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Volume 26 No. 59
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Bode Miller, Gabby Douglas Among Investors In New CBD Brand

Today marks the launch of CBD athletic performance brand MotiveCBD, which is set to offer the largest line of CBD-derived products geared toward athletes, including tinctures, mints, chews, capsules, sports cream and toothpicks. The company was co-founded by Corey Poches, who is CEO, along with '14 SBJ 'Forty Under 40' honoree Ed Kiernan and a diverse group of former and current athletes such as Gold Medal-winning U.S. skier Bode Miller, Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas, former NFLer Nick Mangold, current No. 1 ranked Professional Bull Rider Jess Lockwood and WWE announcer Charly Caruso. Poches, Kiernan and Miller spoke with THE DAILY about marketing the new brand, the company's selling strategy and products, as well as professional athletes and leagues embracing CBD as a component of athletic performance and recovery.

FOR ATHLETES, BY ATHLETES: Motive has chosen to focus heavily on athletic performance branding to differentiate itself in the increasingly congested CBD marketplace. Poches said, "A high majority of the other endorsement deals or anything like that going on with athletes around are CBD companies that athletes are tying onto. We are an athlete-focused CBD company that athletes are a part of as business partners. ... The second piece of that is the fact that we are a true niche focused on the athletic market." Still, Kiernan has been careful not to alienate any market segment. He said, "All of us are athletes and all of us are in constant motion and that's the general thematic of this brand." With that "we are all athletes" mentality, Motive set out to develop and package products fitting of an athletic performance brand. Their packaging resembles that of other all-natural supplements designed for sport.

THE MORE YOU KNOW: Poches believes educating consumers about CBD will be critical to Motive's success. He said, "A big part of my job daily, especially on the marketing and PR side, is separating out the fact that medical marijuana and CBD are different. Let me be clear: We are talking about hemp-derived CBD under .3% THC, a lot of it THC free, in our products, and that is all federally legal." To address misconceptions about CBD and to encourage newcomers to develop a daily CBD routine as opposed to only taking it when they need it, Motive is launching the "#Motive8 Challenge" direct-to-consumer promotion, which will provide an eight-day CBD supply that includes a sampling of products for $49.99. The promotion can be purchased at MotiveCBD.com. On the importance of educating consumers, Kiernan said, "The public perception of CBD, there are a lot of people out there that don't understand, and when they are truly educated, we see the interest level immediately go from what could be taboo -- what once before was marijuana -- to 'oh, this isn't marijuana -- it's completely separate.'"

ATHLETE'S EYE: Miller, who was first exposed to "old school" versions of CBD at a young age and then again during his time competing throughout Europe, said he was "always impressed with how well they worked, but it wasn't something that was available or really kind of around in the U.S." until he fully retired in '17. At that point, he started looking at other options for that "kind of morning stiffness stuff" and conducted market research more seriously. Miller said, "I've had a lot of offers and conversations with companies about partnering up because it's such an exploding market. ... The reality is, I really like companies where my natural alignment, mindset, my belief system behind it works really synergistically right from the beginning and effortlessly. That way, I don't have to stress it. From a branding standpoint, it ends up working better."

FUTURE SIGHT: Poches, Kiernan and Miller all believe that the future of the CBD space, and their company, is bright, but they recognize getting more athletes and leagues involved is an important step. Kiernan said, "Obviously, from a league perspective, once they get comfortable state by state, and a lot of that is purely political, I think you're going to see a continued shift. ... That's happening, but it needs to happen more." He added, "We wanted to focus on a true sports-themed product that we will expand, and future expansion will look at team deals and potential league deals and more athlete deals." Those athlete deals could potentially involve products inspired by the company's co-founders. Among the possibilities: A sports drink inspired by Miller or a CBD pet line inspired by Douglas and her dog. Miller said, "That's kind of the concept for me, to really be proactive and say look, 'Here, if this isn't working, try this one or try this one.' And you know, hopefully we can find something that really works. I think it's a little more personal."