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:
- Seemingly innocent pitch by Miracle Gro PR agency to WSJ lifestyle reporter timed to spring gardening sits in WSJ reporter’s inbox
- Lifestyle reporter purges his inbox and lobs pitch over to market place reporter, who is following pot marketing trends
- Marketing reporter calls eager agency PR guy indicating interest in speaking with Miracle Gro client
- Agency PR guy, exuberant, alerts client and turns over reporter to him/her without vetting story angle
- Corporate PR vet engages CEO and readies him for interview
- Message session with CEO takes place in corporate hash den, appropriately stocked with crushed-velvet blacklight posters and rocking “Dark Side of the Moon”
- 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
- 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
- Story runs.
- 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.