Throughout JenniferKathryn King’s career, two things about people have always stood out: everyone has a unique story to tell and every connection brings value. These two realizations have lead King on a successful professional journey, where she went from working with the Nike Headquarters in Oregon to create and grow their marketing and video department to moving to the east coast to improve Men’s Health magazine’s marketing before landing in Des Moines to help Fresh Fit Meals grow to five locations.
By then, King was ready to forge her own creative path. She left Fresh Fit Meals and worked as a freelance marketer for a short time before opening her very own production company, Invictus Media, and immediately began connecting with clients and small businesses in a more profound way than she ever could have imagined.
“I think a lot of business today has become transactional, we forgot about customer service and building relationships, we forgot about the people we met along the way,” King said. “I learned the best way to keep a business going is to keep in touch with clients.”
Invictus Media, a Targeted Small Business, was officially founded in Des Moines in 2018, and originally began as a one-stop-shop marketing agency that focused on web and print design, social media and video marketing. As the sole full-time employee, King managed to draw 10 clients before the caseload became overwhelming. After a few months of being buried in work and therefore preventing the addition of new clients, King transitioned the company to focus solely on video production and collaborate with other marketing agencies and freelancers for the rest. After hiring additional cinematographers, the following months improved as business and creativity alike were thriving. Then 2020 hit.
Now, connecting with and supporting others was more important than ever. As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted businesses across the country and sent everyone into lockdown, King and her team of cinematographers rushed to find a new angle to the business. As the popularity of livestreaming immediately grew, King watched a few too many that were poorly done before setting out to solve the problem herself.
She invested in the necessary equipment and started offering a service that not only recorded and livestreamed events but did so with cinematic storytelling that offered opportunities for pre-show videos and commercials. It was a quick and expensive pivot, but one that quickly paid off in the first few months of the pandemic.
“At that point, there was a lot of uncertainty, people were standing around waiting for questions to be answered. I said, ‘no, we’re going to do something,’” King said. “Sometimes I just wake up and say, ‘let’s do this.’”
Another idea came to light as King noticed small businesses struggle to survive the pandemic, and she set out yet again to create a solution. After seeing a homemade iPhone video segment on LinkedIn that garnered over 1,000 views, she decided to start producing a high-quality video podcast that focused on promoting and sharing the stories of local small businesses at no charge to them.
From there, “Invitation by Invictus” was born and started off by featuring 10 of Invictus’ past clients. The features include a casual 30-minute interview between King and the business owner as well as fun, behind-the-scenes stories and footage. In return for their collaboration, Invictus also produced a free commercial for each business.
The podcast not only provided Invictus the opportunity to grow its network, but also to show its clients and the community that King and her team of four were listening to their community.
“We are not a company that sits in an ivory tower that’s unreachable,” King said. “We understand what it’s like to be a small business whose future depends on offering an affordable and accessible option. We’re here to help you as we can.”
King remembers each and every business and client that’s worked with Invictus Media and takes pride in maintaining and improving those connections. With a product turnaround of 10 days and a business retention rate of about 80%, King and her team foresee a bright future with hopes of utilizing a connection in Los Angeles to join the movie business and national commercial campaigns, though Des Moines will always be home.
Yet through all that, King has another important mission of maintaining and honoring the connections that made all this possible: her team of cinematographers and photographers.
“I always want people to know that I didn’t do it all by myself. I’ve had a great staff that believed in a mission,” King said. “We all love coming to work every day where you get to be your own creative. Invictus survived the pandemic because of the strong staff that believed in the business and my ideas and helped bring them to life.”