Build a relationship with customers. Our team members, including pharmacists, spend time talking to customers to understand what they have going on in their lives to be better able to suggest products that may help improve the customer’s situation. We pride ourselves in caring about all of our customers and go the extra mile to make sure they have what they need.
As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Chris Adlakha.
Chris Adlakha, PharmD, is an owner of independent compounding pharmacies located in the greater Austin, TX and Houston, TX areas. Chris received his Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. For the past 8 years, Chris has continued to focus on his passion of developing and compounding complex pharmaceutical medications within his state of the art Pharmacy Labs.
As the industry of CBD started become more and more popular Chris quickly realized that patients and consumers were being exposed to not only mis information about CBD but also a marketplace flooded with unreliable products with zero quality assurance and zero accountability. It was clear that this gap in finding quality CBD products was attributed to a lack of regulations which allowed for thousands of companies to flood the CBD marketplace without regard to product quality and authenticity.
As a pharmacist already equipped with FDA regulated laboratories Chris decided to learn the ins and outs of cannabinoid therapies with the ultimate goal of eventually developing a line of CBD products with unsurpassable quality that he could offer to his patients and other medical care professionals whom up to this point in time did not have access to a CBD company they could trust and recommend to their patient bases. Elevated Wellness CBD products are formulated by Pharmacists and Doctors, made within state of the art regulated laboratories and this combination of resources has enabled Elevated Wellness to create CBD products with truly unsurpassable quality and assurance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When legislation passed in 2018 that lifted regulations against industry hemp growth, a slew of poorly organized CBD companies entered the market. Elevated Wellness differentiates itself from competitors with proprietary sourcing and extraction methods, third party testing, and products designed and manufactured within a licensed compounding pharmacy. CBD can be viewed as a type of medicine so it only makes sense that consumers have access to products made using medical-grade equipment in medically-approved facilities. Coming from a pharmacy background, we understand the significant challenges posed by the ongoing opioid epidemic, so we felt that leveraging our pharmacological expertise would help provide opioid-free CBD options to consumers to ensure safety and relief.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When we first opened our second store location in Houston, we thought it would be a good idea to have our advertisements/coupons on the back of receipts from local grocery stores. We offered a 25% discount for anyone that brought the receipt into our store to make a purchase. After spending several thousand dollars over the course of a few months, we determined that that pull-through was minimal at best. We realized that people very rarely pay attention to the back of their grocery store receipts! The main lesson we learned is that our marketing efforts needed to be targeted to ensure maximum exposure to our target audience for the best possible return.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Elevated Wellness is a CBD company founded and run by health care professionals. We have taken it upon ourselves to formulate all of our name brand products based on pharmacy science in facilities regulated by federal agencies, including the FDA, to ensure the absolute highest quality cannabinoid products that customers can trust. All of our products have a scannable QR code on the box, which links to batch-specific third party test results to provide customers the peace of mind of knowing what is in the product they are taking. We believe in what we stand for so much so that we offer a 100% money back guarantee. This allows people to try our CBD products risk-free in order to determine if it is the right choice for them.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We recently launched our franchise opportunity, and this will help people across the country gain access to high quality CBD products developed and backed by pharmacists in their local communities. Additionally, we are developing a multi-product skin care line, and the first to launch will be an acne cream. We believe this new product line will help customers that have had negative reactions to other products currently on the market.
Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
We consider branding to be the story behind the name and business — the why and what we stand for. This type of marketing requires a cohesive vision and strategy behind the company as well as a strong road map to ensure sustained growth and success. Our view of advertising is specific to product lines and individual products. While we always want the product marketing to fall in line with our branding, each type of advertising will extol the virtues of the specific line or product.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
Building a brand is an integral part of the foundation of a strong marketing strategy. A successful business should want to invoke certain positive thoughts and feelings, such as trust, when someone thinks of their name or brand. For example, we at Elevated Wellness want our brand image and reputation to be one of trustworthiness, professionalism, quality and transparency. If people do not know what your brand represents, they will not know what to expect from your people and products. Some of the largest brands in the world are known for the qualities that we find that we embody ourselves.
Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.
