By Augustine Holguine
What can brown do for you? Apparently brown can do a lot in the U.S.and Europe. The slogan isn ‘t used in Europe, because the meaning would get lost in translation. We had the opportunity to visit the UPS headquarters in Brussels. This office location oversees delivering packages for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). They also have headquarters in Singapore covering the Asia Pacific region. The Atlanta headquarters for the U.S. and Canada, and Miami (yea Florida) for the Latin America region. Our presenters Jim Daniel and Carsten Helssen who both work in the public relations department started their presentation with the history of UPS, then they explained the structure of the company. I can honestly say that this visit made me understand the organization and communication aspects of diverse multi national corporation.
UPS is a great corporation with a lot of history. The company was started by two young and motivated teens in Seattle. The company slowly began to dominate the package delivery sector in the U.S. and in 1975 they started making deliveries in Canada. A year later UPS expanded to Germany, and are currently in more European countries. The majority of UPS employees work in the U.S. and more than 70,000 employees work outside of the U.S. Although there are other delivery services available in Europe, UPS is gaining recognition in Europe as a corporation that focuses on transporting globally with a focus on being reliable, culturally aware, and efficient.
Brussels truly is a unique place for foreign companies to start a business. This city give companies the opportunity to figure out if they will be successful in other European cities. There really isn’t another European region where a concept or product can be targeted to an audience with 3 national languages, and distinct cultures. UPS understood that being headquartered in Brussels gave them several advantages. Their organizational structure focuses on thinking global and acting local (glocalizing). The European headquarters has 18 communication professionals with 5 employees in the public relations division covering 6 languages.
UPS have 3 groups of brand ambassadors:
* Drivers- the drivers are the public face of UPS. The brown uniform and truck is a UPS symbol.
* Employees- the employees are the driving force of the company.
* Communication department- their responsible for the advertising and brand management, employee communication, public relations, and customer communication/ relations. The communication departments also do press releases, interviews, and train the executives for spokesperson duties.
According to Helssen and Daniel, one size does not fit all and there is no need to re-invent the wheel. This company uses the local culture to communicate with their customers, and most importantly the message does not change. Great service added with respect for the cultural differences in the European communities has helped UPS become a successful company in Europe. Overall I enjoyed the presentation and I gained more knowledge on how a MNC with a strong American base is able to expand to other countries and become successful. Understanding the culture is the key.
Up, up, UPS and away.