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April 6, 2015 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Global Brand Communication Programs and Campaigns


Scott Cullather

Global Managing Partner




Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – April 4, 2015


CEOCFO: Mr. Cullather, what is inVNT®?

Mr. Cullather: inVNT is a global brand communications agency. We exist to collaborate with our clients and our customers to create, what we like to call, remarkable moments. We do that through the use of live events, digital and traditional media, brand environments and a wide range of creative services.


CEOCFO: What do you understand at inVNT about that whole process that perhaps others do not understand quite as well?

Mr. Cullather: What we do really well and what we understand, I think, better than anyone else, is how to effectively create global communications programs or campaigns that are on brand, that are on message, and that are on point with regards to what our client’s communications objectives are. We do it in a way that is disruptive and sticky, so that those campaigns or those experiences create real impact and real change. In fact, we like to say that they change the way people think, feel, behave and perform.


CEOCFO: How do you ascertain what a client really wants and needs?

Mr. Cullather: Our brand positioning is “challenge everything”. It speaks to how we think, who we hire, how we operate and who we are as a team. It’s that challenger spirit and thinking that allows us to truly discover what our clients really want. Therefore, we often start at the most basic question, such as “Why are you spending one million dollars on this initiative?” We really begin to dig deep and challenge clients with regards to everything that they give us, either in verbal communications or in briefs. We do this not to be difficult, but in an effort to make our work stronger and more effective therefore making their initiatives more successful.


CEOCFO: Do people come to you because they understand that you go deeper than others or surprised you do?

Mr. Cullather: I believe we of course go deeper, but the real benefits that clients and prospective clients get from us is that we will create something for them that is on brand, on message and uniquely different. Studies show that as humans we are bombarded by over 20,000 messages a day. Therefore, our clients hire us because we create remarkable moments for them that stand out amongst all of the white noise and blur of the messaging we are exposed to.


CEOCFO: Is the method as important as the message or is the core of it the message itself? 

Mr. Cullather: Absolutely! The message is critical. At inVNT we have a unique methodology that we use to develop strategic positioning and creative tactics. Without the right strategy and messaging the result is failure, but I feel strongly that the process by which we lead our clients through to the end solution is as critical as the message itself.


CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of a typical engagement and then something more outside the box?

Mr. Cullather: At inVNT we are fortunate enough to work with many of the biggest brands and organizations on the planet. We do everything from small, private events, such as leadership meetings and regional or global sales events, to very large, high-profile public activations. For example, we recently designed and produced #PEPCITY for PepsiCo in celebration of the Super Bowl. #PEPCITY was a 10,000-square-foot custom-built pavilion filled with entertainment, art, music graphics, media, star athletes and incredible dishes made from PepsiCo products designed and created by celebrity chefs. Open for four days leading up to the game, it was the most attended and covered activation of the Super Bowl.


CEOCFO: You want to be unique but you want it to be successful? How do you match everything?

Mr. Cullather: We see ourselves as agents of change for our clients. Therefore, we do not do tried and true or ordinary. We evaluate every communications initiative, and we design a bespoke solution that is exactly right for that brand or that organization. We evaluate what the company or organization is, who they are, what they stand for, what their product and/or messaging is about and who their key target audience is. Our job is to create a deeper, richer connection between that brand or organization and their key target audience.


CEOCFO: Do you work with many companies on an ongoing basis or is it more typically project by project?

Mr. Cullather: We work with every one of our amazing clients on an ongoing basis. That does not mean that we do not have to bid for work with those companies, because we do. However, many of them recognize us as their agency of record or have multi-year contracts with us.


CEOCFO: It is a very competitive field. How do you get your foot in the door and get new customers?

Mr. Cullather: We have a very robust new business development strategy that is really successful at getting us in the door. Clients hire us however, because we are not afraid to take creative risks. We will develop and present to them solutions that are strategically sound yet disruptive. Clients come to us over and over again and say, “We need something that is uniquely different.” Our teams are not afraid to actually take that challenge on and then come back to clients with a solution that is in fact uniquely different.


CEOCFO: Are budget constraints often a factor?

Mr. Cullather: Budgets are always a factor, for sure. Even with the largest, most high-profile public activations, budgets always come into play. We recognize this and have developed a business model that allows us to provide world-class solutions at the very best price, every time.


CEOCFO: If you know that you have got a really, really great idea, but it is going to be more than what the company has available, how do you tailor it down?

Mr. Cullather: Right. In those situations or scenarios we will offer a core solution that meets the budget, and then we offer options that we think will enhance that solution. Then, if the client wants those options but they cannot pay for them, we look at ways to modify the core solution, enabling us to include the options at the budget without changing the DNA of the idea.


CEOCFO: What surprised you as the company has grown and evolved?

Mr. Cullather: As we have become a global brand communications agency, the thing that has surprised me the most was the reality of “24/7 365 days a year”. Once you become a global agency weekends and weekdays blend together. There are no more set hours. You do not know time zones or have standard holidays any more. For instance Thanksgiving is not recognized as a holiday anywhere else in the world. When we take Saturday and Sunday off, countries in the Middle East are working. When we are sleeping, countries in Asia are awake. This “always on” reality was a total surprise for me.


CEOCFO: How do you keep up with all of the changing technology?

Mr. Cullather: Millennials. That is how we stay on top of it. They have a really bad rap right now. It may be for some legitimate reasons, but we are firm believers in that generation. We think that they are of the brightest and possibly the most successful generation, maybe since the “greatest generation.” We have many young people on the team, and we empower them to scour the universe for all things that are culturally relevant, including technology. Then they bring those to us and we figure out how to make them strategically impactful for our client’s campaigns. 


CEOCFO: What do you look for in your people? 

Mr. Cullather: It is a rare combination that fits the profile of our team. However, they should be wicked smart, creative, industrious, slightly rebellious, highly committed, collaborative and not averse to taking strategic risks.


CEOCFO: Why choose inVNT?

Mr. Cullather: Clients and prospective clients should choose us because we will communicate their messages better than any agency in our industry. We will, without a doubt, create a deeper, more lasting relationship between their organization or their brands or their messages and their key target audiences. I believe, at the end of the day, that is what we are hired to do, which is to create that kind of change that builds a deeper, stronger emotional relationship between those brands and companies and their key target audiences. Oftentimes, those of us in marketing or business communications get sort of slighted. However we have the ability to change the world. We may not do it like Miley Cyrus does, or like Picasso did. Because we work for the titans of business and industry as their agents of change we really do, have the ability to effectively change the world.


“We have the ability to change the world. We may not do it like Miley Cyrus does, or like Picasso did. Because we work for the titans of business and industry as their agents of change we really do, have the ability to effectively change the world.”
- Scott Cullather





Sally-Anne Andrew


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