Mmm, mmm, good design
Lippincottâ€™s branding wizards can take credit for some of the most recognizable corporate identities in the world, from the red and white Campbellâ€™s soup can to General Millsâ€™ big â€œG.â€ Formed by J. Gordon Lippincott and Walter P. Margulies in 1943, the firm is credited with revolutionizing the way consumers think about corporate identity. Through the decades, the firm has honed the art of branding and, in fact, turned it into a science, using a range of analytical approaches to help clients strengthen and develop corporate identities. Beginning with a focus on industrial design, the firm (then known as Lippincott & Margulies) branched into package design and the larger concept of â€œbrand identity.â€ Branding pioneer Lippincott now caters to the needs of more than 3,000 clients all over the world.
Taking a different approach to design than its contemporaries, the firm deployed mixed teams of experts, including engineers, artists, interior decorators and merchandising specialists, to create brands for clients.
By the mid-20th century, with a consumer culture fully in place, Lippincott thrived in an age of expanding supermarket shelves, working with clients such as Dixie, General Mills, Betty Crocker and Coca-Cola. The firm renamed a number of now-popular brands, too, including the former Cities Service Oil Co. (now, CitGo) and U.S. Rubber Company (Uniroyal). In the 1960s, the firm was given a tough challenge: making the Internal Revenue Service seem more friendly and accessible to citizens. To do so, Lippincott helped simplify tax forms, rewrite standard letters from the IRS and redesign logos associated with the unpopular department. Lippincott saw its reach expanding globally along with its clientsâ€™, and by the 1970s, companies like Amtrak and American Express had begun adopting the firmâ€™s brand identity services.
Joining the MMC fold
In 1986, the firm was acquired by Marsh & McLennan Companies, a powerhouse that owns a number of related firms including Oliver Wyman, Kroll, Guy Carpenter, Marsh and Mercer. During the 1990s, Lippincott became responsible for the number of fads that rocked the world, including that of Starbucks, the Simpsons, the Titanic movie and even the dance craze Macarena. In January 2003, Lippincott brought some consultants over to the fold from sister company Mercer Management Consulting, expanding the firmâ€™s offerings in brand science and analysis. In November 2005, Lippincott formed an executive committee, made up of Chairman and CEO Ken Roberts, along with COO Suzanne Hogan and Senior Partners Connie Birdsall, Peter Dixon, Richard Wilke and Rick Wise. Lippincott has continued to thrive under the MMC umbrella as a division of Oliver Wyman.
A sense for branding
For more than 50 years, Lippincott has produced a publication called Sense, devoted to design, research, naming and brand strategy. The periodical lists down marquee designers and brand expertsâ€™ thoughts and insights, tackling a variety of industry issues. The companyâ€™s consultants produce articles on topics such as â€œserving the climate-conscious consumer,â€ â€œengaging customers through sensory brandingâ€ and â€œrefocusing your brandâ€™s unspoken cues,â€ using strategic branding in mergers and acquisitions and brand management on the Web.
Notorious corporate identity
Lippincott remains widely respected in the branding field. In 2004, the firm was honored by the nonprofit group Save the Children for its work on strengthening and defining the organization's brand. A prototype for a new RadioShack store, won the firm honors in the 2005 Institute of Store Planners/Visual Merchandising + Store Design International Store Design Competition. Lippincott has also worked with the publication Chief Executive to compile a list of the top-25 brand leaders in 2005 where Steve Jobs earned the top spot. In 2006, Chain Store Age awarded the firm with the Retail Store of the Year International-Hard Lines (5,000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft.) category for its work on designing a prototype for an Infiniti dealership concept in Korea. Also, Lippincott was an honorable mention in the Casual/Fast-food category for designing a McDonaldâ€™s store in Oak Brook, Ill. Lippincott continues to lead the industry and establish corporate identity for several big-name brands such as IBM, Microsoft MSN, McGrawHill Companies, McDonalds, Walmart and many more. In May 2010, Lippincott added another brand, CA Technologiesâ€”an IT management software and solutions company with expertise on all IT environmentsâ€”to its roster of clientele. Among the improvements made by the firm includes a new marketing campaign, new name and logo for CA Technologies.
499 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 521-0000
Employer Type: Private
CEO: Rick Wise