Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. But not for us.


70 years is a long time to be in business, especially in the ad agency world. November 1, 1949, H.E “Wes” Westmoreland founded the H.E. Westmoreland Agency in Duluth, MN with himself and his wife Dorothy, producing an ad for Dewitt Seitz Mattress Company as their first paying client. The cost of the ad: $25.

First ad by H.E. Westmoreland in 1949


Change and Growth

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional” – John C. Maxwell

This quote reflects the mentality of our agency. H.E. Westmoreland Agency has most certainly evolved, ebbing and flowing through the Mad Men era to the current highly sophisticated tech and data-driven world of marketing. Changes have occurred like ownership, clients, employees, leaders, service offerings, and, of course, the name to Flint Group, but the founding belief and promise that we will always deliver exceptional client service has remained.

We continue to deliver on that promise with an insatiable desire to learn and grow. It’s instilled in each person on our team to keep their heads up and their ears open. Keeping our heads up allows us to see new opportunities, learn new things and discover new solutions to help our clients and their business. We keep our ears open because listening and truly hearing is the only way to know we’re headed in the right direction, in alignment with our clients’ ever-changing needs.

The Experience Era

Growth through observing and listening has led us to focus on the thing we do best. Understanding brand experiences. One of my favorite quotes by Martin Lindstrom says “Emotions are the way in which our brains encode value. Brands who engage with us emotionally will win every single time.”

That, my friends, is brand experience. It’s understanding how to connect with your customers on an emotional level. Your brand experience isn’t just your logo, your product or your service. It’s the overall perception that somebody has about your company, based on the interactions they have with you. It’s how you make them feel.

Uncovering details that effect emotions and behavior changes are the things that fuel our team.

Up next: The Brand Experience Lab

We are in the process of building out a Brand Experience Lab in our Duluth office. This will be a physical space that visually represents the passions that drive us. We will have empathy mapping tools and storytelling scripts, as a reminder that we need to get out of our heads and into the mind of those we’re trying to change the behavior of. We will have psychological insight tools as we look for ways to impact change. In studying human psychology, we have learned the power of seeing and immersing for something to feel real. We’re excited that this space will give the inspiration to keep learning, and ultimately growing.

Brand Experience Lab – Room Concept


A final reflection

This week, as we reflect on where we started 70 years ago, where we’ve come, and where we’re going, I take a moment of pause for gratitude. Gratitude that we still burn with passion for a vision for something great. Gratitude that we have the best team with the highest level of talent, integrity, and character.  And last by not least, gratitude for clients that trust us with their brands. I am excited to be part of the continued growth of a legacy that started 70 years ago as we continue to grow and focus forward.

Jen Strickler

With her passion of understanding and crafting experiences, Jen works with clients to integrate digital communication strategies into their overall marketing matrix. From defining the usability standards of simple websites to full digital communication plans, Jen defines appropriate solutions to help clients meet their business objectives. With over 20 years of experience, Jen believes that effective interactive work must be relevant and intuitive. She works closely with the entire digital team in architecting and validating cohesive user-focused solutions that work seamlessly into the user’s journey with a brand. She also really enjoys the salted caramel cupcakes from Hy-Vee.

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