Great stories carry great weight

Crafting the Unimagined: A Visionary Leader's Odyssey in Storytelling

HEVĒ™ CEO and Founder Chris Hercik dives into the new rules of brand building that require more cross-platform understanding, as no brand’s challenges are ever identical. HEVĒ, pronounced "heavy," is a global creative agency and production studio that uses strategy to build brands that engage and impact audiences where they are. Centered on the operational and creative ethos that ‘Great Stories Carry Great Weight,' the dynamic team adapts to partners throughout the course of their brand journey and into the future. The team is anchored by best-in-class strategic marketers, creative designers, content creators, producers, editors, filmmakers, and account managers that make brilliant stories "heavy."

HEVĒ was founded in response to their advertising partner’s needs for a single creative agency to handle their brand's marketing, production, and beyond. In its inception prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, HEVĒ demonstrated robust growth, ballooning from a team of 3 in 2019 to 17 in 2023, by working with their partners from L’Oreal, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), Sports Illustrated, A. Lange & Söhne, Patient Point, and more.

At Time Inc., Chris masterminded and built "The Foundry," orchestrating the talents of over 130 creative virtuosos and marketing strategists to curate a tapestry of narratives spanning an extensive brand spectrum. His entrepreneurial legacy laid the foundation for one of his crowning accomplishments: the conceptualization and launch of HEVĒ. This monumental endeavor was synergized in collaboration with industry luminaries, Joelle Mefford (Chief Marketing Officer), and Don Struckle (Chief Content Officer), all under the ownership umbrella of global agency portfolio, [INVNT GROUP] The Global BrandStory Project™.

[INVNT GROUP]™, emerged as an evolution of the renowned global live brand storytelling agency, INVNT™. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the powerhouse agency, a global team of creatives, producers, strategists, marketers defined by a 'Challenge Everything' ethos, and leading challenger brands like to new frontiers of experiential and connection. Kristina McCoobery, the visionary CEO of INVNT and COO of [INVNT GROUP], steers the marquee agency into the future.

On the other hand, Scott Cullather, President, and CEO of [INVNT GROUP] and CEO of INVNT.ATOM, leads the portfolio of disciplines, driving innovative storytelling, redefining audience engagement, and building global communities. BZAR™, the GROUP’s patent-pending, self-funded, content-led digital platform, built exclusively for brands and fans, was recently introduced as a service offering and interactive platform. The now available-to-demo platform (visit enables next-gen collaboration, connection, and co-creation with communities in the virtual world. With BZAR, brands can create custom and immersive experiences tailored precisely to their needs utilizing curated photorealistic environments, proactive immersive commerce, and Web3 integrated features to engage with their consumers, build communities, and drive new commercial opportunities.

The group boasts an expanding array of pioneering disciplines, working in consortium and independently to help challenger brands and organizations engage the most relevant audiences anywhere. With a presence in nine offices spread across six countries and boasting over 270 global employees, the powerhouse group counts on a best-in-class roster of clients and partners, including: AWS, PepsiCo, Lamborghini, Samsung, General Motors, Spotify, Merck, Meta, Pfizer, Netflix, Xero, and more.

When inaugurated, [INVNT GROUP] consisted of founding agencies, including HEVĒ, a modern brand strategy firm; Folk Hero™, an experiential-led culture consultancy; Meaning™; and the original live brand storytelling agency, INVNT. Since its inception, [INVNT GROUP] has strategically expanded its global storytelling and service offerings through the launch of new divisions and initiatives: INVNT.ATOM™, the digital innovation and Web3 agency based in Singapore; Hypnogram™, the boutique OOH-focused creative multimedia studio; and INVNT Higher Ed, events designed for colleges and universities. The group also acquired the newly formed ITP LIVE™, a portfolio of full-service production companies to include InSync Production Services, Thunder Audio, and Any Venue Video that power some of the most influential live entertainment acts in the world, including Bruce Springsteen, Snoop Dog, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Metallica, Post Malone, Tyler Perry, and more.

HEVĒ helps power the storytelling matrix of brands and organizations, often collaborating with disciplines across [INVNT GROUP] to reach new audiences through dynamic content and vision.

Pitch right thing at right time

Over the years, Chris has had the privilege of collaborating with some of the most notable editors, creative directors, and brand CEOs during his successful career. They equipped him with the tools and the autonomy to lead the transition from print to digital design across the web ecosystem and the app frenzy, always thinking about innovation and how mixed reality could change how we experience some of the era's most engaging narratives. Chris, a former Creative Director, leads with constant imagination, keen business acumen, and empathy, always championing his most valuable asset: his team.

HEVĒ, as a company, thrives on being a true extension of a brand’s team, with genuine partnership that prioritizes authentic, impactful storytelling and strategies that fuel impact and brand legacy. They are committed to consistently producing powerful results, no matter the size or complexity of the project. The essence of HEVĒ is understanding their partners' vision and turning those aspirations into storytelling reality. Optimal days involve intense teamwork from inception of a project to completion. Every day, they meticulously review projects, pitches, and creative deliverables during their daily roundtable meetings. This close daily collaboration is essential as client agendas shift rapidly. These meetings foster a culture of visibility, feedback, and appreciation for each other's contributions.

For Chris, anticipating team needs is paramount. Fostering a team mentality, motivation, and a collaborative working atmosphere is critical to the success of HEVĒ. He prioritizes the team's sense of humanity, celebrating their efforts and their collective value. He believes in giving everyone a chance to be heard, fostering open communication channels, and emphasizing greater collective achievement. Leaders, he thinks, should always be receptive, perceptive, and attentive.

The continuous growth mindset is embedded in HEVĒ's DNA. They confront challenges collectively, never settling for subpar outcomes. Employee development is central, with training emphasizing excellence and a shared commitment to the company’s mission of storytelling. Chris highlights the importance of recognizing each member's unique drives, whether personal or professional. Through mutual respect and dedication, teams at HEVĒ take pride in their work and clients.

Chris observes that unchecked issues can escalate, emphasizing the importance of addressing matters promptly. He believes leaders should be inquisitive, driven, team-oriented, inventive, and confident. Effective storytelling demands observing your surroundings and being attentive to every nuance.

In a world filled with distractions, HEVĒ’s success lies in his team’s ability to break through the noise. Keeping distractions at bay is essential, especially when their clients' mantra is "best creative wins." It drives them to maintain innovative and relevant strategies to attract, retain, and grow business.

Authenticity, attentiveness, and commitment define HEVĒ. While senior leaders are present during initial interactions and never leave a project, they believe in integrating the team from the onset, empowering the team through subsequent stages and to completion. They actively participate in all discussions, projects, and strategy, leading to significant growth.

Adaptability between projects is crucial for HEVĒ, emphasizing the necessity of vision and belief in every endeavor. They continue to grow through strategic alliances and new offerings, assisting clients in finding their unique voice during pivotal times. Their innovative spirit, zeal, and steadfast foundation have led to an expanding, formidable team. With brands that challenge everything, they confidently respond, "Challenge accepted; welcome to the future of brand building!"

Posted in CLF | Top 10 Inspiring CEOs of 2023Christopher Hercik, CEO & Founder of  HEVĒ Profile