- Transparency — commit to being transparent with the product or service you provide. All Elevated Wellness products come with a QR code that, when scanned, link to a batch-specific third party lab result. This provides customers with an accurate depiction of what is in our products and proves that the claims we make are in line with the actual product and test results.
- Honoring commitments — do what you say you will do. Elevated Wellness offers a 7 day money back guarantee on all products. If someone purchases a product from us and for whatever reason wants to return it, we will provide a full refund.
- Create loyalty — there are many strategies to create loyalty, and two are to offer a rewards program and discounts. Elevated Wellness partners with FiveStars for a rewards program. This program offers discounts and rewards for new and existing customers. Additionally, we offer discounts for military personnel and civil servants (police, EMS, firefighters, teachers, etc).
- Build a relationship with customers. Our team members, including pharmacists, spend time talking to customers to understand what they have going on in their lives to be better able to suggest products that may help improve the customer’s situation. We pride ourselves in caring about all of our customers and go the extra mile to make sure they have what they need.
- Be Passionate. It is important that the entire organization follows the same roadmap and vision. To that end, Elevated Wellness team members are all passionate about providing the highest possible quality CBD products to consumers. Additionally, we have a passion for continuous education for this industry and maintaining our position as highly regarded thought leaders in the hemp and CBD industry.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
Nike. This brand is known for making high quality products that athletes around the world gravitate to when they want to perform at their best. Nike has spent a lot of time, money and energy building this brand — not only with research but with partnerships with universities, events, and athlete endorsements. Nike’s ability to have a broad reach impresses us the most. Replicating this type of success requires having high quality products first and foremost. After that, it really is a matter of working hard to make connections with the organizations and people you think that could help you grow your brand the best.
In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?
It is similar in some ways and different in others. It’s similar in the sense that you hope your brand building campaigns lead to sales in the end. However moreso, you want customers coming back to you for the same products or even different products. You want to create a marketing campaign that people can trust and come to you for answers. Measuring a branding campaign is more difficult to track than say an advertising campaign. One good way to measure a branding campaign is seeing how wide your audience is getting. The scope of your buyer/customer is becoming broader and broader. This usually means your branding is working to attract not only your usual customers but also a whole new set of potential fans!
What role does social media play in your branding efforts?
Social media helps play several roles for our brand. First, it’s an outlet that allows us to portray how we want our brand to be seen by anyone. It allows us to take a creative approach to present our brand to the public. For instance, we want people to know our brand of CBD oil is all natural and free of harmful chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals, etc. so we are able to present that to our audience. Social media also allows us to build our audience and look at specific types of demographics that we believe share our same philosophy. In turn, we can create relationships, whether they be customers, companies, or other leaders in the field, to help build our mission and mold our goals as a company. It finally allows us to get in front of people overall. Afterall, you don’t know about a company/brand unless you put it out there! Social media allows us to have a free platform to show people who Elevated Wellness is!
What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
Look at what other people are doing. Doing the same marketing strategies can lead to a monotonous and somewhat boring approach to building your brand. Have fun with it! Marketing isn’t supposed to be all seriousness. It can be comedic, quirky, and go against the grain. We like to talk with other businesses and possibly find synergy or a partnership that can be mutually beneficial. Staying educated and learning with those around you can light a spark that can lead to a passion or more drive in your industry.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I were a person of great influence, I would work towards eliminating the stigmas towards cannabis/hemp and help build it into a widely accepted medicine, even covered by health insurance. I would like to develop a program that could offer more natural medicines like cannabis to patients via a co-pay. There also needs to be stricter quality regulations on cannabis/hemp and related products, so working towards building fair but strong industry quality regulations, in order to better protect the customers and patients, would be ideal.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Ideas like this helped me, in my personal life, prepare for potential failure when starting new businesses and attempting new marketing strategies, as well as conditioning myself to learn from my failures in order to grow and succeed with each new step.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Dave Chappelle. We consider Mr. Chappelle to be one of the greatest comedians of all time, but more importantly, he seems to be a phenomenal person as well. His career has been nothing short of amazing, and we at Elevated Wellness would love to be able to sit down with him and soak up as much knowledge from him as possible.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/elevatedwellnessatx/
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.