UPS’ Laura Lane and Chris Byrne discuss cultural relevance to kick off PRDecoded

UPS’ marketing and comms leaders shared the origin of the company’s latest purpose statement and how a truly integrated approach with authentic purpose pays business dividends at PRDecoded’s opening keynote event.

UPS' Chris Byrne, president, marketing operations & digital acceleration (left) and Laura Lane, EVP & chief corporate officer, presented PRWeek's PRDecoded conference's opening keynote fireside chat with PRWeek's Steve Barrett.

CHICAGO: When UPS’ communications team was coming up with the company’s latest purpose statement, it reached out to employees across the organization asking: What excites you about being a part of UPS?

Speaking on the opening keynote panel at PRWeek’s PRDecoded: Purpose Evolved conference in Chicago on Tuesday, Laura Lane, EVP and chief corporate affairs officer at UPS, explained that the main aim was to put into words what employees were already thinking. 

The purpose statement the company landed on was: Moving our world forward by delivering what matters. 

“We also asked people: When you go to a bar and you see UPS, what do you see? [The answer was usually], ‘A guy in a flannel, with a scotch and a combover,’” said another panelist, Chris Byrne, president of marketing operations and digital acceleration at UPS. “That is not the image we are trying to portray.” 

To get that image out of people’s minds, UPS is focused on showing up in new ways that are culturally relevant to all of the communities it serves, Lane said.

“We are telling the stories of amazing UPS [staffers]: Cuban Americans who started out learning English in one of our hubs and now are one of our industrial engineers; or an amazing trans pilot we have that inspires other people to be loud, proud and fly with us,” said Lane. “We are different than you expected.”

Recent campaigns from the company include its Proudly Unstoppable program, in which it spotlighted LGBTQ+-owned small businesses, helping support vibrant and diverse business communities across the U.S. for Pride Month. UPS also showed up on the runway at New York Fashion Week last month with a limited-edition apparel and merchandise collection, UPS x Awake, designed by Angelo Baque, creative director and founder of Awake NY.

The profits from the collection, with an additional $50,000 in grants, go toward supporting scholarship programs for the future generation of Latino fashion designers and entrepreneurs at the High School for Fashion Industries in New York City.

Those campaigns illustrate different ways UPS is “keeping it fresh,” said Byrne.

“No more flannel shirts,” added Lane.

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