HP Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio sent out a memo to its five ad agencies: Gyro, BBDO, Fred & Farid, FleishmanHillard, and Porter Novelli demanding that they radically make an improvement to its diversity with women and minorities in its leadership roles.
HP isn’t only calling out their ad agencies, but it’s own company too by creating a scorecard to track its own efforts. He expects the companies to make a formal plan and submit it within the next 30 days on plans for he next 12 months on how to fix its diversity issues.
Yet it’s one thing for a company like HP to say it’s going to fix a big issue like this, but are they doing it for the right reasons? Ad Age sat down with Lucio to have him explain why the change.
Lucio explains, “It’s the right thing to do from a business standpoint, flat and simple. We are about reinventing marketing and to do this we actually have to have a better representation of our customer base.” It also turns out this is a project 12 months in the making. This isn’t a sudden change as a marketing scheme. Lucio and HP have been serious about this for a long time.
I strongly believe Lucio is a man of integrity. McFall talks about integrity as the state of being ‘undivided; an integral whole.’ She means this in more ways than one. McFall says integrity has 3 parts to it, one being coherence. One kind of coherence is simple consistency: consistency within one’s set of principals or commitments. Lucio believes not only that its ad agencies should be diverse but HP itself. Her other definition is coherence between principal and action, ‘sticking to one’s principals.’ Lucio has a belief and values diversity so he’s making a call to action to try and fix this problem and is taking it seriously enough to make a real change. Last note on coherence is doing the right thing for the right reason. As started before, Lucio wants to see a permanent change in diversity (or lack of) because he believes the agency should have a more real representation of our society. He isn’t doing this to get HP sales up, it’s more for the greater good of the company and then reflecting that on their ads.
“A person of integrity is willing to bear the consequences of his convictions, even when this is difficult, that is, when the consequences are unpleasant” (McFall). Lucio knew their would be backlash on his actions. On Twitter people are questioning his actions saying they focus too much on gender and diversity issues. They question whether he’s hiring women for just the fact they are women. He fights this by saying, “You do not start with 10 empty chairs and then say ‘I’m going to have the best five guys and the best female executives and just hire them.'” It doesn’t happen like that. HP looked at what skills and traits they wanted for their managerial positions and created the capability to put the right people in place. The women working for him are the best, they just happen to be female. Another point of integrity, he isn’t looking at women coworkers as “women coworkers” but just as “coworkers.” If that makes sense.
I’m waiting on the day the rest of this world joins this mindset on diversity with Lucio.
I’m looking at you Trump.