February 7, 2023No Comments


How brand positioning makes good brands great brands.

Every morning I make a cup of tea. To get more specific: English breakfast*. Without fail, it’s PG Tips. For me, there is no other tea. Sure, it’s the quality. But it goes beyond that. There’s no messing with little strings and tags—because good English tea is made in a teapot. The taste is so distinctive its referenced in their tagline. And there’s the generational tradition: my mum drinks it, my brother drinks it, my nan drank it. Every sip is a little taste of home. PG Tips is a treatise on brand positioning. They have leaned into what makes them, them. And they are winning. Started in 1930, they are the #1 tea sold in Britain and are on international shelves worldwide. They hold the unique status all brands strive for: distinction + ubiquity. 


There’s a book about it. Many brands can be everywhere with good distribution but the difference between good brands and great brands is understanding your brand distinction—and living it.

Often, brand positioning, or what makes you distinctive, is C-suite activity that rarely trickles down into every aspect of the brand. And yet it should be the culture of the brand. It should be your main squeeze. 

As brands grow, extending into new categories or new audiences, there is often a race to grab every coin. In doing this, brands often lose what made them distinctive. They lose perspective in favor of widening their pie. Yet, historically, successful brands narrow their focus rather than broaden it.


When Crocs trimmed its product selection by 30-40% to focus its efforts in their main clog, business sky-rocketed. When they focused on their main squeeze—they grew. Perhaps they shaved off some underperforming products but that doesn’t explain this level of growth. They leaned into what made them distinctive. Crocs was always for the slightly weird and subversive. Polarizing but delightful. The deeper they leaned into this position at every turn, the stronger they became. They did it with Jibbitz, brand partnerships, the list goes on and on. They narrowed their focus on what made them great and they went big on being everywhere in an unignorable way. Distinction + ubiquity—achieved. 


Take Fishwife. They make tinned fish. They made their brand so distinctive it’s repositioning the WHOLE category. They have 48k followers on Instagram. The incumbents? Starkist, 17.8k. Bumble Bee Foods, 8k. Chicken of The Sea, 5K—Fishwife is clearly doing something right. They have a beautifully distinctive brand. From the illustration style, to their clear POV on who eats their tinned fish, to the partners they collaborate with. They are tuned in to what their consumers love. They ensured their spots at every shoppy shop* nationwide and they just inked a deal with Whole Foods. Distinction + ubiquity—check. If you’re not eating them yet, they’ll be improving your pantry any day now.

Liquid Death—another great example. They sell water. Everything about their success is positioning. And they lived it at every turn. They made distinction so core to their DNA it drove viral fame. Distinction + ubiquity status unlocked. Current valuation: $700 million. 


Tight positioning improves business, yes. And it drives ubiquity—the goal. But what’s often overlooked is how much a clear brand distinction will improve the lives of your team—business even gets better INSIDE the company. All decisions, from platforms to partnership, product categories to campaigns become clearer. When teams are guided by a strong position at every turn, living it daily, when they know your main squeeze, the how/when/where of the brand is clockwork.

This is not a plea to narrow your product categories down to one. The one thing you are good at is not a product. It’s your perspective. Your position is your distinctive take on your category, your audience, culture AND your product. Make it your guiding light. Make it the kool-aid. Make it WWJD. Make it something you live every day. Make it everything you do and everything you love.

Make it your main squeeze and see what happens. 

*Tell me you’re English without telling them you’re English

**We happen to love the shoppy shops

February 7, 2023No Comments


The Need for Clear Positioning

Read more

February 7, 2023No Comments

THE FUTURE IS ON CO-PILOT—and we’ll love it

A case for why AI might not end the world

There’s something about the AI frenzy that recalls Y2K. A level of irrational panic that causes even the most logical among us to instinctively buy 6 bottles of water for a family of 5. 

I think this panic is misplaced. First, let’s face facts: AI will be everywhere. It’s not a question of if but when. And this could a good thing. 

We need to rebrand AI.

It’s not a bot coming for your job.

It’s a co-pilot to your life.

