5 Minute Read

Red Branch Media: We Don’t Coast

I live in Omaha, Nebraska. While this has been the source of many jokes (Do you wear overalls to work?), lots of confusion (You get tornadoes in Oklahoma right?) and some derision (I’ve flown over Nebraska many times….looks flat), it is something that I am today, very proud of.

Recently, a group of creatives and business leaders in the Greater Omaha area has come up with an amazing new campaign built around the “We Don’t Coast” concept. It accepts who we are (i.e. not Silicon Valley or New York) while pointing out something I’ve long loved about the area, its incredible work ethic, especially among and within the entrepreneurial community.

As an entrepreneur, the ‘We Don’t Coast” mantra resonates with me very closely. Building a business is HARD, building a bootstrapped business is HARDER, building a bootstrapped service business in a super niche market, may just be HARDEST of all (check back with me if I ever do, say….anything else).

I used this local phraseology in a meeting last week where I told my team the same thing. We don’t coast…because we genuinely can’t. There is no room or grace for “off-weeks”. That kind of lifestyle is not for everyone. There are places where you can relax after the big conference or trust that your colleague in the next department will catch your mistake. That doesn’t work in a small company, probably never will. Here is how We Don’t Coast is translated in Red Branch Media:


My mom used to ask us if we were finished cleaning our room and then ask again: “Are you sure you don’t want to go double check?” All ten little feet (yes there were five of us girls) would run back upstairs to “double check” our work, realizing our hastily made beds probably wouldn’t pass muster and yes, mom WOULD check in the closet for that pile of clutter. At Red Branch, double checking MUST be part of the process or we’ll miss something.

Fool me once.

I will defend the team in front of clients who question the quality of work if it’s never happened before, and I will give my team the benefit of the doubt if it happens a second time. But when more than one person makes the same complaint, it means the issue is something we failed to control and that’s when I have to confront the team (and maybe myself…maybe). It’s not okay to assume that we’re above screwing up just because we try hard not to.

No resting on laurels.

Laurels will poke you in the rear end. You got 10,000 shares on an article? Great. Have you figured out what you did right? How you’re going to do it next time? You’ve created 4x the leads for a client in a month? Fantastic, how will you improve on that next month? So you nailed the tone for client A but cannot seem to please client B? Shutting down isn’t okay, keep pushing until you nail it all around.

Stand UP.

Nothing disappoints me more than someone who cannot take responsibility for his or her mistakes. When every typo comes with a 20 minute conversation or a laundry list of reasons its not their fault, I just can’t hang. At Red Branch Media, we do our level best to make sure mistakes are fixed, not discussed ad nauseum.

Be proud.

As Red Branch continues to grow, I want the team to be proud of their accomplishments. We see when our articles are of a higher quality and our deliverables faster and more comprehensive than what a client is used to or what others might be offering. Instead of being smug, I encourage the team to be proud. Being smug will ultimately make us believe that our standards are too high and we can relax them. We cannot. Pride in that work (I believe) will drive us to bring the watermark up within our company and within our industry.

We. Don’t. Coast.