“Understand that we are all different” With Len Giancola & Dino H Carter

I would like everyone to understand that we are all different but we are all the same. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what the color of your skin is, what you have between your legs, you are a person just like someone who looks different than you. As part of my series about […]

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I would like everyone to understand that we are all different but we are all the same. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what the color of your skin is, what you have between your legs, you are a person just like someone who looks different than you.

As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dino H Carter .

Dino H Carter, the founder of D Branding has more than 20 years of international marketing experience, including work with Levi’s, MTV Europe, Alfa Romeo, and others.

By using a unique and in-depth understanding of consumer behavior, Dino produces fast results with long term growth in both revenues and brand awareness. Last year Dino and the D Branding team helped a client secure $14M in investment, and another one to get acquired after less than 5 months work together, just to name a few.

Our goal is to use Brand Focused Marketing tactics to help clients achieve their goals. Sometimes it requires design work and sometimes more marketing work. Sometimes Dino will work with your in-house team and sometimes the D Branding team will jump in to do some heavy lifting.

Dino is a speaker, podcasts guest, a contributor to different publications in the US and Europe, a member of The American Marketing Association and The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. He prefers to work with only a few clients and base long term relationships with full attention, making his clients’ problems his own.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Well, I’ve been in marketing for more than 20 years, before there was online marketing, mobile, and fast internet. I had a rock band and did some TV back in Israel so I got to know the important people in the industry and learned how the “marketing machine” works from a very early age. From there it naturally evolved, I worked in pretty much every facet of marketing including PR for Levi’s, merchandising at MTV Europe, on-screen guerilla marketing for Alfa Romeo, and so on, while in 2008 I added to my arsenal graphic and web design, I did some artworks for National Geographic and a lot of branding so my knowledge is really comprehensive.

Back in the early 2000s, I was responsible for launching the French luxury rolling papers OCB in Israel so when I moved to California and a friend of a friend who is the founder of one of the biggest LED grow lights company in the world needed help to grow his brand, it was a natural move. I have clients from many different industries but cannabis is where my focus is because it’s a very specific and unique market where it’s crucial to know both the culture and marketing. Because I worked in Israel, England, and here in the US, and with so much marketing experience under my belt, I bring more in-depth marketing and consumer behavior knowledge than most in this space and supply a lot of value to entrepreneurs and business owners in this industry.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I will tell you the truth, I didn’t think as an immigrant who English is not his mother’s tongue I will be writing to magazines and speaking in events as fast as I did. I remember I sent my first article to Sydney Evans, another branding expert because I wanted him to publish it. He replied that it is not good enough but he gave me very precise clear pointers so I got better and since then got many of my articles published in magazines in the USA and Europe. So the lesson is to never give up and always try. What the worst that can happen? Nothing actually.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Back in the early dot com days of the early 2000s, I was a marketing director for a super innovative mobile and internet company. There were no smartphones yet, no mobile apps, no fast internet, everything was new and existing. So we came with an idea to have a mobile dating site that uses Bluetooth to find people located in your area so you can immediately contact and date. We went and present this to one of the biggest cellphone companies at the time. We knew it’s huge but the company said “no, location-based dating service? This will never work” and sent us away. Now location-based dating apps like Tinder are everywhere lol…The lesson is that timing is super important and so is foresight.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Absolutely, I am teaching, mentoring, and consulting businesses, mainly in the cannabis space, how to deal with the shift to online and digital marketing COVID forced on us. Since most cannabis business happens in physical shops, brick & mortar dispensaries, all of a sudden they need to move and focus on digital, which is not as easy as it looks. I help them win the digital marketing game and most of all I help them have the right mindset they need in order to create successful marketing, I teach them how to “think marketing”.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Moving to a new country and building a business as an immigrant is not easy.I think the one person who really blindly believed in me and pushed me during hard times is my mom. We weren’t as close before I left my life elsewhere and moved so far away, now we are closer than ever.

This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

Well, I worked on three continents with all sorts of businesses. Technology changed, culture changed, society changed but we, humans, have not. What makes us tick is the same thing that made us tick thousands of years ago — feelings. People make decisions based on feelings, even when we think we make a rational decision it’s actually a rationalization of something intangible, how we feel, how we want to feel, how we want others to feel about us… With all the technology out there people think that marketing is about platforms — social media, mobile, YouTube, TikTok, and whatnot, but the truth is that marketing is about relationships. No matter what my clients’ business goals are I use the same strategy which I call Brand Focused Marketing to help them reach their goals. I focus everything on the customer, not the product or the company. What the consumer wants, how the consumers want to feel? How can my clients’ product or service help them achieve that?

Most companies are focused on themselves or their product. This way you can’t build a strong brand, not when there is so much of the same, competition is all-times high and people can buy whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want with a click of a finger on their mobile device.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

Excite me:

  1. Super motivational people
  2. A very smart, entrepreneurial, get ‘er done industry
  3. In a few years, it will be a regular part of our lives just like any other consumer goods or pharma

Concern me:

  1. Many of the people in the industry have issues with focus, memory, controlling their emotions. This is not a good recipe for an efficient business style
  2. There is a lot of ego in this industry and a “know it all” mentality is not good for business growth
  3. The lack of a real understanding of marketing. What people in this market start to understand only now is that marketing is not so easy, let alone branding and that you can have the “best” product in the world but marketing is what actually drives success.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. That the competition is fierce
  2. That corporate America will always be where there is money to be made
  3. That the less you smoke weed, the better business you will have
  4. That the green gold rush ended a few good years ago
  5. That you need money to make money

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

I think I am the only professional in the cannabis industry who doesn’t use cannabis. I used to, but not anymore. My advice to cannabis CEOs is to not get high on their own supply

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. 🙂

I would like everyone to understand that we are all different but we are all the same. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what the color of your skin is, what you have between your legs, you are a person just like someone who looks different than you.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Best would be to go to my Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/dinohcarter/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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