Wilfred Maina, Publicist at NisonCo PR – Interview Series
“There’s no such thing as bad publicity; bad publicity is good publicity and no publicity is bad publicity.”
The era when the above slogan made sense is probably over, especially when it comes to the cannabis industry which by its very nature comes with a bad rap, thanks to the many years of prohibition. In this case, the bad publicity hasn’t been the magic wand needed to push sales through the roof. If anything, it has taken the relentless efforts of highly skilled and gifted publicists to create positive brand images of cannabis companies. THAT, has taken the sheer grit of talented minds. And Wilfred Maina is one of such.
Wilfred is a publicist and account manager at NisonCo, a leading cannabis PR firm that has worked with over 150 clients across the US since its inception in 2013. In this brief interview, Wilfred narrates his journey into the cannabis industry and shares some insights on what changes to expect in the industry in 2023.
Without further ado, meet Wilfred.
As a brief introduction, how did your career path lead you to the cannabis industry?
I started as a generalist writer with World Atlas before becoming their chief economics writer by leveraging my experience in economics and finance. I have always been a supporter of the cannabis industry and leaped at the chance to become the lead cannabis writer and editor at Thought Collect when they gave me the opportunity. Working at Thought Collect exposed me to a wide array of research and thought leadership on cannabis. I had a very steep learning curve as I went from a general supporter of the cannabis industry to someone people relied on to give them facts and figures on cannabis. After working at Thought Collect, I joined Imaginal Biotech as the company’s content director. I had a chance to communicate with leading cannabis thinkers, such as Dr. Ethan Russo, who really shaped my outlook on the plant. I currently work at NisonCo as an account coordinator.
Briefly introduce NisonCo and your unique role in the company
NisonCo is a top-rated CBD, hemp, and cannabis PR firm and has worked with over 150 cannabis companies. Established in 2013, NisonCo’s mission is to build trusting relationships with members of the media in order to advance inclusive and sustainable social policies while ethically monetizing our influence.
I work as an account coordinator at NisonCo, and my role primarily involves working with the rest of the account management team to provide media relations services to clients.
What has been the highlight of your company/career in 2022?
My biggest highlight in 2022 was being in charge of the media relations efforts around the 2022 midterm elections. I got to work with lawyers from the top-rated cannabis firm Vicente LLP, and with Jeffrey Zucker, the Vice Chair of the board of directors of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). My efforts generated media placements in several top-tier publications, including Forbes, My Cannabis, CNET, MJBiz, Benzinga, High Times and more.
Any predictions for the cannabis industry in 2023?
In the US, I believe 2023 will be a year of product innovation as companies compete for consumer attention. Some of the more mature markets are already enjoying the benefits of this competition, and it may take some time for the younger markets to catch up.
Internationally, I see a continued push for cannabis legalization in countries such as Kenya, with activists making strides in public education to create a grassroots push for legalization.
What’s next for Wilfred?
At the moment, I am focused on my job at NisonCo and delivering for our clients. I’m also going to continue my push for cannabis legalization in Kenya and Africa as a whole.
It was a great pleasure to have this conversation with Wilfred Maina, publicist at NisonCo PR. Readers who wish to keep up with how NisonCo PR is transforming cannabis public relations are welcome to visit their website.