What’s The Idea? is a brand strategy consulting company whose purpose is to create for brands “an organizing principle for product, experience and messaging.”  The company sets itself apart from other brand strategy firms through its “Claim and Proof Framework.” Claim without proof is wasteful, lazy and often random. 

Steve Poppe is founder and managing partner at What’s the Idea?  He began his career at ad agency Poppe Tyson, before moving to McCann-Erickson NY and FCB.  Poppe was recruited by Pequot Ventures in 2006 to head up marketing at Zude.com a $10M start-up and the Web’s first drag-and-drop social media platform.

In 2008 he founded What’s the Idea? specializing in start-ups and challenger brands. Over time he was called on to help Fortune 500 companies.  Notable clients include Abbott Nutrition, Biz2Credit, ConAgra, Handcraft Mfg., Heineken, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Samsung, Sunkist Energy, Sweet Loren’s and Trail of Bits. With an academic background in Behavioral Sciences and Anthropology paired with strong business and analytic skills Steve offer clients a unique right brain/left brain perspective.

Over his career Steve has also created successful marketing strategies for Adecco, AT&T, Capgemini, Esselte, Intrawest Resorts, Isopure Plus, Lucent Technologies, Newsday, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Protica Nutritional Research, Teq, U.S. Airways and ZDNet.

Speaking and Publishing

Poppe publishes a daily marketing blog and speaks on branding, social media and technology marketing. Steve refers to himself as a “beyond the dashboard” planner. Email Steve at Steve@WhatsTheIdea.com. Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook.


Client comments:

“I worked with Steve on a brand strategy at Biz2Credit that was aimed at improving our brand positioning for the B2B finance market. Steve devoted himself to our project from day one. His process, like he himself, is very effective at distilling many voices, often with different viewpoints on the brand or product, and discovering the essence of a company. Through different iterations, and with a very demanding stakeholder group, he was able to pull through with a strategic insight that is going to drive our business for the foreseeable future. With Steve on the project, you can expect him to deliver the right result for your business and be a true partner in discovering what matters the most about your brand.”

Charles Groome, VP Marketing, Biz2Credit


“Steve Poppe helped us articulate our identity better than we even knew we could. You know that adage, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Well, we thought we knew what we are and how to describe what we do. Working with Steve – and it was really good conversations instead or work – helped uncover, develop and refine what we are and what we do – and put us on a path to let others know to work with us.

I’ve been through this process more than once with different firms and even been part of a team that won four Addy Awards – so I know how to tell a story. Steve helped us get at our truth of what we do and describe it in an efficient manner beyond expectations. We recommend working with Steve!

Jay Worthington, Co-Founder, Appalachian Specialty Pharmacy 


“Branding activities can be tough for us, as a niche tech consulting firm led by engineers. Working with Steve made it easy and painless. He was efficient with peoples’ time while gathering a wide range of perspectives from inside and outside our company. He created a branding packet that has become a core resource for conveying our business to others.”

Dan Guido, Co-Founder & CEO, Trail of Bits, May 2019

“It has been my pleasure to work with Steve and his company on three projects over the last 10 years and he is my “Go-To Guy” when I am launching a new concept for which I need to set my product apart from the competition. Steve’s unique and insightful process always delivers a strategy that wins. Steve is a pleasure to work with and has a talent for disarming all the stakeholders to get at the true genius of his Branding process.
JoAnn DeTurris, Vice President, Handcraft Manufacturing Corp.

“I was truly impressed with Steve’s detailed understanding of our industry after only a few weeks of background research and interviews. The brand strategy that he produced for our firm was clearly articulated, innovative, and ambitious. It will certainly prove useful to us. I would absolutely recommend Steve, and will likely work with him again in the future.”
Dan Guido, Co-Founder & CEO, Trail of Bits, Jan. 2016

First off, let me just say that Steve’s positioning document (for our mutual client) was outstanding. Having many people work on a project is often a burden and not a benefit as “decision by committee” is dangerous. But Steve has managed to consolidate a rather unwieldy industry into a comprehensive and coherent strategic plan that has actionable items and clear direction. Forgive me for gushing, but we don’t come across it all that much. “|
Jed Morey, President, Morey Group, Feb. 2015

“Steve did an outstanding job on our new brand strategy. He was thorough, professional and creative. He was a pleasure to work with and we are all pleased with the outcome. I highly recommend Steve for anyone looking to change, develop or strategically enhance their brand.”
Simon Prince, CEO President Beacon Health Partners, Jan. 2015

“Neat blog.”
Mark Wnek