Your recycling brand is your best friend. It offers credibility, consistency, and control over messaging. It allows you to build trust, share strong messages, and experiment with programs. A strong recycling brand delivers results with compound interest: the more you work with it, the stronger it becomes.

To help your brand, you can use white labeled technology and make it your own. White labeling, the act of taking a technology and branding it as your own, helps build a strong connection with residents.

Do you Need a White Labeled App?

We’re often asked about white labeling and why it matters. If you need software, you have three options for getting it:

  1. Build it Yourself: Work in collaboration with your IT Department

  2. Off the Shelf: Use someone else’s tool with their brand and messaging

  3. White Label: Use a vendor’s tool but call it your own and control how it looks and what it does

White labeling, the act of outsourcing only the underlying technology you require, is the most powerful way to benefit from your branding efforts. It does all the things that you need, without taking away the thing that matters most: your brand.

When you need an app, you can get it in one of three ways. You can build it yourself, subscribe to a full service application, or subscribe to the technology that allows you to control your brand and messaging. For each of these services, there are pros and cons. We discuss them here:

Software Considerations

The easiest way to get great software is to get specialists to build it for you. But, don’t just evaluate for the initial build: software and hardware technology changes fast, and you’ll want to keep up with changes. Whether you’re looking at building software in-house, or getting it built or provided to you, you’ll want to make sure the developers can maintain the software.

You Want to Own Your Data

To communicate with residents, you often collect information about them. It’s important to make sure that you own this data. This allows you to change vendors at any point without disruption, but most importantly, it means that the vendor cannot share this data with third parties without you directly consenting to and enabling that.

Manage Your Brand

Recycling professionals understand that the economic and market realities of recycling are highly localized. Rules on what gets recycled vary, even within a county or regional district — this is central to the challenge of communicating MSW services. If your goal is to reduce waste stream contamination, white labeling gives you the credibility you need to reliably convey this information.

We know that multiple groups of recycling activist groups, businesses, and technology companies are trying to offer information to the public about what goes where. Without a managed communications strategy, messages quickly become watered down, or worse, conflicting. Without the ability to clearly distinguish where information about differing rules is coming from, confused residents can make contamination worse. When vendors offer white label products, you have full control over the tool.

So, how best can you leverage your recycling brand?

White Labeling Builds Credibility with Residents

Thanks to many years of cultivation, your recycling brand offers accountability where it matters. With the trust you need to get your message across, you can get more done. For recycling coordinators, for whom effective communications are critical, local trust is indispensable. How much more difficult would it be if you had to rebuild that relationship every time?

You know your local waste regulations better than anyone. You build credibility with your recycling brand by being accurate with guidelines again and again. You’re the go-to when it comes to providing the information residents need, as soon as they need it, and you make sure it’s correct.

Residents are accustomed to hearing communications from their service provider directly, and for good reason. You’re the local expert, and know what’s best. Your brand is strengthened when you build upon the trust and already established relationship you have with your residents and provide the most accurate and accessible information every time.

Easily Navigate Recycling Programs

Resident trust comes from acting with accountability and consistency, something that your recycling brand may well have been doing for some time. Thanks to all the work you’ve already put in, your brand offers you even more than the power to communicate effectively. It also allows you to experiment.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a strong brand allowed the department of Solid Waste Services to build out partnerships and programs in many different ways. They credit their success to experimenting with programs and measuring each one’s success.

It doesn’t matter how many types of education programs you develop. You can update your messaging, your programming, your software — but if your brand is on it, then residents will recognize your work, the program will belong to you and you will be responsible for it. This is a powerful way to maintain consistency and trust over time. Furthermore, your brand stays the same. Underneath, you can evolve as new tools, strategies, and tactics become available to you.

Your Brand Gives You Control

If it’s your brand, no one else can control what you say and do with it. With your brand, your messaging, your timing, your events, and your brochures carry the weight of authority.

Your brand gives you the flexibility to do what you need to keep up with changes. Despite frequent claims to the contrary, nobody knows what the future holds. A strong brand allows you to easily switch programs should a vendor or third party fail to live up to your expectations. If your program depends on a white-labeled service provider, your still-strong brand means the barriers to exit are lower.

With white labeling, your communications can reflect all of the complex considerations that go into your organizational branding. That means the colors, logos, urls and even data associated with the tool are all yours, even if you change vendors. When that or other changes happen, residents will see an “updated” app instead of having to download a whole different app or go to a different website. From a resident’s perspective, you have just improved the technology. It taps into your knowledge about local recycling regulations and the authority you have to speak about them. This is important because it respects regional differences and appeals to local users.

“Our IT Team Could Build This”

Many organizations consider building their own solution for many of the reasons outlined above, but more often than not find eventually that the cost of an effective solution arrived at this way is prohibitive. The third way is that of the white labeled service.

By adopting a white label approach you can get on with the task of doing what you do best, crafting the message for your residents and building upon the deliberate branding efforts of your organization and the trust built over years.