Gobé, whose marketing clients have ranged from Coca-Cola and Gillette, to Brooks Brothers, Victoria's Secret and Ann Taylor, will exit as chairman and chief executive of brand-image creator Desgrippes Gobé on Dec. 31 to launch Emotional Branding, which he is funding initially with between $250,000 and $500,000 of his own money.
A believer in the notion that half of a brand's image stems from its visual identity, Gobé said he will "help top companies understand the various parts of the design process and how to leverage it."
"There is a vast gap between top management in big companies, and the creative field and consumers," observed Gobé, an advocate of the need for brands to change and surprise people in order to connect with them.
The new company will focus on consulting projects and speaking engagements, but will not itself do design work, unlike the work Gobé undertook at Desgrippes Gobé. A partner there for 20 years, until the firm was sold in 2000 to a Chicago investment group, Toma Cressey, his efforts included redesigns of the Coca-Cola cans, bottles and cartons; the Brooks Bros. Golden Fleece logo, and the men's grooming products of Gillette.
Emotional Branding's first initiative will be the launch of a Web site of the same name by Feb. 29, a moniker that reprises Gobé's well-known book, published in 2001. The new firm, which is starting with three employees, is designing and building emotionalbranding.com with TV1, a Brazil-based media concern. It is expected to offer a blog, podcasts and online conferences.
Another early effort of the new marketing consultant will be to analyze how sustainability and the grass-roots environmental movement can affect the world of brands.
When his contract with Desgrippes Gobé ended in July, Gobé said, he declined an invitation to return — absent his posts as chairman and ceo — in a role similar to the one he envisions at his new company. He will continue to serve as a consultant for Desgrippes Gobé, which will retain his name for now.