No Second Chances
First impressions are everything—especially in a rebel community—and M3 made a great one
IF BORDERS INDICATE DIFFERENCES, they also mark where entities come together. Dynamically charged, they hold the potential to host both agreements and conflicts, and this is as true for businesses as it is for parties along geographical demarcations.
For businesses like M3, which operate on the expanding frontier between fringe and mainstream, the potential for success and peril are equally great, making first interactions with established fringe communities—in our case the cannabis community—critically important.
This is why M3’s CEO Kyle Kietrys, working with the marketing team under the leadership of Kate Rolston, insisted on hosting an event called “Better Together” in late February, welcoming members of Southern California’s existing cannabis community to discuss collaborative participation in building their industry’s future. M3’s respectful salutation—in some cases to people who have been working in cannabis for decades—wasn’t just “the right thing to do” for a heart-centered company dedicated to improving industry standards, it was also a critical bit of business outreach that laid the groundwork for M3’s future success.
Cultures long relegated to the fringes (legally, via social stigma or otherwise) often have tied some part of their identities to their “outsider” status and so, perhaps ironically, mainstream acceptance—coveted and pursued for so long—can be received as a kind of threat when it finally comes. If its arrival is accompanied by a perceived disregard for the existing community’s norms and practices, it can paint even the most well-intentioned pioneers as invaders and kill any hope of their participation in the space.
This is being seen among various cannabis communities as legalization efforts across the country are successful, with some at first celebrating the victory before realizing that progress means change, and that many of the practices they’ve improvised for so many years are now going to be formalized, often by people outside of their community.
Speaking at the Better Together event, which took place February 28 at Neighbor restaurant in Venice, M3 Marketing Director Riyaana Hartley was clear at the outset about M3’s intentions to help the existing community seize this window of opportunity to define itself, before bigger players arrive and re-draw the landscape: “This is the first of many gatherings hosted by M3 with the intention of bringing this community together so that we can grow and serve, not just people with the best quality medicine, but uplift our communities and raise the standards across the board,” she said.
That inclusive message was echoed by Kietrys, who reassured guests that M3—a new face in the crowd—didn’t come to California to take over, but rather to join and to lead when warranted: “We know that competition doesn’t work, we can see where the world’s at today, and so the future is cooperation and that’s why we don’t see anybody as our competition in this industry.”
Communicating this messaging is incredibly important lest M3 be shut out of protected distribution networks, access to asset suppliers, marketing and media opportunities, influencers, VIPs and potential project development partners. And more than just being important, the message is effective.
In fact, this simple and kind “hello” yielded tremendous results, with M3’s contact books filling with new names and, in some cases, re-highlighting existing connections. For example, in one encounter that underlines exactly how small the network of influencers is and how far the cannabis space spreads, I myself as M3’s Editorial Director, was surprised to find someone present with whom I share a substantial music industry contact otherwise unrelated to cannabis—a single degree of separation bridged by the M3 event.
Following “Better Together,” M3’s marketing staff has had meetings with numerous key media representatives (important to building M3’s brand as we move forward), with distribution and product professionals, and with industry leaders with whom we’re currently working on partnership projects. All of this is part of a long-term plan for success in both the business and consumer areas and all of it matters when we begin to talk about M3's product and supply lines. It also matters in terms of how our educational efforts will be received.
With M3's Medical Director, Dr. Jenny Wilkins among our ranks, one of the world’s foremost experts on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and with a robust strategic marketing plan, we’re developing a serious asset in our educational services. This asset goes beyond California’s borders, as medical professionals and consumers worldwide will be wanting, and in many cases requiring, credible information on this expanding market. As a product, the value of this service cannot be overstated at present, with similar resources of information in other medical fields yielding substantial long-term revenue in both ongoing subscription models and in event and media resource offerings (e.g. books and reference materials, both print and digital, and it’s worth noting that Dr. Wilkins is the author of the PDR for the Endo-Cannabinoid System).
With our burgeoning catalog of diverse assets, products and top-tier services, M3 is already beginning to distinguish itself as a market leader in the cannabis space. We firmly believe that a leadership position is best achieved working with the existing cannabis community—that “Better Together” is more than just a nice sentiment. But as the newest face looking to be welcomed into an established crowd, it was up to us to take the first step alone. We took it with respect, and we have been brilliantly received. As Rolston said in closing the February event, if we get this right “we can change the world.” Thanks to a welcoming crowd and a well-executed introduction, we’re on our way to doing just that.
By Reade Tilley
Kyle Kietrys, CEO
KATE ROLSTON, CMO
Dr. Jenny Wilkins
Dont miss the event photos below!