The hacksaw and the bolt cutter.



Here’s a little parable about using the right tool. Our cellar door is held secure by a Master Lock. The Master Lock keys are kept in the key cabinet and have been for decades. Last weekend they were not. So I looked for my hacksaw to do what any able bodied homeowner would do (argh argh argh) and began ripping. And ripping. After a few minutes I hadn’t even come close to marring the hardened steel. WTF.

So I used the web. Logging on to I asked around the neighborhood if anyone had a bolt cutter. No hits after two days. I went to Ace Hardware, where they had two sizes of bolt cutter, the larger of the two priced at a reasonable $39 dollars. I chose to not invest. At home I emailed a friend in construction who came over with is pair. I snipped that lock like butter. Guns of Navarone!

The point of the parable? The right tool can be a crazy time saver. Most small, mid-size and B2B companies do not have brand strategies. They have logos. Ad campaigns. Website “About” sections. They may even have brands. But they don’t have an organizing principle that governs product, messaging and experience. A brand strategy is a fundamental tool. It help marketing cut though challenges like butter.

For examples of successful brand strategies, please write me (Steve Poppe) at