Ex-Guidemark CEO Matt Brown hangs out new shingle, Brand Mettle

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Former Guidemark Health CEO Matt Brown has launched a new agency, Brand Mettle. The new agency, which opened its doors last week, will focus exclusively on “experienced consumers.” His partner in the venture is Amy LaGrant, who was previously SVP of strategy for Bluespire Senior Living — an agency owned by High Road Capital Partners, the same private equity firm that owned Guidemark.

Brand Mettle will focus on consumers aged 50 and older, Brown said. It will target companies in financial services, housing, travel and leisure, and consumer packaged goods as well as in healthcare. Brown said the agency plans to employ as many as 20 people by the end of the year.

See also: Matt Brown leaves Guidemark Health after merger falls through

Brown said he envisions pharmaceutical clients comprising 20% of the agency's eventual business mix, noting that it is not currently working with any pharma companies. Should Brand Mettle work with drugmakers, it would likely be on “a product in cardiovascular, or dementia,” Brown said.

The agency chose to focus on this older age group because they're “underserved” by agencies, Brown added. He noted that agencies often take an “ageless” approach that can marginalize older audiences with significant purchasing power.

“In the healthcare space, we're saying the same thing and doing the same thing, but the mature brain is different,” Brown said. Brand Mettle plans to celebrate those differences by not portraying people 50 and older as either weak and frail or by showing an “older person acting young.”

See also: Guidemark Health 2016

Brown's co-founder, LaGrant, will be the agency's “thought leader,” he said, leaning on her expertise as a gerontologist. In 2009, LaGrant helped launch Continuum Crew, an agency that focused exclusively on Baby Boomers. That firm was backed by J. Walter Thompson. Brown, for his part, will serve as the agency's branding lead.

The location of the agency's headquarters has not yet been determined, with Morristown, NJ and California as two potential locations. Brown resigned as CEO of Guidemark Health in December.

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