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Why being the face of X is a great time investment

Warp It’s founder, Daniel O’Connor, used to be the Waste Manager at Newcastle University. Back in 2008, they were rolling out their first comprehensive recycling scheme. He was going out, putting down bins, putting on stickers and talking to people, as well as hosting clinics. He was there dropping the bins off in the morning just because he wanted to assist. He wanted the project to work, and he knew that he was facing quite a bit of reluctance. Plus, he was new in the role, and he really wanted to make a big impact, so he really put his heart and soul into it.

Dealing with negativity

At one point, he was getting some difficulty from another person. He arranged to meet them and went to their office. This person called Daniel the ‘high priest of recycling’, which he was a bit shocked, because he felt that this term suggested he was forcing his will on people. On further reflection, Daniel started to believe it was a good thing, because he was seen as the person for recycling, and he realised that it could be beneficial for a few reasons.

trust sign


Trust, know and like

The first reason Daniel saw positivity in this development was that people buy from who they trust and know, but not necessarily who they like. If people know you and you act in a trustworthy and consistent manner, whether they like you or not, they are much more likely to listen to you and they're much more likely to actually agree with and do what you say. So, by being a trustworthy person on your estate, people are going to be more accepting of the things that you propose.

Be well known and responsive to questions

The second reason is that people like to know who or where to go to for advice and help. People really like that face-to-face contact. We know emails are very popular now, but there's nothing like walking across your estate and someone saying, "Hey, you're the Waste Girl" or "You're the Smart Working Guy" followed with, "I've got a question for you." Walking around your estate and people seeing you and being able to ask you questions and make contact is a really powerful tool.

Daniel explains it through this anecdote “It's kind of like this lady who was in my local supermarket. I don't really know her, but every week, I push my shopping past her, and she asks me for some money, and she says "Good morning" or "Good day," and we have a little chat. Now, when I see her around the town, I say hello and we have a little chat and some small talk, but I was thinking, she must see thousands people a week, and she must have that relationship with thousands of people in my town. That's a really nice thing to have. You can have that with everyone on your estate around your project.”

The face of the brand

Number three, you become the brand and face for that project, and whether you like it or not,  your value and how people think of you reflects on the project itself. If you're bright, breezy, always saying hello and wandering around the estate, that reflects on the project and becomes part of its brand. This is another really strong factor. The way in which people psychologically associate actions and experiences is something that is leveraged in sales, marketing and gaining participation all around the world. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage.

success trophies

Success stories

We are going to back these benefits up by giving a couple of anecdotes from our valued customers.

Alan Peddie at the University of Edinburgh told us how he went about rolling out the Warp It system there. Here is the video. He explained that by being the first around the estate, he’s now known as “Mr. Warp It”. That helps because Alan is very positive and approachable. People are intrigued enough to ask him questions and his moniker helps the project spread through word of mouth.

Andy Hay, from Tayside NHS, remarkably shared a very similar story. Andy works in procurement, where he's very forward thinking and keen to improve practices. His email signature contains the classic quote.

“If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”

Andy also known as Mr Reuse!. People come directly to him for questions and answers about reuse and the reuse of certain assets on the estate. He is personally driving engagement through his own brand. You can see a case study from Andy's organisation here.

Jason Mitchell, NHS Newcastle Hospital,  gave us a great tip many moons ago, which we now share with all customers, and in particular will interest waste managers and facilities managers. He said, "Whenever you're rolling out new recycling bins in a department or across an estate, the waste manager, facility manager or the lead on the recycling should be there when the bins are being delivered and when the stickers are being put on. Even when the posters are being put up you should be present, because what you'll find there are those types of people who are influential and have a lot to say in their department. They will come and ask you a question, and it's your chance to build up face-to-face rapport with them. If you succeed in doing that, and they're genuine influencers, they're going to do your job for you across the estate. They're going to help you implement your project."

Other ways of becoming the face on the estate...

You can become a face on the estate by being there whenever the project is being talked about. You might want to deliver a clinic on the project. You want to be there when you're rolling out the collateral for that project. You want to be making sure that everybody knows who to get in contact with regarding that project. On your email signature, make sure your contact details and a mention of the project are there. On the posters, make sure your contact details are there (a photo too if you can!). On any collateral that goes out, make sure your contact details are there. You might be tempted to put a general email address or a general help desk number, but don't. Put your personal email address, put your personal name, put your mobile out there, because it's all about building rapport with the people who are going to be using your initiative or your service and getting them on board. When you build rapport, you get trust.

How do you build rapport?

You respect other people's objectives and try to help toward those objectives while achieving your own objectives, but that's a whole other blog post...


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Joseph Kennedy

Joseph Kennedy

My journey is education, communication and innovation. My destination is a world free from environmental collapse, ecological ruin and unbreathable air.


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