Work + Clients: County Waste & Recycling

Ensuring a clean reputation

EMA developed a strategy to help the organization, the public and the media put negative press in perspective and restore the company’s credibility.

Case Study Details

County Waste & Recycling, one of the Albany, NY, area’s largest privately owned waste and recycling hauling companies, had experienced uninterrupted success for much of its 25 years in operation. During that time, the company developed a reputation for delivering quality service and great value, earned the respect of key stakeholders, built a sizeable customer base and made bold plans for its future. In an instant the company suffered a crisis that generated a series of highly publicized negative news stories threatening its future success. County Waste & Recycling recognized the potential risk to its existing customer base and its ability to gain new business.

Eric Mower + Associates was challenged to simultaneously limit client erosion and rebuild the company’s brand. Using County Waste & Recycling’s yet-to-be-launched single-stream recycling initiative, EMA developed a strategy to help the organization, the public, and the media put the negative news coverage behind them and restore the company’s ­credibility.

EMA designed an awareness campaign to educate consumers about the new method of recycling. The single-team service promised to simplify the task by eliminating the need for customers to separate recyclables. Using earned and paid media to tout the new recycling model, the negative press began to fade and the public conversation began to shift toward the company’s future plans.

The “Simply Beautiful” concept was developed and executed by EMA through a multimonth TV, online, and print campaign starring the County Waste & Recycling iconic green-lid containers. The  ads included an offer of two months of free service for new subscribers, and highlighted the idea that the new containers make it easier for consumers to “do their part” within the community.

Before the launch of “Simply Beautiful,” County Waste & Recycling averaged 120 new customers per month in the Capital Region. After the campaign’s launch, the company reported a more than eight-fold increase in the rate of new subscribers. With­ the addition of radio, County Waste & Recycling expanded the successful campaign into its other markets. Consequently, the Catskill Region of New York saw the rate of new customers increase nearly five-fold in the first month, from 350 to 1,700. County Waste & Recycling successfully gained market share from competitors in both markets, and went on to partner with high-profile elected officials to announce the grand opening of a $14 million single-stream recycling center, which is among the largest and most advanced in the nation.

A year later, County Waste & Recycling had a growing customer base, strong prospects for the future, and a much-improved reputation.

In fact, the company became a highly attractive acquisition for a larger, national waste hauler who went on to purchase the company for $750 million.

Sean L. Casey Public Affairs

For the last 25 years, Sean has provided public affairs and public relations strategic counsel and tactical support to clients ranging from major corporations and law firms, to not-for-profit and higher education organizations.

  • (518) 618-1502
  • scasey at mower dot com