Andrew Lipman has always been drawn to luxury brands in general and to automotive marques in particular, so it only made sense to him to accept the challenge of telling the story of the most iconic premium automotive brand in America.
Lipman joined Cadillac in New York in April, 2015, after previous successes running the Hyundai account at a public relations agency and, for eight years, helping turn the Audi brand into a success story in America just as it has been abroad.
“I love challenger brands and I love helping turn brands around,” Lipman said. “So I don’t know that I’ll ever be the guy who works with Number One and just rides that out. I liked the opportunity to truly change a brand. There’s the right team in place at Cadillac to do it.”
A Vermont native, Lipman grew up with an attachment to luxury brands that started when his father gave him a subscription to The Robb Report. He always “appreciated really beautiful cars,” Lipman said.
Then Lipman was one of those rare people who dreamed “corporate communications” from his first day on campus at Ithaca College. “I just always loved to talk, so I assumed that was what I should do for a living,” he recalled.
And he kept coming back to cars. After an early stint helping an agency pitch Microsoft Carpoint, a content site that now is MSN Autos, Lipman was recruited to run the new Hyundai account by Ketchum Public Relations in 2000. At that point the brand suffered from a less-than-stellar reputation, and Lipman learned much about working with the media to reshape such an image.
Audi of America recruited him in 2006 to help Johan de Nysschen – who then was president of Audi’s U.S. arm, and who became president of Cadillac in 2014 – elevate the German marque in the American market.
“It was tough to make that move, including going in-house to a brand from an agency,” Lipman said. “But I’ve never once looked back. I was part of building something that remains strong today.” And that, of course, is one big reason de Nysschen recruited Lipman to rejoin him at Cadillac.
Another attractive aspect of the Cadillac position is that Lipman is in charge of enhancing the brand through media coverage in all of its global markets, including China and Europe, working with regional teams. This brings him to challenges that vary around the world – such as in China, where Cadillac must maintain its strong brand momentum, compared with the U.S. where a rebuilding effort has been called for.
In Japan, Cadillac must build a brand presence where it’s never sold many vehicles before. And in Europe, the advanced Cadillac communications team is synching with what’s being achieved in the U.S.
“We’re maximizing resources where everyone is out executing individual programs, but we’re striving for consistency, so that media everywhere in the world is getting a sense for what Cadillac stands for,” Lipman explains.
The global job fits with Lipman’s personal travel bug.