Franchising Today - Winter 2017 - 21

EMERGING TRENDS

Bank) indicates that anxiety is surging and the American Psychological
Association reports that no generation feels the effect of stress more
than millennials. We also know they
want to go natural - our Being Alive
Trend reveals a craving for what's
earthy and unadulterated. These
consumers want to chill with a plant,
not a pill.
The quest for mindfulness is intensifying (our Anchoring Trend in action), too, as a way to offset anxiety.
The rise of the Headspace app, and
drop-in meditation studios like Unplug and MNDFL are examples of this
cultural current in action.
Yes, some stigma around cannabis still lingers from decades of our
government treating it as an illicit
scourge, and its reputation as the
numbing agent of basement-dwelling
slackers everywhere. A sea change is
underway however, and a new image
is emerging: invitation-only, fivecourse "dope dinners" are being prepared by chefs in private homes. In
Los Angeles, White Rabbit High Tea
hosts chic parties that are said to be a
"cannabis fantasyland" involving edibles and more.

Your Move,
Corporate aMeriCa
From these signals, it's clear that
marijuana, once legalized, is positioned to be a disruptor and for years
to come. Millennials would rather
smoke weed than down a brew and we
expect generation Z to stay on that
preference path.
As we march towards full legalization, those in the pot business are
laying the foundations of a well-organized industry with "creative cannabis agencies" like Los Angeles' Green
St. creating high-design packaging
and advertising.

I happen to know firsthand that
many Fortune 500 companies are already exploring the possibilities,
from adding marijuana-derived ingredients to food and beauty products to
investing in some of the high-growth
businesses that are dominating the
markets in Colorado and California.
Things are undoubtedly complicated for the big players, though. Some
are all in with tobacco companies
investing heavily, but for others, the
market is rife with complications.
There are issues with finances: feder-

ite peach iced tea laced with THC?
Their favorite beer getting them
buzzed in more ways than one?
If these products came from established corporations, they could
bask in a halo of trustworthiness. Or
possibly face massive pushback. Businesses are going to have to unravel the
issues and innovate. It's going to take
vision and guts.
Brave new partnerships will emerge
- a food and beverage brand will join
forces with a pharma company to
master the regulatory climate. CPG's

BUSINESSES WILL HAVE TO UNRAVEL THE
ISSUES. IT WILL TAKE VISION AND GUTS.
al law treats marijuana as a controlled
substance, and therefore banks and
credit unions won't accept deposits
from these companies. And the fact
that it's still currently illegal to transport it across state lines means that
it'll be a while before we see a product
from someone like Kraft that's spiked
with THC. But it's coming.

owning Your Future
My advice: Mobilize. The Fortune 200
should know this by now. They took
their time getting into the bottled
water business and almost missed
the boat. Their play-by-the-rules, puritanical makeup has historically prevented them from getting in early and
transforming tomorrow.
Now is the time to act. Sure, the biggest brands - the household names -
will have to parse whether they have
their consumers' permission to enter
the cannabis marketplace. Brand value hangs in the balance, as does the
parent company's sense of its corporate responsibility.
But let me ask you this: Would your
average American accept their favor-

will suddenly seek out tobacco companies with all their know-how. Acquiring indie brands of weed will become the equivalent of the great app
boom that began in 2008: a feeding
frenzy in which some businesses win
big and others get burned.
I have some parting words for business leaders afraid of explaining to
their shareholders why they're investing in "weed." Think instead about
how those same investors will react
when they realize you missed out on
what's set to be the fastest-growing
industry of the early 21st century.
Think instead about how you'll feel
when your biggest competitor gets
there - and gets the profits - first. And
you can never catch up.
Don't believe me? Let's talk in a
few years. We'll still be here ready to
help you capitalize on the changes
that are coming.
Faith Popcorn is the best-selling author of
The Popcorn Report, Clicking, EVEolution,
Dictionary of the Future and the upcoming
Popcorn Report 2025. She is founder and CEO
of Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve, the future-focused
strategic marketing consultancy. Visit www.faithpopcorn.com for more information.
WINTER 2017

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Franchising Today - Winter 2017 - Cover2
Franchising Today - Winter 2017 - 1
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