Thursday, June 26, 2014

Consumer PR helps Counter Culture become the Mainstream

counter culture marketing

When, in 1974, High Times founder, Tom Forcade, first approached potential investors with his idea for a publication dedicated to teaching and encouraging Americans how to cultivate marijuana, he was met with incredulous skepticism. PR Executive Ronn Torossian asks; Why in the world would you want to tell people how to do something so far removed from the mainstream? Where is the money in encouraging illegal, counter culture behavior?

Well, the answer, it turns out, is in the one unchangeable fact of cultural change. One generation’s taboo is the next generation’s “normal.” Forcade could read the pot leaves, so to speak. He understood, correctly, that the pop culture icons of his day were driving cultural shift that would become both nostalgia and accepted behavior. In other words, the teens who thought they were so counter culture would eventually grow up into, more or less, responsible adults.

Forcade, of course, was right. '90s gave us our first “I smoked it” President, and the 2000s gave us our first, “I smoked it A LOT” President.

Today, 22 states have legalized marijuana in one form or another, and several others will vote on it this November. There is no doubt that consumer PR is driving this cultural trend. People who grew up when High Times was a “forbidden fruit” cannot fathom, and will not countenance, what they consider to be antiquated arguments for pot prohibition. Documentaries have been made and  endlessly quoted on social media.

Powerful political and legal figures have come out in blatant support of legalization. And, now, even Wall Street is getting involved. There has been a move to create a private equity investment opportunity in the marijuana business.

The consumer Public Relations angle in all of this cannot be understated. If the people had not taken the counter culture message mainstream, if regular suburbanites and presidential candidates had not admitted an affinity for weed, the plant would still be the domain of rebellious teens and rock stars. And, anathema to serious investment. But, the market has begun to embrace the reality that Forcade figured out decades ago. If you can give enough people the desire for something and then cultivate that desire, eventually those people can become the majority.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

4 success secrets you only thought you knew

Success secrets. Yes, you have seen lists like this before, and yes, you may think you will not learn anything new or earth shattering. But, what if you could sit down at lunch with four of the most successful people on the planet and ask them what advice they would give themselves.

Right now, in this very moment, you have to decide, before you read any further, that you are willing to change something. Change your routine. Change your habits. Change your mindset. You literally cannot get up right now and go about your day without making a significant change. Otherwise, you will not change at all. "Change is hard but is necessary to succeed." - Elie Hirschfeld

“Significant” need not mean “huge.” Some of the smallest decisions can have the most impact. For instance, deciding to get up an hour earlier each day, or to give yourself an hour of “free thought” time before going to bed in the evening, are not huge decisions. But, they can be life-changing.

For example, deciding when and how to use social media, or what hours of the day to turn off your phone, may not be earth shatteringly difficult, but they could turn into the production you need to meet your goals this year.

1 – Pace yourself: It seems the world operates under the delusion that you have to work your fingers to the bone, and your mind to the edges of a breakdown, just to get ahead. Not so. It’s much better to plan ahead, set specific goals, and pace yourself. Burning out does no one any good. When you do reach the top, you will want to have the strength to enjoy it.

2 – It never gets easier, but it does get better: Look, what it takes to succeed is what it takes to succeed. There is no success without overcoming challenges… and this never ends. If you wake up one day and you are no longer challenging yourself or being challenged, you are either on the way out or on the way down. Life, particularly building a successful life, is difficult, but that’s part of what makes it beautiful.

3 – The right job is better than the “best” job: Too many people are never happy in their work life because they spend all their time looking for the “best” job, instead of the right job. Sure, these can be one and the same, but often, the “best” job is labeled that for all the wrong reasons. Look for work challenges that help you achieve your goals, not just jobs that “look promising.”

4 – Be honest about your talents

If you don’t learn early what it is you are good at, you will waste a lot of years listening to other people tell you exactly what you are not good at. This is not the way to build a career. Now, there is nothing wrong with having many talents, but you need to know who you are and what you bring to the table before you try to convince someone else of these things.

Whether you want to be a doctor or an entrepreneur, grasp these four simple truths – and then DO SOMETHING with them, you will set yourself head and shoulders above all the others out there “working hard,” and “trying to move up.”

Work with purpose.