It was a sunny, tunny spring day in the Hundred Acre Wood, and Pooh and Piglet were walking along the trail, looking for something. They had forgotten what they were looking for, but decided to keep looking anyway, in case it was there. As they debated whether it was or wasn’t or could be, they came across Eeyore, who was kicking his iPhone with his hoof.

“Bah!” said Eeyore, and “Pumph!” and “Funff!”

“What’s the matter?” asked Piglet.

“Nothing,” sighed Eeyore, “At least, nothing you would care about. My merchandise numbers are in the dumper.”

“Oh dear,” said Pooh.

“You can’t sell a stuffed blue donkey with a pin-on tail anymore. If it doesn’t have a touchscreen, nobody wants it.”

“Oh dear,” said Pooh again, not knowing what else to say.

“Well, it’s very easy for you to ‘oh dear.’ You’re the brand anchor. You are the brand,” replied Eeyore, “but I’ll tell you something I know that you do not know. All of our numbers are way down, even yours. Do you know how poorly our movie did last year? Did you even know we had a movie last year? We’re simply out of date. After all, we are nearly a hundred years old.”

Pooh tried to count to a hundred in his head, but he only got to G.

“Of course,” Eeyore continued, “at least I have a back up plan. There’s always the glue factory.”

Piglet patted Eeyore on the knee, which was as high as he could reach.

“See? Piglet understands,” Eeyore said to Pooh. “His numbers are even worse than mine.”

Piglet’s ears drooped a little.

All three of them sat on a log and pondered. Pooh thought back and realized that his latest royalty payment was two hunny pots less than the last one, and that one was three hunny pots less than the one before that.

“Perhaps we could build a house out of sticks,” suggested Pooh helpfully.

“I’m afraid that won’t help, Pooh,” said Piglet, and they pondered some more.

“I could turn an umbrella into a boat!” Pooh offered.

Eeyore rolled his eyes and huffed.

“What if we caught a Heffalump and—”

Piglet put his paw on Pooh’s knee and said, “Shh.”

After much more pondering, Pooh said, “Sometimes if I think and I think until I run out of thinks, I just start a hum, and then I get some more thinks.”

Pooh began,

Eeyore is feeling quite blue,
Although he really is actually blue,
If all the girls and boys
Don’t buy his Eeyore toys
So what does Eeyore do when he’s broke?
Just relax and have a Coke!

“It isn’t a very good hum,” Pooh thought, “No, not so very good.”

“Pooh!” cried Piglet, his ears a-quiver, “That’s it!”

“It is?” asked Pooh.

“Surely it isn’t,” added Eeyore.

“It is,” insisted Piglet, “We need to strengthen our brand and create more presence with vigorous cross-marketing! We’ve been focusing on product when we need to focus on brand!”

“Piglet, you fool,” said Eeyore, “Our faces are already on everything from bedsheets to coffee mugs. Face it, we’ve milked this brand for all its worth.”

“No, Pooh is right! You’re just talking about licensing; I’m talking about leveraging the brand family in completely new directions with cross-market tie-ins. We could reach whole new demos that we haven’t touched before. We’re part of one of the largest communication companies in the world, and yet our brand is almost totally un-networked! I’ll go tell Christopher Robin, and you go look for brand partners!”

- - -

The next quarter, all the animals met in the Hundred Acre Live/Shop Lifestyle Development Center, and Christopher Robin gave a PowerPoint presentation on his Sony Vaio laptop.

“Those of you who are able to read can see that between the added revenue stream of selling placements from other brands and the increased awareness by cross-marketing into previously untapped venues, we have begun to turn the corner. We are now leveraging strategic partnerships to optimize market reach and have expanded our new media presence. You will also notice over here that I have made a large letter ‘A’ in the dirt with a stick. It’s a very useful letter.

“I don’t need to tell you that this is due to the inspiration of one very important bear. Pooh, please come forward and kneel.”

Pooh did as instructed, and Christopher Robin touched him on the shoulder with a stick, which was a sword. “I dub thee,” said Christopher Robin, “Pooh Bear, Chairman of Brand Management and Stoutness.”

All the animals, even Rabbit’s Friends-and-Relations, stood on their back legs and applauded for Pooh Bear, CBMS.

Pooh smiled, for he knew he was a strategic, helpful bear. He scratched his furry nose with his Transformers laser machine-gun arm.

That kind of bear.