Get to Know HEVĒ: Q&A with CMO Joelle Mefford
Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling
Based in New York City, HEVĒ is a full-service creative agency and production studio built to tell brand stories. Created on the notion that Great Stories Carry Great Weight, HEVĒ is a single end-to-end solution that champions creative, marketing, production, and media distribution. Brand Storytelling caught up with Chief Marketing Officer Joelle Mefford to learn more about what makes the full service shop elite and unique:
What sets HEVĒ apart from other brand storytellers from the perspective of brands?
To become a one-of-a-kind brand requires a one-of-a-kind partnership. We start with your unique origin story to clarify the company’s core promise and connect it more authentically to consumers in all brand expressions. Our aspiration is to live and breathe the brand from strategy through launch, and beyond.
The truth is a compelling brand and business narrative combined with analytics and best-in-class creative content not only inspires, but galvanizes consumers to create lifetime value. This is what we call “Performance Storytelling”, where we provide meaningful brand insights, focused strategies for growth, category authority, technical expertise and execution, and a bit of creative magic.
As part of the [INVNT GROUP], HEVĒ is an exploration of what an agency partner should be – a true extension of your team. That is why we are called The Global BrandStory Project, because like any project, THE GROUP continues to evolve to meet your needs and aspirations. Marrying the depth of our expertise with THE GROUP’s global scale, in real-time, is what makes our collective the best of both worlds.
What is the ethos at HEVĒ?
With a vision to curate creativity that connects, we are humble and hungry. We respect and learn from one another, and love the grind while fighting for the win.
Whether you want to strengthen your identity from within, motivate the world with a movement, or amplify your business growth – we thrive at telling big stories boldly. It’s “heavy” by design because great stories carry great weight.
Most creative agencies focus primarily on “the story” but often ignore the performance metrics vital to gauging the holistic connection. We aim to build better businesses by connecting brands to real people, creativity to strategies, culture to commerce, and ideas to actions, creating enduring client and customer value.
“End-to-end” means something different to us. We create the best-in-class video and in-house video production from commercial spots to social shorts, to episodic and long form narrative documentary.
Creative begins with design thinking, digital insights, persona development, and audience segmentation. That deep understanding allows us to build brand messaging and visual IDs that resonate, campaigns that connect, and content marketing that lives where your audience is. All of which is supported by in-house media buying and reporting, because what good is a great story if no one sees it?
What are the advantages to having high-end content capabilities within an agency?
HEVĒ was founded by passionate media professionals with 20+ years of experience who have successfully leveraged compelling narratives to build iconic global brands.
We use our refined journalistic skills to excavate each of our client’s core value propositions, and we stress-test our work against current creative and marketing benchmarks to ensure the right product is being marketed to the ideal audience in the most effective way. Once we’ve aligned on a strategy, our creative team develops multi-faceted go-to-market plans that leverage our in-house design and video production teams to deliver.
Creative never gets lost in the combination of intuition, emotion, and data. Building a business needs a trifecta of product, creative approach, and sales strategy – in that order. The trifecta embodies our founders by nature – a Creative Leader, a Marketer, and a Producer; and is reflected in our business model through Accounts, Marketing, and Production. The trifecta allows us to embrace any challenge and provide not just 1, but 3 solutions from 3 different perspectives to tell your BrandStory in a unique way.
How do you approach work with a brand looking to find and tell its own story?
Curating a brand vision requires reflection, exploration, and bright minds who bring varying perspectives to the table. We encourage brands to be unafraid, to look inwards and evaluate their current purpose, mission, and aspirations; to draw inspiration from the world around them and explore all aspects of their identity whether new or familiar.
We begin with a brand’s origin story. We love to talk to founders, their families and friends, and other stakeholders who understand their brand DNA. Share with us – who was there, the colorful anecdotes, the moments of doubt, the breakthroughs that defined future success. These are the elements that make brands come alive, and they continue to be fundamentally important as companies grow.
Everyone knows that Facebook was founded in a dorm room, Google in a garage, and Nike in a kitchen where soles were first made with waffle irons. And although these giants have evolved far beyond those prosaic beginnings, their origin stories remain a vital part of their narrative.
Brands, like people, can drift off course from their original purpose without realizing. Owning a living origin story can help keep brands on track by serving as a North Star that guides them through inevitable change.
We start by asking questions… tons of questions that inspire us to deeply evaluate all dimensions of the brand, its purpose, and target audiences. These initial questions help us peel layers to more complex questions and insights on how to optimize the business at any stage.
Finally, we value different perspectives because only with diverse life experiences can we build a brand that speaks to all.
Can you share some recent work from HEVĒ that exemplifies the company’s commitment to putting story first?
HEVĒ has worked with the world’s largest Human Resources advocacy group, SHRM, to sharpen its narrative and connect it more effectively to its more than 300,000 members. As the world of work evolves, so does the SHRM brand. We evolve the creative alongside the business – from their brand voice, to design, to full content creation and commercial creative that strategically hits their target audiences.
Working with our partners at Sports Illustrated, this year alone, we’ve paired renowned athletes with brands to further connect with various sports audiences. For instance, we captured Tony Hawk, Nastia Lukin, and Bradley Beal with Purina; Charles Barkley with AleveX, and Victor Cruz with Captain Morgan in compelling narratives that lived across Sports Illustrated channels.
HEVĒ has recently partnered with tech-focused founder-led, early-stage direct-to-consumer brands to find, connect to, and grow their audiences, dramatically increasing impressions and sales.
This past year, HEVĒ and [INVNT GROUP] partnered with Lamborghini for an unprecedented Web3 campaign, in collaboration with leading metaverse artist Krista Kim and 2x GRAMMY nominated artist Steve Aoki, that auctioned the last Aventador Ultimae Coupé in an exclusive 1:1 NFT. The drop marked the world’s first-ever NFT sold with a physical super sports car and closed at auction for $1.6MM – placing the purchase price in the top 10 brand new Lamborghinis ever sold at auction. Together, [INVNT GROUP] drove Web3 innovation by seamlessly uniting three forms of art: design, music, and cutting-edge technology.
The team at HEVĒ lead creative, design, content, and marketing communications, in close partnership with INVNT.ATOM, [INVNT GROUP]’s Web3-focused digital innovation division. Through public relations and influencer partnerships, the campaign reached a global audience of over 500MM+. The HEVĒ Studio team spearheaded the creative direction and production of the Behind-the-Drop video featuring exclusive interviews with Krista Kim, Steve Aoki, and Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini.
What’s next for HEVĒ?
At HEVĒ, our story is constantly evolving – and we will push our narrative further by expanding into Original Documentary Film and Non-Scripted Series. Share your story, and let’s tell it together.
HEVĒ will also continue to create a broader range of services, drilling more deeply into category expertise areas, and expanding into global geographies of the [INVNT GROUP] at large.
Ultimately, HEVĒ doesn’t exist without the bright minds and diverse backgrounds of our team. We will continue to champion a community of belonging internally and externally to surround ourselves with established and upcoming “heavy weights” in the industry.
About Joelle Mefford, CMO, HEVĒ
Joelle Mefford (Zerillo) believes that impossible only means that it hasn’t been done yet. A true innovator at heart, she pushes traditional storytelling beyond spots and dots by leading marketing and innovation for HEVĒ. Today, Joelle is spearheading solutions across the Metaverse including mixed reality, NFT creation, cryptocurrency and community-based platforms employing technology to tell the stories we wish to see in the world.