The Four Truths That Drive Us

Most of what passes for creative work these days isn’t creative & doesn’t work.
What's the last thing you saw produced to promote a company or initiative that you would consider memorable? Or a product or experience that felt particularly well designed? Be honest.
How often do you see carbon copy marketing campaigns or brands trying to draft on the success of some other company's original idea?
How many times have you been pitched a campaign or project based on the promise of how successful it was going to be only to see it flop?
Building a successful in-house marketing or creative team is hard.
Top talent is hard to find and nearly impossible to retain. This leads to unfulfilled marketing and creative strategies, overworked team members, low morale & mid-grade results.
In cases where you're working with multiple outsourced agencies, rarely do they communicate with one another, leading to gaps in alignment with your objectives, frustration & wasted time.
When the going gets tough, marketing and creative teams tend to be the first cut, leaving executives struggling to stay relevant in the market, meet revenue goals & rehire the best talent when the going gets better.
Hiring agencies is a
hit or (mostly) miss
Hiring agencies is a hit or (mostly) miss proposition.
Agencies tend to find a solution that worked once or twice, and then replicate it for every new project, even though each project comes with unique opportunities, needs & challenges.
Full-service agencies that "do it all" are constrained by the capabilities and capacities of their existing team and, depending on demand, may delay aspects of projects as they scramble to plug holes in their in-house roster.
And even then, they may not bring in the right supplemental talent for the job because they are limited by their network and the agency model is not designed to pivot fast enough to respond to rapidly shifting client and market needs.
The best talent increasingly knows they don’t need to work at either.
The future is flexible, strategic & agile.

It's dynamic, diverse & decentralized.

And it belongs to independent talent and light, focused creative teams.
U.S. Independent Workforce
2017-2028 / millions
% of creative (marketing, design, copywriter, etc) workforce that identifies as 'independent'

The Technological Imperative

Tech drives the conversation. We know it well.
Our leadership team has worked at the forefront of the tech/creative nexus for the past 30 years so we've learned to imagine where it might take us even when it barely exists. At the same time we've become intimately familar with the shortcomings of the dominant creative model.
As technology accelerates, companies need to be ever more agile, and today that means companies that look nothing like anything we've seen, designed from the ground up to move with the pace of innovation.

SOVA Leadership Team

Sam Sova
Founder / chief executive officer
I grew up in Milwaukee and like most midwesterners (I’m finding), I moved away and now have “moved back home.” I’ve traveled all over the world, and have had the privilege to experience technology and cultural revolutions in marketing and creative in the heart of it, whether it be Silicon Valley or New York. 

My career path has been multi-industrial and corporate driven (Fiserv, AT&T, TIAA, Johnson Controls to name a few), as I’ve taken roles that are seeking to transform or think about how organizations can do marketing and creative better. In my 15+ years at industry leading organizations I consider myself an accomplished, creative, and solutions-oriented marketing expert and demonstrated success in delivering outstanding results across business development, marketing, branding, communications, public relations, social media, and digital transformation. I’ve always had the drive and curiosity to do things better.

I’m an intuitive strategist with specialized expertise in orchestrating and implementing forward-looking, differentiated branding campaigns to drive consumer awareness, interest, and conversion. I’ve developed a track record of success in redefining and refreshing the branding voice and tone across all marketing assets to connect better with target audiences. 

Through my experience in corporate roles, I’ve worked with more than fifty marketing and creative agencies and I think there is a better way to do it, and that’s what Cristian and I are building here at SOVA. A new type of marketing and creative services company that has technology at its core and only brings top talent to have the privilege to serve our clients.
Cristian Fleming
partner / chief creative officer
I was born somewhere in California, but having moved frequently as a child, I continue to answer the question, “Where are you from?” with, “All over.” A mobile upbringing offered me a view of diversity that continues to inspire my ideas about the world, and the formative Montessori education I was fortunate to have been gifted by my parents instilled in me an (at the time unrecognized) understanding of how designed experience can electrify one’s perspective on how to navigate it. I went to art school to become an illustrator and through my training I learned about visual composition - also design. As I grew in my creative training, through my experiences,  and from people I met along the way I learned that that visual composition could be applied to not just what we see but everything we experience, and that design could simply be thought of as informed intention. My personal understanding of this paralleled a larger move, led by companies like IDEO to expand the definition of design to thought processes – design as a process to catalyze many potential outcomes.

In 2011 I founded a design company, The Public Society, with an ambition to create visual design for the greater good, Over time The Public Society evolved into a human-centered collaborative employing design as a process, in order to create systems, experiences, brands, platforms, tools, spaces, and ideas for organizations and companies endeavoring to build a more equitable world – collaborating to tell their stories and build systems so they can do their work more impactfully.

In 2021 I was formally diagnosed with autism, which has offered me further insight into my lifelong fixation with the practical and psychological application of designed systems, and led me deeper into my love of design as a genuine science with the track record of changing the world.

In 2023 Sam and I recognized a shared vision and passion for what the future of creative companies could be, and how we might build a better experience for both clients and talent. This is what we're building at SOVA.

I believe that while professional biographies tout professional experience lived experience is of equal or greater importance as it relates to the people we become professionally and should, in turn, influence the work we do in the world, and how it affects us, the people around us, and everyone our work touches.