March 26, 2020No Comments



Dia Art Foundation

For the most successful brands of today — you know, the ones that inspire genuine enthusiasm and real deal, on-the-ground evangelists who tell their friends how amazing your product is — transparency is what really separates the YES-PLEASES from the has-beens.


Here’s three things we can say for sure:

1. Share because they care

Today, we (we’re speaking as real, in-the-flesh Millennials and Gen Z peeps here) expect a level of “share fluency” — a naturalness and realness to communication from brands. More and more, we value communicating with a brand beyond the confines of buying and selling. There’s a lot to buy these days and we want it to feel good — so it makes sense that we want to feel like brands are building a relationship with us as individuals. We simply want to be seen, and we want to feel good about the brands we support. It’s no wonder that sharing user + customer created content is one of the biggest trends in social media right now.

Levi’s Instagram

2. Let them help you help yourself

Inclusion within your process and communicating directly with fans let’s consumers experience transparency. Bonus: It also helps build community and increases engagement. On social media, brands that engage with followers, repost consumer created content, and answer questions attract more followers (Millennials and Gen Z are twice as likely to follow brands on social media than baby boomers, and 1 in 3 will go to a competitor if a brand doesn’t engage) and increase engagement. Brands need to harness a true identity that runs through every aspect of their business and then let us into the mix.

3. They call bullsh*t

Consumers are more savvy and familiar with the nuances of marketing and communication than ever before. In other words, talk to and with us, never at us. Our bullshit radars are seriously on point, and we’ll hold you to it. It’s called google and their girlfriends — they know EVERYTHING.


Brooke Cagle —



March 26, 2020No Comments


Charles Petillon

‘Cool’ is a je ne sais quoi characteristic of a brand. It’s nebulous and hard to explain or pinpoint. ‘Cool’ simply is. So, it makes sense, then, that many brands might confuse ‘cool’ with what’s working for them or other successful brands out there. We’ve found that authenticity is not only more enduring than coolness, it’s actually what this generation of consumers is hungry for. We’ve found that authenticity is what’s actually working — cool factor is often just cosmetic. And yes, you can have both. Read on for what we’ve learned.

Why “Why” Matters

We love a good story. We are hungry for connection and intimacy. That’s why “why” is the most important piece to any story (not the ‘“what,” not even the “how”). Most leaders and companies start from the outside — the “what.” They champion their product. But in a crowded, noisy marketplace, it’s the “why” that makes all the difference. “Why” speaks to purpose, cause, belief, and motivation. It’s why you get out of bed in the morning. It’s why you’re inspired by what you do. It’s why you’re utterly unique and unmistakably special. Having loyal customers and building a community comes down to reaching out to the people who share your fundamental beliefs — who also believe in your “why.”

Daniel Alvarez —

  • On a scale of 1–5, millennials rank the trustworthiness of advertising and sales at a dismal 2.2. 84% of millennials say they don’t like advertising.
  • 91% of customers value honesty in the companies from which they buy products and services.
  • 63% of customers choose authentic brands over those that aren’t as transparent.

Authenticity Is Real

Coolness can be a pose, a gesture responding to trends. Authentic purpose and story is something we feel. Being cool is great, but it can often be surface-level. And it doesn’t get much worse than faking it. Of course, fabrication or misappropriation of purpose is just as bad.


Okay, But How?

Simple: Rather than claim authenticity, simply be authentic. Ditch “authenticity” as a brand descriptor and instead make it a part of your story, from the ground up. The reason for this is simple: authenticity is not a buzzword, but rather a byproduct of a greater interest in purpose and story. It’s something that is felt on an intuitive level.


Sergio Alejandro —

This is not marketing. This is tapping into, unearthing, honing the truth of your brand’s mission and beliefs. Though people tend to believe that smaller businesses are more authentic than larger businesses, you don’t need to be a start-up to be authentic. Instead, be honest and candid. Rather than hyper-curate the conversation (or worse, disguise the truth), allow everyday people to communicate their love for — or even their frustration with — what you do. Accept criticism with grace and a sense of humor. Respond productively with self-awareness and an enthusiasm to continue evolving.



March 26, 2020No Comments


Ah, the brainstorm… A cornerstone of idea generation; a boardroom mainstay.



What’s shocking though is how many people are wasting their time in sessions that won’t create truly original ideas. The average brainstorming sesh is often stifling some of the best ideas. It can be detrimental to your workplace’s sense of psychological, and creative safety — which you definitely do not want, believe us.

If we’re really all in the business of building strong, successful, and conscious businesses, it’s time to rethink the brainstorm.



1. Group Think Is Real

Stop the group think!!

Instead of calling everyone into a room to workshop or brainstorm an idea, provide team members with a clear brief or ‘ask’ and time to brainstorm on their own.