Just as you Google even the most basic fact or pull up an app to get you to a place you already know the way to, just with less traffic, AI will run alongside you. Assisting and lifting the monotonous burdens that we all secretly know we’ll be delighted to let go of.

Let us put aside the panic and ask: is AI the future of work happiness? A co-pilot to free up our time, allowing us to be our best human-selves? 

If I’m hearing Matt Klein’s research correctly, the answer is yes. Humans are better at making the magic connections happen. At bridging complex business needs. At finding synergies that no bot can see. At imbuing depth and meaning. But AI can sift through the muck and uncover bits of gold we might have missed. 

AI needs to be viewed as a super handy collaborator, not a nemesis. And we’ll all have a co-pilot soon enough. 

  • Electricians will have a co-pilot for the super complex raceways. Humans will still be there implementing the solutions.
  • Architects will have co-pilots to help them adapt to local codes, assist with the n-teenth stair solution or reconfigure because of a duct discovery. But there’s no AI that can navigate the emotional meaning of ‘home’.
  • Assistants will have assistance. But we all know a recap is just an outline.
  • We’ll scan giant documents without using keywords. But navigating the complex realities of business priorities—that’s a human superpower.
  • Dalle-2 will feature in every design field. But there’s so much more that goes into a design than what it looks like. 
  • Agencies will generate ideas for pitches, and even ads. But once the novelty of it wears off, humans will still need to uncover the deeply weird, unexpected realities that are the bedrock of great ads.
  • AI might write our quizzes (and we’ll be glad of it!) But something with of true substance is impossibly far off. 
  • Doctors will get AI-powered tools to translate bad penmanship. Perhaps this will free up time for the the human side of patient care.
  • Yes, there will be tools to make editing videos faster and easier but it will still require a vision, a director, to guide how it all unfolds. If you think AI will replace A24’s magic, you’re mad. 
  • Toy companies will play with making fun virtual prototypes but they’ll still engage with customers to see what actually matters. ‘Shop small’ has proven we don’t truly love to buy from robots.
  • There will even be a co-pilot for you. A digital twin to practice tricky surgeries on, to track and predict more preventable disease—this is the stuff of dreams not the stuff of nightmares.

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of potential applications for AI we’ve been wanting and needing.

If you have ever navigated applying and REAPPLYING for your elderly parents’ Medicaid, you will fall in love with the AI that helps ease that burden. 

Imagine when AI gets so good that moms will have reduced emotional fatigue from a few monotonous tasks being taken off her plate.

When the lonely have access to an AI that remembers all their stories and can engage them in meaningful conversation.

When an AI that let’s you find a specific piece of advice in a book you own without the hassle of flipping through the entire book yourself. Heaven.

Co-pilots will be amazing. 

That said, I think AI is still in its—to continue with our ‘aughts references—Limewire phase. We’re stealing on a daily and personal level. I don’t think this will last long. Once we get out of the ‘free fun’ phase and this becomes a truly entrenched part of our lives we’ll be paying for it like we do the rest of the internet. Some stuff will be free (mainly the stuff that makes money off you in other ways), the rest you will pay for. Artists will license their styles. Authors their books. Specialists their know-how. Already, tools are coming out to tell you if something is AI generated. These are growing pains. Annoying? Yes. Reason for panic? No. 

So if you need to buy 6 bottles of water to calm your nerves—go for it. But I think 6 will be more than enough. Spend the rest of your time planning  what you’ll do with the fraction of extra spare time AI might provide as it creates shortcuts to daily life. I for one am one mom ready for a trusty co-pilot.

PS. Obviously we had to make some AI generated image for the cover of this piece. I can tell you now that I spent way too long trying to smash the right words together to get something even passably acceptable. This no doubt will change but we’re not in the future just yet y’all.

Attempts prior to a mediocre finale:

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 — unsplash.com



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 — unsplash.com

  • 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 — unsplash.com

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


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 jane@insertcohere.com 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 hello@insertcohere.com 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! hello@weareingoodco.com

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. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/03/smarter-living/failure-resume.html.

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.