Who better to market a high stakes HBCU annual event than a passionate HBCU graduate with a thriving marketing company? Fabiola Fleuranvil, 33, fits the bill as founder and CEO of Blueprint Creative Group, which, for the second year in a row, is responsible for marketing the heated match-up between Florida A & M University and Bethune-Cookman University at the Florida Classic in Orlando on Nov. 21.
Although she makes every attempt to remain neutral, her professional relationship with the Florida Classic was a natural progression from her relationship with FAMU, her alma mater.
“I’ve had a relationship with (FAMU) for some time now. I was on the board of their national alumni association,” said Fleuranvil, who has also worked with the university’s athletics program.
Fleuranvil’s work with what is one of the biggest HBCU football and marching band rivalries in the country is all about engaging fans and getting them to attend. Even though passions run high regarding Bethune Cookman and Florida A & M universities, Fleuranvil said, “We still have to give people reasons to come to the game by reinforcing that this is a game with a storied history.”
The 2003 Florida A & M University graduate began her company in 2006 in Atlanta, where she initially focused on the entertainment industry by creating marketing campaigns for record labels and artists. Since relocating to South Florida, she and her team of six have shifted to working in the corporate sector and focusing on “branding and strategic marketing, lot of communication, lot of messaging and public relations,” she said.
One of her firm’s major areas is the HBCU sector, for which she has a specialized unit that works with “brands and organizations that want to tap into that black millennial but also the alumni base.”
Marketing the Florida Classic is just one aspect of Fleuranvil’s passion for HBCUs. She and Edwin Sylvain, a friend and fellow FAMU Rattler are co-founders of ‘First Wednesdays South Florida HBCU Alumni Social,’ a networking event that brings together graduates of several of the nation’s HBCUs each month.
As it relates to the Florida Classic, Fleuranvil said the event is more than a football game.
“Prior to kick-off at 2:30, there is music and entertainment, it’s really a family focused event,” she shared. “Tailgating is really big at the game. That’s how they really kick off their Florida Classic Weekend.”
The “Battle of the Bands” between FAMU’s Marching 100 and BCU’s Marching Wildcats is scheduled for Friday. And the kick-off luncheon and a job fair happen earlier in the day.
The Haitian-American Fleuranvil went from being a fan of the game to working on it.
“I love working with Florida Classic. I love working with FAMU. I love working with Bethune. Being an HBCU grad and alum, I understand the culture of what the Classic means.”
Fleuranvil encourages younger people to make the trip.
“Besides the value of this game, there is an opportunity to get around the alumni network, which is a long standing tradition that the younger demographic should connect to more.”
An avid traveler, her company is also beginning to create a name for itself in the tourism industry.
“Guyana Tourism Authority is our newest client as of two weeks ago,” she shared. “Tourism is a new sector that we’re really making a footprint in.”
For now, she’s hopeful that South Florida’s large alumni market will be traveling to Orlando for the football game and all of the other festivities that are a part of the Florida Classic weekend, which has an economic impact of $30 million in the Orlando area.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.floridaclassic.com.