A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:



Titles: Co-founders, creative directors

Ages: Longie (left), 44; Landry, 45


Creative veterans Troy Longie and Jim Landry have joined forces to launch Minneapolis branding agency Hammer Saw, fulfilling a long-held ambition to start their own firm. Their aim with Hammer Saw is to “build brands that people believe in” with strategically based creative work that solves clients’ business problems, Longie said.

“We don’t build creative for creative’s sake,” Longie said. “We are very much in it for clients’ results.”

“When clients can succeed in what they’re trying to do, that’s the reward we’re looking for,” Landry said.

Hammer Saw clients include a Colorado medical start-up that’s planning to open several clinics nationally, the Center for Diagnostic Imaging in St. Louis Park and Minnetonka-based Famous Dave’s of America, Longie said.

Landry said he and Longie were eager to expand Hammer Saw’s client base and hope to hire someone soon in a strategic account and new business role. They project having a staff of 10 two years from now, on their way to what they see as an ideal size of 25 to 30 employees.

Landry, an art director, and Longie, a copywriter, opened Hammer Saw last January. They previously worked together at local agencies Haberman, Mono, Olson and Clarity Coverdale Fury. Landry has marketing and fine arts degrees from Regis University, Longie a mass communications degree from St. Cloud State University.

Each dreamed of owning his own agency from early on in his career. “It comes from a sense of pride in ownership and trying to create our own ‘utopia’ agency,” Longie said.

Q: Why the name Hammer Saw?

Landry: We like what it represents — two simple tools but together they can build great things.

Longie: They stand for reliability, authenticity and a hard work ethic. And we thought it sounded cool.

Q: How does the agency approach branding?

Landry: If a brand really knows who they are, they’re able to connect with people on a much more intimate and loyal level. If a brand is not understanding who they are, we do a good job of defining who they are. We help bring that clarity to foster a very good relationship between brands and the people they’re trying to reach.

Q: How has your experience influenced Hammer Saw’s work?

Longie: A critical factor that I’ve learned at different agencies is to really listen to the client. That doesn’t mean not challenging them. If they have feedback, it’s more than likely valid. That takes you to collaborating with the client and that’s another value that we have.

Todd Nelson