Ryan's Story: From Advertising to Africa, and Back
It all began with Y2K and a career in consumer advertising. For a decade, I worked on brands like Nike, Starbucks, Heineken, and Brooks Running, at well-respected ad agencies like Wieden+Kennedy and North. It was a fun and sexy experience, but at the end of the day, not all that soul-fulfilling. There were definitely good projects along the way--like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and American Indian College Fund--but the work-life imbalance was taking a toll.
So in 2007, on the heels of wrapping up an epic Nike Football TV spot, it was time to zag. I pulled the rip cord from the agency world and headed off to West Africa to serve for two years in the Peace Corps. That's a whole nother story, but as you might expect, immersing nearly three years in a rural African village was a life-changing (and career-altering) experience. This journey, now 17 years in the making, led to the realization that the dark arts of marketing can (and should) be used to promote what's good.
In 2011, after taking a trust fall off the corporate ladder to realign his career around more purposeful work, Ryan Gallagher crossed his fingers and launched GoodGallagher.
For the first couple years, Ryan partnered with ad agencies and design firms (Sockeye, Enviromedia, Thread, Ammonista), as a freelance brand + marketing strategist for clients like Icebreaker, OHSU, Jawbone UP, and Oregon Metro. But eventually, opportunities presented themselves that quickly evolved GoodGallagher into what it has become today: an independent brand strategy + design consultancy for purpose-driven organizations.
Sure, the big consumer brands have more resources to promote their shiny products and services, but there's a whole other world out there of organizations and people hellbent on making this a better place that need the dark arts of marketing too. Often with one-hand tied behind their backs, good causes and campaigns need to raise awareness, spur engagement, and build trust with their audiences--be it supporters, volunteers, or funders. Sometimes even taking on a bigger challenge of behavior change and social impact.
We believe nonprofits, mission-driven businesses, and social entrepreneurs need a partner that understands their world and is willing to immerse in designing a unique roadmap forward--whatever the communications challenge might be. We call this brand marketing for the greater good, and this is what we do.
Our Hub & Spoke Model
When it comes time to put the strategy into action, we tap our network of like-minded creatives to craft the ideal team for each assignment. We align skill sets, experience, and passions on our client's behalf to create a custom task force for the project at hand.