As the screen dimmed to black and the house lights came up, Binta Vann-Joseph and her team at NPower crossed their fingers and waited.
After spending their entire year’s video budget on five minutes of film, they could only pray that their investment would strike the right chord and pay off. Fifteen minutes later, they felt ecstatic.
In that short time, NPower had more than doubled its previous year’s gala donations of $150,000 to an astounding $360,000.
Moments like this make Issimo Story Agency unique; they tell the stories of those making a positive social impact in a way that evokes emotion and inspires change — specifically, the kind of change that helped NPower increase their online donation campaign by an additional 40%, according to Jacob Hoehne, the founder and owner of Issimo.
Issimo is a boutique videography agency located in Lehi, Utah. Although the company has been open since 2006, it’s only been three years since they realized they had a special gift — telling stories with the power to change the world.
“In some ways, it’s easy for someone to just put us in the bucket of, ‘Oh, you’re a video production company?’ But where we offer the most value to our clients is — before anything has been filmed or shot … or [before] we’ve been hired — help them articulate what is the story that they need to tell,” said Bryce Gandy, supervising producer at Issimo.
This kind of specialization has become increasingly important as cameras, lighting and editing software have become more user-friendly. Just about anyone with a passing knowledge of Adobe Premiere and the ability to work the white balance on a camera can create a decent video now.
The revolution in content creation has made it more important than ever for companies like Issimo to distinguish themselves from a regular filmmaking agency.
This resolve to differentiate the business intensified through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which Issimo graduated from in 2018. An important part of the program, according to the Miller Business Resource Center at Salt Lake Community College, is the growth plan that participants create to define where they want to take their business.
For Issimo, promoting themselves as storytellers and adding distribution plans to their projects was a large part of their growth.
“That growth plan idea has helped us evolve from just focusing on production to the ‘story agency,’” said Hoehne. “We’ve realized it’s about inspiring people around your vision and then attracting capital to your cause. Those are the two things that we want to be experts in the world at.”