This ensures a wide range of perspectives and ideas, rather than one showy idea stealing the limelight from all of the smaller, potentially awesome alternatives — OR — a mansplainer running the show.

It also affords people the time to think independently and not attach themselves to ideas prematurely.

When you give people time to think on their own you help ensure that everyone has a voice. You’re also safeguarding against leadership voices bubbling to the top again and again.


2. Listen More, Say Less

Here’s a fact — People often feel a need to ‘fill the void’ with words. This habit, when brought to a brainstorm session, can lead to tumbling down rabbit holes that are hard to get out of. Ahh, we’ve all been there — can we get an amen?!

The only way we’ve found to work around this tendency is to recognize it and be disciplined about the time you’ll take to explore a single idea to its limits. Ask “What if?” only so many times — then pause, and move the heck on.

Redirect to something totally novel. Listen, set a timer if you must. Be sure to always have someone in the room taking notes so that you can keep track of idea threads that might be worth revisiting.


3. Inclusivity for the Win

Calm down — don’t spill your coffee. We’re not telling you to forego the collective brainstorming session altogether.

Once you’ve given people time to brainstorm on their own, go ahead and bring the team together. If you’re leading the brainstorm, ask that everyone share their thoughts with you before calling into the meeting so that you’re familiar with individual ideas and can prompt a kick-ass discussion.

Bonus if you can invite colleagues from a peripheral, though still related, team to join. For example, having a product designer sit in on a marketing meeting that’s brainstorming possible story angles will provide crucial, experience-based details. Sometimes, a slightly different perspective can spur a lightbulb moment.



4. Swipe Right

Instagram, our phones, ads, everywhere you look… we’re inundated all day long with images and visual cues. Don’t overlook our visual natures when you’re brainstorming. Bring some ‘swipe’ (aka dope imagery) into the room, and make sure you pick a room with plenty of space to post-it, scribble, and get crazy.



Might Is Magic

If your team is feeling stuck, look closely at the questions you’re asking. Instead of “How should we?” try “How might we?” instead.

Google, Facebook, and IDEO all use this simple turn of phrase to inspire creative thinking and create a more open environment where all ideas are welcome. The word “might” shifts focus from a single right answer towards many possibilities. It invites participation and maintains a certain optimismthat anyone is capable of generating a great idea.

Now, go on and show that brainstorm who’s boss.

March 26, 2020No Comments


First Millennials, then Gen Z, now another term you need to learn — do not despair. 

Actually, things are about to get much simpler — welcome the Purpose Generation, your new totally awesome friends. 

This is not a deck telling you what to do — it’s a deck about why you matter. It’s time to put down the data and pick up the meaning. Purpose is not marketing, it’s living. Your audience is out there hustling and trying to thrive in a world that’s distracting, fast-paced and constantly evolving. It’s time to become their ally, to give them a friend in the fray. 

This deck is a call to say: if you don’t share why you’re here, you won’t be here long. Deep down, everyone has a reason for being, and when you share the magic happens. 

Click here to read more and find your purpose.

March 26, 2020No Comments


We believe that spending time on vacation, participating in your civic duties, having awkward or awesome family-time over the holidays and paid parental leave are AWESOME.

So let’s end the sadness of writing apologetic OOO messages and let’s bring on an era of showing your humanity and celebrating your time with great OOO templates.

Bonus points if they make others smile and want to give you a high five.



  • [Insert Elevator Music here] I’m OOO and will get back to you promptly upon my return. ’Til then, I appreciate your patience. You’re welcome.
  • Who needs Wifi when you’re on a beach sipping frozen margs? I beg for patience while I enjoy this rare moment of blissful inactivity. Thanks in advance.
  • Got any hot tips for travel in XXPLACE? I’m on vacation ’til XXDATE and am trying hard to avoid all non-travel-tip-related correspondence while I’m away. I will pick up with you again upon my return. Thanks for your patience in the meantime. Wish me luck.


I’m OOO doing my best Law & Order impersonation #juryduty. Response time set to Bureaucratic Sloth.



Sipping eggnog. Ignoring inbox. Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season.



Hey, baby!

No — really. I’m currently taking [maternal / paternal ] leave!

Fear not, I have a superhero squad backing me up, ready to swoop in and handle every detail so I’m not in the least bit tempted to check in when I should be napping or snacking, instead. All existing clients have a dedicated contact — you should have been introduced already — but you can always reach out to with anything. If you’re new to [Insert Co Name Here] and hoping to work together: 1) Props on your expert level internet sleuthing, and 2) Jane is still your woman. We’ll make it happen.

