Finding the right time to start a business can be difficult and risky. Most companies would wait for an economic crisis to pass before choosing to open its doors and hit the ground running; however, inVNT chose the height of that economic downfall to start its journey.
“People thought we were crazy,” laughs Scott Cullather, global managing partner at inVNT. “I had been with our former agency, Williams Gerard, for 18 years and I felt very strongly that there was a smarter and better way to do things for our clients and customers.”
Despite the economy, Cullather set out with three partners to start inVNT in summer 2008. The company needed to set itself apart from the competition in order to survive in such an unsteady market.
Mind, body and soul
Cullather knew it was critical to align the mind, body and soul of the company; the mind being the brand positioning and belief system; the body being the service offering or what the company creates and how it delivers value to the clients; and the soul being the company culture. All three of these things needed to align in order to succeed.
Cullather’s aspiration was to build a global brand communications agency with offices and inVNT’s strategically located around the world. In order to achieve something so grand, inVNT needed to know what it stands for and what sets it apart from the competition in order to make a difference for the clients.
“We consider ourselves an agent of change,” Cullather details. The clients inVNT serves vary in size and industry, but the thing that unites each is the need to change something.
“They want to change the way their customers or consumers think about their products or services, they want to change the way the press is covering them or they want to change the way their employees are performing, etc.,” Cullather explains. “We fundamentally believe that in order to change something, you need to begin by challenging.”
That challenger mindset is the fabric of everything that is done at inVNT. “It defines who we are, drives our creative process, guides who we hire, how we work, how the company functions and it leads to the uniquely creative solutions that we develop,” he details.
Clients large and small
The company’s client list reads like a who’s who of the biggest brands and non-profits on the planet. “Our focus is on Fortune 100s,” Cullather states. “We will design and execute about 130 campaigns in 2014 all around the world.”
Since starting the business in 2008, inVNT has worked in over 60 countries on six continents. The company’s client list includes Subway, Miele, ESPN, GM, PepsiCo, Grant Thornton, Nissan, Infiniti and Gatorade.
“Gatorade is one of our clients so we do their Super Bowl press pavilion every year,” he continues on. “That’s always a very cool project.”
Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) is also a client of inVNT. “We collaborate with SHRM on everything from their annual meeting to their legislative conferences,” Cullather explains. “The annual meeting is typically approximately 15,000 attendees, features high profile speakers, entertainment and is one of the largest live events in the country.”
The company’s relationship with SHRM has continued over many years and has flourished over a mutual love for emergent technology, cutting-edge audience engagement tactics and a general appetite for throwing out the tried and tested and doing it different every time.
Growth and future plans
Almost six years into business, Cullather has realized that the birth of the company at an economically unfortunate time may not have been a risky idea. “I think there’s no better time to start a business than in a recession,” he states. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but you’ve have no revenue, you have no employees, no overhead and no clients. The only place to go is up.”
As the company continued to grow, it had to find a way to maintain its solid infrastructure and continues to encounter that today. “I firmly believe that as a company we’ve made a difference in the world when we pull that campaign off successfully,” Cullather says with pride. “We are the agents of change for the titans of industry.”
On the horizon, Cullather sees inVNT as a globally recognized brand designing and producing the biggest, most successful campaigns in the world - creating real change and impact for its clients. The company may have had an unconventional beginning, but inVNT has grown exponentially, and under Cullather’s leadership, will continue to dominate the global market.