Over a March weekend, COVID-19 turned the way business is transacted in the Inland Northwest on its head. By Monday, Liberty Lake resident Dayne Kuhlmann had scheduled three weeks’ worth of Facebook Live Q&A sessions with experts to provide crisis-specific help for local businesses on topics from food service to financial options to marketing.
What might have required weeks of planning came together quickly and organically for Kuhlmann and his Victory Media marketing agency. Kuhlmann held video sessions daily and started building a waiting list of experts willing to help.
“Part of this is the magic of our community,” Kuhlmann said. “Our network of clients and community is just amazing. We attract the type of people who want to help one another.”
This is exactly what he was looking for when he left the traditional marketing world — “I was absolutely miserable with my job” — and launched Victory Media in 2017. He ran it solo out of coffee shops that first year, but less than three years later leads a 12-person agency representing brands all over the Northwest.
On April 1 of this year, Victory Media merged with MDI Digital, a longtime Spokane marketing company, under the Victory Media banner, a move that accelerated Victory’s growth and capabilities beyond Kuhlmann’s original projections.
“It happened way faster than I thought it would,” he said. “I put myself on a 10-year track to get where we are now. With a lot of favor and luck, we’re at this point.”
Kuhlmann credits his team, who took home a handful of American Advertising Federation Awards in its 2020 competition.
“We want to be the best,” he said. “Even though there are some great agencies out there, we want to be the premier. We want to be the agency people want to work at. We want to be the agency clients want to work with. We want to set the trend.”
Kuhlmann was honored as a 20 Under 40 Award winner in the December issue of Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living, and he deflects a lot of credit to a spot on the map between those two cities.
“I genuinely don’t think it would have happened this fast or with this much support if not for Liberty Lake,” he said.
NOTE: A version of this article first appeared in the 2020 Liberty Lake Yearbook.