Current mood set to: [Insert favorite GIF here]

[your name]

PS — Can I get a cheers to paid parental leave? Damn proud to work with some of the good guys. Email if you gotta know more. Don’t be shy. We love it.

Send us your favorite OOO replies and let us know if you end up using of ours!

March 25, 2020No Comments


It’s On Agency Owners To Build An An Environment In Which Creatives Want To Work

This article originally appeared on The Drum — you can check it out here.

While suspended upside down on my inversion machine the other morning, well before both the sun and my kids awoke, a tweet from Entrepreneur magazine I’d recently read filtered down to my brain.

“What’s the hardest part of working for yourself?” @Entrepreneur had asked its 3.3 million followers.

It’s a question I’ve often mulled over. And judging by the rapid rate of response to Entrepreneur’s question, so have a lot of others. While many respondents shared that finding and keeping talent was among their biggest issues, others griped that the hardest part of being self-employed is never giving yourself a day off. But it was achieving balance in all aspects of life that resonated to my core.

After having worked for a decade in the all-too-often cut-throat agency environment, my goal in establishing IN GOOD CO three years ago was — and remains — to create the work culture that I’d always wished to find in previous roles. We need to create an industry that attracts the best-and-brightest talent.

But, we’re not.

It’s hard to pick up an industry publication and not be faced with the cruel reality that advertising still has a talent crisis. I’m determined to do my part to create an environment that accounts for the needs and desires of experience-seeking, free-spirited talent. You know, the demo who wants to work their butts off and then play with similar enthusiasm while they are fit and able, not just when they reach their golden years?

With just 15 minutes left to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of my inversion machine before whipping up my daughter’s daily “hungry girl” breakfast, my thoughts darted to an employee struggling with IVF. My small team worked to erect a cone of protection around her recently and stepped in to handle all client asks. Thankfully, she let us. After all, it was this employee who played zone defense a few months prior when another team member took the trip of a lifetime.

Photo courtesy of  Anna Sullivan  on  Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Anna Sullivan on Unsplash

It’s on agency owners to create an environment in which we want to work. But how we ensure we are creating that environment and how we safeguard it sometimes keeps me up at night.

On many fronts, we’ve nailed it. Because our collective of designers, creators, strategists, thinkers, and makers also wholeheartedly believe that how we work forms a direct line to the quality of work we deliver.

We can’t always dart off for days to someplace warm and remote, but we can create and prioritize moments that are imperative to us as humans. I marvel that so many agencies don’t consider their troops productive if they are not sitting at their desks. I, admittedly, can’t fully function in a pen situation with people too close for comfort.

That’s why my consultancy doesn’t have a home office. Our full-time staffers work remotely from the places that inspire them, whether it’s the Soho House, the corner coffee shop, or their laundry room.

Photo courtesy of  TechCrunch  |  The Wing
Photo courtesy of TechCrunch | The Wing

We provide three months paid parental leave and offer uninterrupted medical coverage and unlimited vacation. Seriously. Our Monday morning meetings are more like group therapy sessions, clearing the cerebral cobwebs for the work ahead. We encourage total unplugging when out of the office. And I mean total. That way our workers come back — yes, our company and clients will survive — more inspired.

A Deloitte study found that 94% of executives and 88% of employees think a distinct workplace culture is important to business success, and that there is a strong correlation between employees who say they are happy and feel valued at work and those who say their organization has a “clearly articulated and lived” culture.

Happy workers mean productive workers. And nurtured, inspired talent leads to inspired campaigns.

But if workplace culture starts from the top down, I, as founder and president, must lead by example. I, like the entire staff, do what is necessary to clear my head and stay focused on the work ahead, which means spending the majority of my mornings at the gym and carving out enough cuddle time with my kids.

“Company culture” has indeed become the new buzz phrase. Google’s Walkout for Real Change, which began as a protest against the tech giant’s mishandling of sexual harassment allegations, became a massive walkout by employees demanding fair treatment for all workers, especially women and minorities. Although Google made some changes in the way it handles sexual harassment claims, protest organizers vowed to keep up the pressure for a “truly equitable culture.”

Photo courtesy of  Ian Schneider  on  Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Company culture is not just a motto or a memo. It must be our North Star, our business-as-usual.

As I enjoyed my long-life cocktail of psyllium husk and raw cranberry (it’s delicious, I swear) before perusing my enormous to-do list with a freshly brewed tea, I took a moment of pride in building a company culture that could serve as a model for a badly needed industry-wide overhaul.

And take note: clients are coming. Safeguarding that culture as we scale up is our next big challenge. The 24/7 work week just doesn’t work. Everyone needs to have time to be as fully vested in their lives as they are at work. It’s a modern-day business imperative.


