Minneapolis advertising agency Preston Kelly wants to stay positive.

The independent creative firm has new leadership after its longtime Chief Executive Chuck Kelly recently announced his retirement and a new positive positioning to produce "good wins" for its clients.

"All the negativity that's in our society right now, we want to be the antidote for that," said Executive Vice President Chris Preston, in an interview.

Preston along with President Jennifer Spire will lead the firm of about 45 staffers which has produced work for the nonprofit health plan UCare as well as the local offices of the YMCA, among others.

With the consultation of Michael Fanuele, former General Mills chief creative officer, the firm has refocused on its reputation of working with brands that are purpose-driven and renewed its commitment to produce advertisements that are seen as a positive, welcoming occurrences rather than unwanted interruptions.

Preston Kelly has decided to home in on four values that its leadership thinks encapsulates the brand: courage, originality, openness and positivity.

" 'Good wins' is the most authentic expression of Preston Kelly's commitment to all things good — the work, its values, and everyday interactions with clients and one another," Chuck Kelly said, in a statement. "It's a competitive advantage, yes, but also a general way of operating, in which Preston Kelly really does walk the walk. I know the agency is in good hands, and am excited to see what the future holds."

The firm has hired a research company to produce a report called the "Good Brands Index." The study's goal is to reach 1,000 consumers to determine what attributes make a "good brand." Spire and Preston hope the report will be ready to be published in the summer and that they can continue to produce the study regularly to serve as a resource.

"Good brands win," Spire said. "They are going to have more loyal customers."

Preston Kelly was formed in 2008, as Kelly transitioned the company from the earlier agency Kerker Inc. with both Preston and Kelly serving as its principals. Kelly created an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) at the firm to allow staffers to have a share of the ownership.

Under Kelly's leadership, Preston Kelly was named a Midwest Small Agency of the Year in 2010 by trade publication AdAge.

In the past two years, the firm has added 10 new clients like Mercy health care and Grande Cheese Co. and 18 employees and grew revenue by 43 percent.

Looking forward, Spire said the firm would like to continue to concentrate more on consumer marketing.

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 Twitter: @nicolenorfleet