Women’s History Month is a time for recognizing the accomplishments and superpowers of women.
Today, we celebrate Michelle Flowers Welch of Flowers Communication Group. Founded nearly 27 years ago, Welch’s firm is a highly successful multicultural integrated marketing agency. Flowers Welch was recently honored with the 2017 Distinguished Senior Leader Award by the Public Relations Society of America, Chicago Chapter. We talked to her about longevity, her business and what her superpower is.
What would you say has been the most significant accomplishment of Flowers Communications Group?
One of the most significant accomplishments of Flowers Communications Group is our longevity. The fact that we have been able to remain fresh and innovative and consistently deliver award-winning, integrated marketing communications work for so long speaks volumes. For nearly three decades, we have successfully navigated what can be a very challenging environment for multicultural agencies in the marketing communications industry. Yet, we’ve been able to grow beyond our traditional PR roots to other platforms, including advertising, experiential, social media and content management, and I believe that we’ve helped to set the standard for a more integrated approach to marketing communications. I have been blessed to have the right talent who philosophically understand and embrace my vision. That allows us to produce exceptional, cutting-edge work driven by key multicultural insights.
As a communications professional of color, talk about the challenges that exist in the industry?
People of color in communications, like with many other industries, have to constantly fight for a seat at the table. This lack of representation of Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities in the industry is the reason why we see so many racially-insensitive campaigns today. We continuously have to advocate for a level playing field for multicultural agencies and professionals. The communications industry has come a long way, yet we still have a long way to go as it relates to true inclusion.
How has integrated marketing communications evolved with the advancement of technology?
When you have been in the business as long as I have and played a part in many dynamic changes, you are always eager to see what’s next, and adapt to and remain ahead of the game. One of the most notable evolutions I’ve experienced in marketing communications is the ever-changing technology landscape. We’ve come a long way from faxing news releases, and communicating through snail mail.
Technology has afforded us the opportunity to be more innovative than ever. It has truly shifted the way we work and engage with consumers and even media. From geo-targeting for campaigns, to live streaming events and implementing various social media strategies, technology continues to be a big game changer. I’m excited to see what’s next in the industry as it relates to the constant evolution of technology.
What is your superpower?
My superpower is the light within me that inspires others and is never dimmed by darkness. From an early age, my favorite Bible scripture has been Matthew 5:16 — “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” I’ve always been told that I brighten up any room I walk into. I’ve been blessed with the ability to allow my light — my superpower — to shine regardless of the situation, even in the most challenging times.
What skill sets or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
Historically, African American women have had to be tenacious, empathetic and resilient. We are taught to be strong, compassionate and fearless in our professional and personal lives. These characteristics, along with my desire to nurture those around me, are what make me who I am. My father was a horticulturist, so I grew up in an environment where flowers and plants were blossoming all around me. Because of this, I’ve always been passionate about sowing seeds in others to help them grow. As a leader, I’ve had the privilege of helping to shape many brilliant professionals who have come through the doors of Flowers Communications Group.
What does the future look like for Flowers?
Flowers Communications Group celebrates 27 years in 2018 and our future is strong. We will continue to stay true to our brand promise, which serendipitously is the first four letters of the agency’s name — FLOW. Our goal is to partner with every client to deliver Fresh ideas, Leadership in multicultural, Optimal engagement and Winning outcomes.
Last year, we did a complete rebrand, from our website and logos to assets, collateral and overall identity to reinforce our FLOW brand promise. We understand that as we continue to be innovative in our approach to client business, then our own brand has to be up to that same standard of excellence that we give to clients.
Through the years, Flowers Communications Group gained a reputation in the industry as a multicultural PR powerhouse. However, we’ve grown to be so much more. Our capabilities go far beyond public relations and run the gamut of many elements of marketing, social media, experiential, creative, content development and other communications platforms. We have a proven track record of delivering total-market wins that are grounded in multicultural insights. You can expect to hear more about FCG as a premier integrated marketing communications agency that sets the industry standard of excellence in multicultural and beyond.