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Creating a meaningful brand positioning statement

Posted on Categories BrandonomicsTags

Lisa Gordon Yunus, director of brand from Waste Management, discusses the importance of backing up a brand positioning statement with easily understood proof points.

Robin: Hello, and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I’m Robin Tooms, Vice President of Strategy at Savage, and I’m here once again with Lisa Yunus, Director of Brand at Waste Management. So Lisa, welcome back to the show.

Lisa: Thank you.

Robin: Well, last time you were here, you shared with us the four pillars behind the Waste Management brand. But what I want to know today is how did you get there?

Lisa: Sure. So when I started with the company, we didn’t have a brand positioning statement. We hired a brand agency and went through a pretty extensive process that included internal and external interviews, industry research, as well as benchmarking across industries. That led us to the development of environmental performance, which is our brand positioning statement. We rolled out environmental performance in 2008. Since then, all of our messaging has tied back to environmental performance. In the fall of 2011, we wanted to make sure that environmental performance was still relevant and notable. We went through some similar research and what we found was that it was still very relevant and still ownable, but it was a little too aspirational.

Robin: Okay, so that was in 2011. Tell me, where are you in that process today?

Lisa: Sure. So we’re modifying environmental performance and we’re really tying proof points to it to make it easier for everybody to understand.

Robin: Great. So what is an example of one of these proof points?

Lisa: The largest example of environmental performance is the Waste Management Phoenix Open. We’re a title sponsor of the largest-attended golf tournament in the United States. In the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open, we developed the Zero Waste Challenge and the goal for everyone: Waste Management, all the attendees, as well as all the vendors, to create zero waste. We had amazing results where we diverted 97 percent of the materials collected at the tournament. What that means is 97 percent of all materials did not go to a landfill, which is an amazing feat for any event. So my job now is to make sure all of our customers understand that what we did at the Phoenix Open we can do for them as well.

Robin: That is truly amazing, Lisa. Thank you so much for sharing that. This has been another edition of Brandonomics. Join us next week for another look at top brands and their marketing strategies.


Waste Management, Inc. is North America’s leading provider of integrated environmental solutions. It partners with customers and communities to manage and reduce waste from collection to disposal while recovering valuable resources and creating clean, renewable energy.

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Robin Tooms is a consultant for brand, marketing and communications strategies for B2B and service companies. Expertise includes corporate branding, investor communications, employee communications, social media, and marketing with emphasis on effective online marketing and use of technology.

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