it adds to the body of knowledge of CBD and its effects. You can talk about the accelerating pace of CBD research, and the importance of additional study.


What can you NOT say? You CANNOT say that CBD helps, treat, diagnose or cure disease or symptoms. Period. Crossing this line risks a very serious conversation with the FDA.


Building your brand message pillars

According to marketing firm Column Five Media, “Brand messaging pillars are a crucial element of your brand messaging, and a particularly useful tool for content creators. They are basically the three major themes, benefits, or selling points that make your brand unique.”


What might it look like for your CBD company to talk about the latest in CBD research? Let’s use the four C’s of communication to dial in potential messaging.


Clear: Make it apparent that CBD research is important to your company. A Chief Medical Officer on staff can offer insight and analysis into these types of studies, helping your brand approach them from a position of transparency and authority. Just another quick reminder- you cannot say CBD helps, treat, diagnose or cure disease or symptoms.


Compassionate: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Remember, the customer is the hero of your story, not your products. How do you go about making the customer the hero in your messaging? It’s as simple as reworking a sentence from something like “Our products come in the most beautiful packaging” to “Our customers rave about the experience of opening each beautiful bottle of CBD oil lovingly wrapped in gold paper in every package.”


Consistent: Remember the marketing rule of 7! Someone needs to hear a specific brand or product mentioned 7 times before it sticks in their brain. As you’re adapting or modifying your brand messaging pillars, consistency matters. Consider using a content calendar to organize social media or owned media content at least a month in advance, covering the same set of topic areas each week. Don’t become a firehose of information; mix it up: a little science, a bit of lifestyle, a wellness focus, some behind-the-scenes info and maybe some content just for fun.


Conversational: We’ve all watched Charlie Brown and his teacher that no one can understand. Don’t turn into Charlie Brown’s teacher when you’re talking about your brand! When you’re talking about something scientific like the liver study, make sure you do so in a way that’s clear, precise, understandable, and engaging.


When you’re building out your content map with the various themes you want to talk about, it helps diversify your brand message so it’s always fresh, interesting, and engaging for your target audience. When you tackle brand messaging using the 4 Cs of communication and a solid content plan, and you’ll start laying the digital building blocks of thought leadership, a core component of Brand Protection PR™.


If you want to dive even deeper into the conversation, watch the video recap below!