In this episode we speak to Sal Noble, founder of the London Canna Group. We discuss some of the things that new businesses in the CBD space need to know, how to build a CBD brand, as well as looking forward to the Europe CBD Expo in London in July which is being hosted by the London Canna Group.
Sal Noble has a wealth of experience across all areas of setting up a business in the CBD industry - from inception, strategy, sales, operations, finance, marketing, product development, wholesale, distribution, retail operations. He has successfully co-started two retail stores in the heart of Shoreditch; Noble Vaping and Noble CBD Dispensary, and has sold number of CBD brand into health stores, pharmacies and specialist stores, as well as help number of entrepreneurs set up their own shops. Sal has also set up a number of different outsourced manufacturing relationships and has built a great team of over 15 employees. Sal has valuable lessons to share about negotiating the pitfalls, transparency, customer relationships, maximising the opportunities, and having the resilience to see it through. Sal is committed to the development and education of entrepreneurs and consumers of CBD products.
Podcast Episode Summary
Sal has extensive experience across the CBD space and has helped to develop many businesses within the space - he is the owner of The London Canna Group business consultancy and the mastermind behind the European CBD Expo which is being hosted in London in July.
A lot of CBD brands struggle with getting the right message out - it is one of the biggest obstacles. Paid advertising for CBD is prohibited which is a big obstacle. It makes any marketing team within the industry’s lives very difficult.
The absence of online paid advertising means that everyone is given a level playing field - one band cannot monopolise the digital area due to investing more money in ads than another. This is one of the reasons that you often see smaller CBD brands having a greater influence within the market.
Print and TV advertising is available, but you’ll need to invest more to start with without any guaranteed return on your investment.
The brands and companies who are doing the best are the ones who are in physical stores over online ones.
Print materials can be incredibly effective when selling CBD products as people are looking for an educational source material to learn more about what is on offer. Many people are curious and associate CBD with getting high so giving them a reliable source of information helps to debunk these myths. The consumer can then take this material home and do their own research.
Sales assistant play a very important role within the industry as they are a source of real-time information - once the customer starts engaging with a sales assistant, their minds can be opened up and they will listen. The human element of the interaction leads to trust being created.
CBD doesn’t sell itself - education is needed in an initial interaction between the customer and the brand. Once somebody has bought CBD in person from a bricks and mortar store, they can then move to buying online.
Medical claims must not be made when marketing or selling CBD products. The best way to sell is through pointing towards legitimate medical research. One method which Sal has used in his stores in the past is to show research articles to a customer through a web browser on an iPad. This allows the customer to take notes and undergo their own personal research at home before they make the decision to buy.
Medical research into the benefits of CBD products are often funded privately with no help from the government. Sal states that it is going to take ‘private money’ to really get things going in terms of research.
The supply chain for CBD brands is sometimes reffered to as ‘incestuous’ in the sense that a lot of smaller CBD brands are white labelled from bigger CBD brands, it is really important that the bigger brands who are white labelling their products are providing top quality products.
One thing that brands need to understand is that customers have little knowledge of what they are buying. Many people confuse CBD products with cannabis products which contain THC. They need that information gap filled before they are able to make a purchase 03:35
You have to be pretty ballsy to market CBD products. How do we tell people about CBD without being able to state the medical claims? 28:00
The industry is young 25:30
The European CBD Expo
Respected researchers, scientists, ag-tech, pharma experts, regulators, investors, entrepreneurs and eighty exhibitors will share their knowledge about the flourishing medicinal cannabis industry at Europe CBD Expo, Britain’s first-ever international Medicinal Cannabis and Cannabinoids Trade Show and Conference.
The B2B event will take place on Friday, 12th July at The ExCeL London, followed by a combined B2Band consumer day on 13th July.