Three CBD Brands Dominate Influencer Conversations Around The Trendy Cannabis Ingredient
In the early days of the CBD beauty boom, Lord Jones, Beboe and Leef Organics are dominating the field of cannabis consumer goods brands sparking influencer conversations around the trendy ingredient, according to influencer marketing platform Traackr.
While the buzz produced by CBD brands remains miniscule compared to the volume of traditional beauty companies on social media, Holly Jackson, lead influencer consultant at Traacker, says it has coalesced around CBD specialists that have strong microinfluencer outreach programs, high-profile distribution partners and robust branded social media channels. However, she notes Milk Makeup, which released Kush Mascara without CBD last year and has since expanded its Kush line, yielded greater influencer chatter with its hemp-centered merchandise than the CBD brands have spurred.
“We started noticing a spike in mentions of CBD-related products mid-last year when it began to be talked about more in the news. It picked up with influencers at that time, and that’s when we saw brands increasingly pop up,” says Jackson. “We are starting to see more mainstream brands pick up on the trend, and that’s a tipping point. When the more mainstream brands pick up on a trend, then you know it’s something gaining popularity in the marketplace.”
Traackr monitors public discussions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and identifies brand names in key words. It examined historical data over the course of two years to document CBD brands like Lord Jones commanding larger and larger portions of influencer mentions. Jackson specifies the recent announcement of Lord Jones’ entrance into SoulCycle locations, its launch at Sephora late last year, and its CBD gumdrops, an offering not available at Sephora, have driven chatter about the brand.
For the most part, Jackson shares Traackr has detected CBD brands promoting the health and wellness benefits of their products via influencers. However, she comments Milk’s controversial marketing approach steeped in the drug culture is cutting through the noise. The brand’s campaign this year around 4/20, the day associated with pot, featuring dime bags has been called out by anonymous Instagram collective Estée Laundry for glamourizing drugs. In its Kush Mascara copy, Milk describes the mascara brush as the “puff puff brush” and the cannabis sativa seed oil as “naturally lit.”
“Nothing is ever too crowded. In CBD, there are a small number of brands doing a good job, but even their share of voice within the influencer community is small, and there is so much room to bring on new people and grow.”
“If you look at Milk mentions about Kush Mascara versus anything related to Lord Jones, Milk blows them out of the water in terms of voice and share of the market,” says Jackson. “They are marketing in very different ways. It is maybe considered cooler to market in Milk’s way, but it’s also riskier in my opinion. Now, there are very strict guidelines on alcohol and cigarette advertising, and I wonder if this is going to be looked at in the same way. There may be a pushback.”
Jackson continues that there are CBD attributes not was widely touted on social media as the health benefits or drug connection that could provide opportunities for brands to stand out. In particular, she highlights the ingredient’s vegan and eco-friendly qualities. Jackson cites Milk’s incorporation of cannabis sativa seed oil in its Kush Mascara as a beeswax replacement to make the mascara vegan as a potentially compelling brand move.
At nearly 66,600 followers, Lord Jones has the biggest Instagram audience of the three CBD brands Traackr found to be ruling CBD influencer conversations. Jackson says it appears to have cultivated relationships with health, fitness, holistic lifestyle and beauty microinfluencers. Lord Jones has celebrity fans, too, with the likes of Kristen Bell, Busy Phillips, Stacy London and Jessica Seinfeld singing its praises. Jackson praises the brand for its emphasis on user-generated content and dedication to constantly reposting social media mentions.
With CBD players still relatively tiny and the ongoing problems they face advertising digitally (Facebook, Google and Instagram don’t allow CBD ads), the brands are dependent on microinfluencers and distribution partners to help spread their messages. Beboe’s partnership with Barneys New York on luxury cannabis boutique The High End, and Lord Jones’ Sephora and SoulCycle deals have been impactful on the brands’ social media footprints. So far, Leef Organics isn’t sold at a major national retailer. Per its website, the brand’s distribution network mostly consists of grocers, spas, salons, CBD retail and e-tail concepts, and wellness and fitness destinations.
Although Lord Jones, Leef Organics and Beboe have emerged as CBD frontrunners on social media, Jackson believes there is space for other CBD brands to make influencer splashes. “In makeup in the past couple of years, there have been big disruptors that have come in and taken market share away from some of the bigger brands because they have appealed to their clientele in a different way or maybe they focused on different aspects of their products,” says Jackson. “Nothing is ever too crowded. In CBD, there are a small number of brands doing a good job, but even their share of voice within the influencer community is small, and there is so much room to bring on new people and grow.”