What Small Businesses Can Learn From Waste Management Inc.?

lynnbrown-wastemanagement.jpgYou know Waste Management? The company that takes care of corporate waste? At BDI Communication’s Authenticate Communication. Beyond Web 2.0, What’s Next, Lynn Brown, VP Corporate Communications, Waste Management gave a resounding overview of how Waste Management helps its customers, prospective customers and pretty much everyone on planet earth, interested in healthier living understand what Waste Management is doing in this area.

You can hear the entire conference here.
Lynn explained that Waste Management didn’t do ONE singular thing but has a series of communication tools (including post cards and advertisements on their trucks) to get the word out about Wast Management. This “getting the word out” is not necessarily done through in your face advertising but through education.

For example, by “opening the Kimono” a bit and inviting reporters to view how Waste Management recycles and manages waste, bloggers and others will write about Waste Management. For example, WM hosts a “dumpster diner” wherein Waste Management hosts a barbecues for those in the community.
The whole goal is to pull back the curtain and SHOW customers (via the media and other opportunities) what Waste Management does. Blogs, web sites and beyond are all part of Waste Management’s strategy.
Four parts of online communication, according to Edelman Public Relations, which Lynn shared with us are:

  • Crawling – just creating an online presence
  • Walking – videos, games, more than static web site
  • Running – engaging online influencers, online advertisers
  • Flying – embracing the community

For example, Wast Management has developed a web site, ThinkGreen.com which educates customers and others about all things “going green”.
Although Waste Management is a relatively large company, compared to the average small business her “problem” is similar to what smaller businesses go through – helping her customers and potential customers know what Waste Management is all about and why they are a GREEN company. Helping people understand that Waste Management is NOT just a trash company but a company to help its clients have zero emissions. To help its clients ensure their waste is managed in a sustainable manner.
For YOUR small business, it’s important to really think about what you want to convey and to whom. Once you map this out, think about how you can leverage technology to get the message out about what you do.
Lynn also talked about educating employees. She didn’t only give the message to customers but she also ensured she reached out to Waste Management employees to ensure they really know what Waste Management does.