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Marc Gobé, the well-known marketing and branding expert, died Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 68.
This story first appeared in the January 6, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The cause was a brain tumor, said his daughter Gwenaëlle Gobé.
When he created his consultancy firm, Emotional Branding LLC, in December 2007, Gobé told WWD he was a believer in the “notion that half of a brand’s image stems from its visual identity.”
“I 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,” said Gobé.
Emotional Branding’s first initiative was the launch of a Web site of the same name, a moniker that reprises Gobé’s well-known book, published in 2001. He also wrote another book called “Citizen Brand.”
Over the years, Gobé — who was a champion of the role emotions played in the design and marketing of brands — maintained a portfolio of marketing clients that ranged from Coca-Cola and Gillette, to Brooks Brothers, Victoria’s Secret and Ann Taylor.
Gobé’s vision in the world of fashion also included retail design. Last January, he was awarded the Retail Design Legion of Honor by the Retail Design Institute.
The awards ceremony at the Times Center Stage at the New York Times Building in Manhattan pulled in 500 industry executives, where Gobé cited several retailers and their store and product designs as among his most memorable projects: the Ann Taylor and Express flagships in New York and the bottle design for the best-selling fragrance by Victoria’s Secret, Dream Angels Heavenly.
He also worked on film projects “This Space Available” and “King of the Line” with his daughter in 2013. Both were feature-length documentaries that explored how outdoor advertising as well as other mediums impacted people.
Gwenaëlle Gobé said her father had lost the ability to speak but continued to be active in the arts until his death.
“He had this courage and curiosity, and he always had a boy’s wonder about things….If he had to speak at his own funeral, he would have said that he always loved his work. He loved sharing his ideas for books, film and art, and that was very important to him. He always wanted to share his vision and the way he sees branding and design,” she said.
Gobé’s way of sharing included marketing and burnishing brand images through social media. He was fond of saying, “The essence of the Internet can be articulated around one word: sharing. Anything that goes on in social media is only interesting because it can be shared. It should be a mantra for any brand.”
In addition to Gwenaëlle, he is survived by his wife, Mariannick, and another daughter, Emilie.
Memorial services will be held 10 a.m. Thursday at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Manhattan. A celebration of his life will take place in La Baule, France, in February.