Keep Calm and Glocalize

By Gabrielle Bellamy


On Wednesday, my classmates and I had the opportunity to visit the European headquarters for UPS here in Brussels, Belgium. This trip was very beneficial because it complimented what we learned in our Global Multi-National Communication course (MNC). The presentation was given by Carsten Helssen and Jim Daniel. They began with some history about the UPS company.

Facts About UPS:
– UPS is 106 years old
– The company was started by 2 teenagers in Seattle (This makes me question what I am doing with my life)
– UPS has 397,000 employees
– 75,000 employees work outside of the USA
– UPS went to Canada in 1975
– UPS went to Europe in 1976 (Germany was the first country)
– The company handles about 4.1 billion packages per day

The presenters mainly focused on the global aspect of the country. One thing that UPS makes sure it does on an international level is adapt and respect local cultures. They think global and act local. This is the definition of glocalization, which we learned about in our Global Communication course. It is awesome to be able to see what we have learned in class be applied in a large, well known company.

The presenters also focused on the communication aspect of UPS Europe. UPS has 4 branches of communication for the company: advertising and brand management, customer communication, EMEA Region public relations (PR), and employee communication. The European regional headquarters has 18 communication professionals; five of them are specifically dedicated to PR. To ensure their practice of glocalization, the PR specialists cover 6 languages. Their communication specialists make sure that messages concerning UPS are consistent. We learned what their objectives are when it comes to PR.

UPS’s PR Objectives:
– To ensure awareness of UPS’s global strengths and customer benefits in markets across the EMEA region emphasizing export capabilities
– To differentiate UPS as a global media by asserting credentials, expertise, and thought leadership
-To speak to the media through our people
– To promote and protect UPS’s reputation
– To inoculate UPS from risk by building positive and open channels of communication between the organization and the media

My favorite part of the presentation was the discussion about communicating and working with journalists who report on UPS. The presenters told how they feel that it is important to obtain a close, trustworthy relationship with reporters. They do this by making sure they tell journalists EVERYTHING. We also learned some information about the European press in relation to MNC PR. The press is always focused on news with a local and national angle. The press differs by country due to differences in language and culture. The journalists here also work under a strict code of ethics. All of this information ties in with what we learned on our International PR course.

One Last Interesting Fact:
In Europe, UPS did not use the slogan, “What can brown do for you,” because the meaning does not translate the same in other languages.

Au revoir






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