Ex-EPB Exec Opens Aspirient

According to Alan Zorfas, marketers put too much focus on a brand’s public image before determining its image among employees. The former chief strategy officer at Earle Palmer Brown hopes to change that with his branding consultancy, Aspirient, which opened last week.

The seven-person startup, with offices in New York and Dallas, will craft an internal image for clients before using ads to create a public perception. Zorfas said his methods will include “brand action planning” sessions with employees that teach them “to live” the brand, and Employee Commitment Optimization, a research tool that measures internal brand feedback.

Aspirient’s clients include DuPont unit The Invironmentalists, The Scotts Co. and CIT Financial.

“A large number of companies have not taken responsibility for their brands internally—to create an enduring brand is to take control of your brand internally, not just with ads,” said Zorfas, 44, who most recently worked as an independent consultant. “[Aspirient] will help build and sustain enduring brands by making brands more tangible and controllable within the company.”

Zorfas, a graduate of Boston University, said his firm’s name combines “aspiration plus spirit plus science.” He hatched the idea after launching Future Focus, the strategic-consulting arm of now-defunct EPB, in 1997. As managing partner and chief strategy officer at the New York shop, he ran the unit for five years, working with clients such as Citigroup and CoreTech.

“I’ve worked with strategists who put two and two together and make four,” said Sally Philson, evp of marketing at The Invironmentalists in Atlanta. “Alan puts things together and takes things far above [what you would expect].”