We enter the LIPMAN building at West 14th Street, in the Meatpacking District. We take the elevator to the third floor and exit in a very
stylish reception area.
“Good morning, how can I help you?” a welldressed woman behind the reception desk asks us.
“We have a meeting with Michael Mendenhall,” I reply.
“Ah, you must be Anouk and Maarten,” she says. At that same moment Michael enters the reception followed by two happy dogs. “Hi there, welcome to LIPMAN, good to see both of you again, now in real life.”
We met Michael some years ago when he was CMO at HP. We e-interviewed him in the HALO-room in Palo Alto from a HALO-room in
Amsterdam. But it felt like sitting at the same table.
While one of the dogs checks me out by sniffing my shoes, the other dog leaves the stage by going through an open door. “I’ll be right
back,” Michael says, following the dog, “he still doesn’t get the concept of ‘the dog following the master’.
“Come this way,” the receptionist says, making an inviting movement with her left arm. We follow her through the open loft office space with wooden floors. We enter a spacious meeting room, where a man is sitting at the far end of a large table. A laptop and some designs are spread out in front of him occupying almost half of the table surface.
“Come on in,” the man says, getting up, “my name is David Lipman, Creative Chairman of LIPMAN. I understand Michael is meeting you
today to share with you our newest venture, Archetypes. I am sorry I can’t join you, we are working on launching another game-changing business. Only this time it’s a brand we’re re-inventing. It’s a household brand I’m sure you know well. But you have to wait until the holidays to see it! Sorry for the secrecy, Anouk… you know how these things are.”
“I see that you met David,” Michael says coming into the room, followed by the two dogs. “Please sit down.”
Maybe I’ll see you guys later,” David says, while walking out. “Michael, before I forget, I am a Visionary, Artist, Rebel, Intellectual.”
Before I get the chance to ask Michael what David was talking about, he starts off. “Some time ago Archetypes’ founder came to us and asked us to help her. We immediately recognised its social value and interesting business potential so we decided to help her transform the concept into a viable enterprise.”
“Wow, can you do that?” Anouk asks. “As an agency I mean?”
“Yes, well LIPMAN is both a consultancy and creative agency. One of our strengths is we can get projects like Archetypes up and running with funding through our private equity group.
“For Archetypes, our consultancy team created value propositions, defined strategic points of difference, personality, and designed the technological infrastructure. Then our creatives in user experience and visual design brought the Archetypes idea to life as a living brand.”
“So,” Anouk says, “if I understand correctly, Archetypes is an example of how your company model can rapidly incubate and launch a new business funded by your private equity group.”
Before Michael can answer the question, the door opens and a guy sticks his head inside. “Sorry to disturb your meeting, I just wanted to say ‘hi’ to you guys. I am Julius, responsible for strategy and planning here at LIPMAN… we spoke on the phone last week,” he says. “If you have some time left after your meeting with Michael, I would love to share some ideas on storytelling with you. Speak to you later.” Before closing the door he adds, “By the way Michael, I’m an Artist, Mentor, Rebel.”
Before I can ask what that means, Michael is already back on track. “That’s exactly right Anouk,” he says, referring to her last remark. “We’ve created multi-platform delivery of content, community and commerce.”
“Wow, it sounds like a cutting-edge business plan,” Anouk says. “But what’s it all about?”
“It’s a transmedia approach,” Michael continues. “The starting point is an online platform, linked to a series of books. A television show will be the next step. People can discover Archteypes via different entry points.”
“Multi-platform delivery I understand, transmedia approach I understand, but what is Archetypes?” I ask.
“You know here at LIPMAN we believe in the three-way dialogue – not just brands talking to consumers, but consumers engaging with brands, and consumers engaging with each other because of a brand,” says Michael. “This is what Archetypes does incredibly well.”
“Okay,” I say, “by explaining the Archetypes business case to us, I now understand the LIPMAN approach to business. But that leaves me with one question: exactly what is Archetypes? And what is this Artist and Rebel thing?”
“Oh right. Sorry, I got carried away,” Michael replies. “You could see Archetypes as the start of a new global language that helps you discover who you are, who you’re meant to be, and why you love the things you do. The mission is to help you build a place that reflects your personal lifestyle, learn new things about your friends, and find the things you truly love. In short, this idea is about creating your own personal brand related to your personal identity.”
“I just Googled the definition of archetype,” Anouk says showing her iPad. “Archetype – a universal pattern of behaviours that, once discovered, helps people understand themselves and others.”
“Exactly. Archetypes is a tool that can help you simplify things and so save time,” Michael replies. “And it all starts with a small test, called Archetype-Me.”
“And… What is your Archetype?” I ask.
“I was really impressed when I took the the test because I recognised myself in the answer and learned a little something, too,” Michael says. “I’m a Visionary, Intellectual, Artist, Sportsman.”
“Ha, why doesn’t that surprise me at all?”
© 2012 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands
READ MORE STORIES:
Order a book on:
Tags: Global Storytelling Campaign, Anouk Pappers, Maarten Schäfer, Around the World in 80 Brands, Around the World, 80 Brands, Around the World in 80 days, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, cool storytelling, third party storytelling, creating talk value, storytelling, Michael Mendenhall, Meeting Michael Mendenhall at LIPMAN, LIPMAN, Meeting Michael Mendenhall, Meeting LIPMAN, David Lipman, Meeting David Lipman, Archetypes, Archetype idea to life, Julius, Roberge, Julius Roberge, Meeting Julius Roberge, Archetype-Me, lipman-nyc