Diana Eberlein said:
“Cannabis is an exciting industry for women with room for growth and innovation.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
I’m an experienced marketing professional with a background and expertise in entertainment and event production. I’m an idea person who loves entrepreneurship and innovation, thriving on creating engaging and unique campaigns for brands.
Recently, my agency partnered with Arcane Revelry which hosts pop-up cannabis events targeting the more sophisticate consumer. Arcane Revelry focuses on community involvement, education, and overall health and wellness through sustainability, organic practices, and informed choices. We highlight ethical brands and bring non-cannabis and cannabis brands together for the same purpose of education. Arcane Revelry originated in Portland, Oregon and is expanding to Seattle, WA and Los Angeles, CA in 2017.
What is your professional cannabis story?
I began working with cannabis brands in late 2016. Being in Seattle, there are many cannabis brands in need of creative marketing and social media services. I’m in the unique position to connect these brands with entertainment and ‘Hollywood’ properties for PR and marketing purposes. Entertainment is one of the few mainstream outlets actively seeking partnerships with cannabis brands. If these campaigns are executed correctly, they have the ability to educate consumers and normalize the industry.
As the cannabis industry evolves and becomes more and more saturated with products, brands will need to stay top-of-mind for the consumer and their collaborations with entertainment properties – event sponsorships, celebrity partnerships, branded content such as music videos and OTT, etc. – will further support their marketing and advertising efforts to drive consumer sales.
Consumers will always ask the budtenders for product recommendations, but just as the pharmaceutical industry shifted to “ask your doctor about (insert prescription here),” the cannabis industry could see the same. Don’t we all want to try out brands we find that have great content?
Also, many of the brands and industry leaders I’ve spoken with have the common goal of changing the stigma and conversation around cannabis. There is no ‘typical’ consumer anymore, but much of the content distributed still uses stereotypical ‘stoner’ imagery that a more sophisticated consumer doesn’t identify with on a personal level.
My goal is to create multi-faceted campaigns and collaborations, leveraging traditional and entertainment marketing strategies, to effectively engage and educate the ‘new’ cannabis community. This mission is embodied with my partnership with Arcane Revelry where consumers can experience cannabis in a safe and educational space with the highest quality products and industry leaders.
What is your personal cannabis origin story?
I jokingly refer to myself as a human ‘guinea pig.’ I enjoy trying new things, whether it is the latest fitness program, beauty regimen, seasonal cocktail. This love for experimentation and curiosity led me to cannabis when I relocated from Los Angeles to Seattle in late 2015.
When I arrived in Seattle, I had maybe smoked cannabis 10 times in my life, didn’t know how to “hit a bong” or smoke from a pipe, had never rolled a joint or sampled an edible, and I thought a ‘dab’ was a ridiculous gesture that athletes did before they choked in their next big game. To me, cannabis was whatever you got from whoever had it available, and I didn’t know enough about it to enjoy the experience.
I often compare my first dispensary experience to a field trip. It was a Thursday night after happy hour, and I brought a friend from LA with me. Neither of us had been in a dispensary before, so you can imagine our surprise when we were greeted by what felt like hundreds of cannabis strains and products. I remember looking at the others in the queue around me. It was no different than being in line at a pharmacy. Business professionals in power jeans and suits, senior citizens, entrepreneurs, doctors, artists, maybe one stereotypical stoner, and I’m sure many of these individuals were also parents.
“Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid?” Um, what?
It was my turn at the counter and I had no idea what I was doing. I literally said “Hi, I’m new here. What do I need?”
The budtender walked me through the basics and $150 plus later, I left with a vape pen, an oil cartridge, a selection of edibles, and tincture.
It was overwhelming, and yet I felt like it was a rite of passage.
Living in Seattle, everyone I know consumes cannabis in some form, and I don’t know a single cigarette smoker. I began educating myself on the history of cannabis and the various use cases of products which led me to explore further. I dabbled. and just like with alcohol, I’ve found my favorite products and brands for the desired effect.
And now my next career path… When I launched my agency, I saw an opportunity within the cannabis industry like many others, but that opportunity isn’t what I expected, and it also isn’t what has kept me working in this space.
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in cannabis is getting rich overnight. There are many hurdles and regulations to overcome, expensive operating costs, and a complicated and frustrating tax structure that doesn’t allow for exemptions and deductions. Many companies and brands I work with have three to five employees, wearing multiple hats, working long hours and weekends, and no, they aren’t high all day. It isn’t ‘easy’ to work in cannabis, and there isn’t an instant monetary return in most cases, but there is an unmatched passion from those within the industry.
Every brand and industry leader I’ve engaged with since starting in this industry has a willingness to collaborate, share information, explore new ideas, and support the cannabis community as a whole. They share similar missions, support their local communities, and are respectful with which they do business. They work together, rather than compete. Through passion, they execute and have fun. The industry has a lot to learn and will continue to evolve, and this former cannabis “guinea pig” is along for the ride.
What is your Superpower?
I believe I have two superpowers: Relatable and Critical/Divergent Thinker.
I represent a demographic that is current still untapped in the marketplace in many regions. When brands tell me they are looking to target a consumer that appreciates a more discreet or refined product, I can speak from professional and personal experience. Ultimately I’ve found people work and engage with others they trust, and I am always transparent when sharing professional versus personal opinions and preferences.
At my core, I’m an idea person. I analyze a situation and determine the best creative strategies and tactics to reach the desired goal or goals. There are instances where me being relatable doesn’t apply, and in those areas, I’m able to see from others’ perspectives to focus on the brands’ needs.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date?
I’ve turned my biggest obstacle into one of my biggest strength. In many ways, I don’t fit into what people perceive as the ‘cannabis culture,’ and that is exactly why I need to be working in this space to change that perception.
I am still learning about the cannabis, and that’s the best part.
I ask a lot of questions because I have to. I’m going through the motions of what a cannabis consumer experiences when looking in from the outside. Being ‘green,’ – pun completely intended – is my best asset because I can critically evaluate a brand’s marketing strategy to identify where there may be holes and gaps that lose potential consumers, and then implement the solutions.
Also, when working in a new industry, you’re dealing with a lot of start-ups that don’t have large marketing budgets. Many opportunities within entertainment have higher fees than what these brands are used to paying for marketing, advertising, and industry events. I’ve found myself educating both my entertainment contacts and cannabis brands about how to better work together moving forward.
It will take time and patience, but the industry will grow and I’m adapting along with it.
What is your vision for women in this industry?
Cannabis is an exciting industry for women with room for growth and innovation. Many of the pioneers in cannabis are women, and females in the 30-plus age range are amongst the largest growing demographics in consumers. Women have an extremely influential voice when it comes to this industry, and I’d love to see more females in leadership roles.
As I mentioned before, this industry is extremely supportive and collaborative. I encourage women interested in working in cannabis to reach out to others. Attend events, reach out to individuals you’ve read about in articles, engage on LinkedIn. You’ll find colleagues, mentors, and friends, as well! Everyone has a story and resources that they are willing to share.
Connect with Diana
Partnership with Arcane Revelry