Having counseled, cajoled, and otherwise collided with all types of CEO clients in my 25+ years as a public relations agency consultant, imagine my delight when I read today the shockingly brazen and classic quote of the century by Miracle Gro’s CEO in The Wall Street Journal: “I want to target the pot market,” said James Hagedorn. “There’s no good reason we haven’t.”

How refreshing! No mumbo jumbo; no market data; no corporate lingo – just a plainly stated and abundantly clear articulation of a market strategy: Target the pot market. Got me thinking about the run up to this WSJ story and how the behind-scenes machinations of the Miracle Gro PR machine prepared the CEO for this landmark story placement. Here’s how I think/hope it went down:

  1. Seemingly innocent pitch by Miracle Gro PR agency to WSJ lifestyle reporter timed to spring gardening sits in WSJ reporter’s inbox
  2. Lifestyle reporter purges his inbox and lobs pitch over to market place reporter, who is following pot marketing trends
  3. Marketing reporter calls eager agency PR guy indicating interest in speaking with Miracle Gro client
  4. Agency PR guy, exuberant, alerts client and turns over reporter to him/her without vetting story angle
  5. Corporate PR vet engages CEO and readies him for interview
  6. Message session with CEO takes place in corporate hash den, appropriately stocked with crushed-velvet blacklight posters and rocking “Dark Side of the Moon”
  7. Message framework goes awry after toxic bong-spilling accident caused by stampede of executives vying for pole position on the box of Krispy Kremes just delivered by the company intern
  8. Interview takes place; CEO – who’s been waiting his whole second-generation business-owner career to have at it with the WSJ — makes case for addressing growing niche pot market
  9. Story runs.
  10. What’s next? Give me your Higher Thinking (no pun intended).

— Lisa Vallee Smith is cofounder and CEO of Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.