When you think about UPS, do you think brown? Maybe you think about trucks, or packages, or cute men in short brown shorts and high brown socks. During our meeting with UPS it was interesting to see the difference that the European division focused on in the public relations department. In America we live by the slogan “what can brown do for you” and “we love logistics”. However these phrases do not mean the same to Europeans and the UPS team was faced with making the UPS brand come alive.
With competitors like DHL and other local companies UPS had to set themselves apart in order to gain confidence from European companies. They took on the battle little by little. First starting some locations from the ground up, such as the location in Germany. Later they decided acquisitions and mergers may be a better way to tackle the competition. If you can’t beat em, buy them. Instead of coming in and competing, UPS acquired (bought) established shipping companies and took one their customers. This seemed to work well for UPS and helped then build rapport with their customers.
I thought it was interesting that many of the practices that may be seen as normal in American PR departments were not handled the same. Mostly in the communications department of UPS Europe they dealt with advertising, customer communication and employee communication. The entire region is made up of only 18 communications professionals. With only 18 individuals in charge of all the communications Carsten said it is sometimes difficult to align both internal and external communications.
Even though it was UPS Europe, it was interesting to see that their objectives were the same. ” Increase awareness and grow the business”. However the strategy is different than UPS in the US. the speakers spoke about the importance of face to face communication and trust are what builds their credibility. So instead of constantly producing commercials or press releases, UPS Europe is constantly working to do things for the community and build relationships. The role of public relations specialist in UPS Europe is different and focuses more on relationship building with both internal and external audiences.