The CMO of HP says marketers should aim to bring a divided country back together

Antonio Lucio, HP's chief marketing officer.

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Antonio Lucio, HP’s chief marketing officer.
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HP Inc.

  • The country is more divided than ever before, but big brands must stand for the basic human truths that unite people says Antonio Lucio, HP’s chief marketing officer.
  • He says that marketers must not hesitate to take a stand in meaningful ways on social issues.

This holiday season, those with different viewpoints, lifestyles, and ideologies will invariably come together – many under the same roof or around the same table. We will all show up with our best intentions and hope for a peaceful holiday season, but inevitably there may be tense conversations. Arguments may flare. Divisiveness may creep in, and unfortunately, we can stop truly listening.

We live in a polarized, political and fractured world. The Pew Research Center released a report in October that shows a nation more divided than at any other time in recent history. Polarization between parties across 10 key political values is at 36%, more than double the divide in 1994.

I believe we all share an obligation to understand this cultural divide, as well as identify the human truths that unite us all. So earlier in the year, HP conducted a nationwide qualitative study aimed at understanding the things we hold sacred, which unite us and divide us.

Not surprisingly, we found that we are united in our desire for a better world for our children. We want them to have the right education and the right opportunities to live a better life. We want them to live in communities that are safe and clean and where people help each other. We value family – whatever our definition of it is – as the most important bond in society and life.

Politicians may thrive on division and conflict to rally their bases. Big global brands cannot afford this. We earn our customer’s trust and loyalty every day. We must stand for those values that unite us. Prioritize people over political viewpoints. Encourage people to reconnect with friends and family. And search for common ground.

Great brands can help create this understanding, playing a meaningful role in people’s lives. They stand for more than the products they sell and make a lasting impact on society. Great brands surprise us, inspire us, make us feel and always motivate us to act. Companies like Airbnb, Procter & Gamble and Patagonia have all shared an aspirational vision for the world. They’ve taken a stand in a meaningful way on social issues – something people now expect from their brands.

This is why HP has released “Togetherness,” a short film by award-winning director Lisa Rubisch. It embodies the spirit of the season with a family struggling to bridge its divides. And it invites us to reach out and build bridges because family is family and, regardless of our differences, we will help each other in the brightest and darkest moments of our lives.

We’re not pretending that one video will change the world this holiday season. But we believe brands can play a meaningful role in people’s lives and a unifying role in the world. At HP, we create technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. We are a brand that values inclusion, which will continue to be reflected in what we say and do.

During this holiday season, and throughout the year, we hope to inspire everyone to set their differences aside, truly listen to each other, come together, and reconnect because we all hope to teach our children that the world can be better.

Antonio Lucio is the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at HP Inc. As CMO, Antonio leads the global marketing organization, including branding, demand generation, strategic events and global communications for one of the world’s most valuable brands.