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March 10, 2020No Comments


On the daily, we are checking in with our team — whether it’s from a cab on the way to the airport, a video chat to share our sketches, or sharing new haircuts — being nimble and able to work from anywhere is something we pride ourselves on. Of course, long distance relationships (even working ones) come with their own challenges, which is why we prioritize a team off-site every 6-12 months to get our fill of face-time…the real kind.

We catch a flight, a train, a Lyft (whatever works) to an inspiring place with as much peace as possible, so that our team can zen out and hone in on the team. We get a lot out of these rendezvous — bonding and higher morale being among the benefits — and over the years we’ve learned how to get the most out of rare and precious meetings.


We constantly chat with our team about our current projects and weekend plans, but we use our off-site time to ask bigger questions.


Getting out of our everyday environments gives each team member the space for fresh eyes — to look inward and forward.


As a creative collective, we could talk for days (years!) about the importance culture plays in an organization, and although establishing your company’s own culture can sometimes seem like a bit of a riddle, establishing a working community where everyone can be genuinely heard should remain a priority.


It may seem difficult to carve out time for the whole team to have their OOO email set-up, but those unplugged days help our process flow substantially better. Use this time to reflect, look ahead, and make a collective action plan.


We want all our team members to grow, and a lot of that is creating a space for each person to develop in their own way. By creating a safe and disarming space, we can ask tough questions that come from a genuine place,  and support each other up and out of our comfort zones.


Having this time every few months to come together allows us to question and course correct, so we can refocus on our goals. Is this the work we want to be doing? Is there something more we could and should push for?  It’s vital for us to come together and make these decisions as a team to re-route, grow, and evolve in the direction we want.

March 9, 2020No Comments


My very-nearly-8-year-old son, Hudson, is really into skateboarding these days. In tagging along with him to skateparks, I’ve come to really marvel at a few core aspects of the whole undertaking.  For one, skateboarding is a failure sport. It goes something like this: fall, fall, fall BIG, fall again, and then maybe you FINALLY land it… before you go on and fall once more for good measure. All of this, for just for one trick. This cycle goes on and on and on — two weeks can be spent working on a single trick, a certain ramp, or just making it through a stretch of skating without a wipeout. The perseverance skateboarding requires is amazing — the ‘try try try’-ness of it all.

Then, giving color to the whole thing is a diverse group of kids and kid-like adults, a community bonded by their shared pursuit and passion. Everyone on a skateboard shares a fundamental love of trying something constantly challenging. Everyone is similarly unphased in the face of failure. I suspect that because of this, the community is unbelievably supportive. Across age, skill, and experience, they encourage each other to “drop in,” clap when someone does something amazing — and say “next time, man” when it doesn’t quite work out.  

Everyone at a skatepark is looking to make the great trick, ollie or ramp. But through that effort, they seem to have figured out that they can be great, but so too can others. It is not mutually exclusive. It’s never “when you win, I fail.” 

What a concept, right?

Of course, as a business owner, entrepreneur, manager, boss, and idealist, I can’t help but observe this behavior and wonder what if business and brands were run this way. After all, isn’t this what entrepreneurs do? Keep trying until you find one trick that works? So much of business is fail, fail, fail, fail — the most persistent, driven, dedicated sticks it.

What if we had a community like this? Do we already? Is it Silicon Valley? Silicon Beach? Ted Talks? Google? How do we create more of these types of environments and emulate this type of spirit in our businesses, communities, teams, and relationships? 

Digging in a bit deeper, here are some amazing nuggets I found:

  • “You learn much more from failure than success.”  We ALL know this, no matter how hard or annoying it is to admit. But if we really believe it, let’s walk the walk. Let’s write our own “failure resumes” to actively create the culture and leaders we want. Or check in with yourself every year as an exercise in owning your mistakes and learning from them.

Last week, I went with my son to the Venice Beach skatepark (confession: at the time, I may or may not have been procrastinating the writing of this article — something about the fear of failure, no doubt). About 40 minutes in, my son had a hard collision with another skater twice his size that scared the bejesus out of me. Lying on the emptied out pool floor, within moments he was being hoisted up and out of the pool by fellow skaters. After some tears, deep breaths, and a huge hug, the other kids welcomed Hudson back into the park. He dropped in, perhaps a touch more cautious than before, but still, off he went.

Fall off the bike and get back on. Off the horse and keep riding. Take a moment, lick your wounds, learn from it — but keep moving forward! It’s a simple thing, really — yet no less difficult and awe-inspiring. In the end, I suspect it’s all that falling down that makes the landing feel so very good. 

What’s your relationship with failure? Find us @instagoodcompany or on LinkedIn to continue the conversation, or keep reading and let us know what you think. IN GOOD CO is a culture-conscious brand consultancy championing passion and purpose.