When Antonio Lucio joined Facebook as global CMO last year, it was a turbulent time for the social media giant to say the least.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal was fresh in the minds of the public, the FTC had the company under its microscope and a (now complete) investigation by the ACCC was in full swing.
Having spent time in senior positions at global heavyweights HP Inc, Visa, PepsiCo and Kraft, Lucio was more than qualified for the position in Mark Zuckerberg’s inner sanctum, and yet the challenge he faced was unique to any other in his career.
Despite all of its commercial success, Facebook had very little experience in direct to consumer marketing.
The billion-dollar platform needed to learn how to tell its story.
“Showing the ‘how’ is part of my mandate,” Lucio said during a keynote presentation at Advertising Week APAC in Sydney on Thursday.
“From a marketing standpoint… we need to create a persona for the Facebook corporate entity.”
With Facebook having acquired Instagram and WhatsApp in recent times, the company is now tasked with the difficult balancing act of owning and running a host of leading tech platforms, while simultaneously putting on a unified front.
“We need need to create that corporate persona that owns the responsibility part of the narrative, which is improving across election interference, fake news, data management and privacy,” said Lucio.
“Have that conversation more directly with opinion leaders, with journalists and consumers and then allow each of our individual apps to drive value.
“One of the most important things that we can and must do to preserve the integrity of advertisers around the world is ensuring that the experience of each and every one of our users has within the app is meaningful and valuable.”
There is no doubt Facebook has changed tact over the past 12 months.
Lucio explained this had been led by a concerted effort to slow down, a far cry from the one-time unofficial slogan “move fast and break things”.
“Over the last 11 months at Facebook I have seen change,” he said. “Radical and fundamental change in the way that people behave, the things we embrace.”
“Slowing down significantly, which is a big cultural shift. You have to slow down to ensure things are right.”
And while starting a cryptocurrency may not be everyone’s idea of ‘slowing down’, it is consistent with the sentiment of enacting social good and ideas of brand purpose.
Lucio spoke in-depth about his boss Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg founded Facebook when he was just 19 and became the world’s youngest billionaire in 2008 at the age of 24.
In many ways, the world has watched Zuckerberg grow up.
From the ‘Zuckerberg doesn’t believe in privacy’ leak on Twitter in 2010 to his testimony in front of US Congress last year, the public has had plenty of opportunities to make up its mind on the company founder.
Lucio explained that with Zuckerberg now well into his 30s, he is starting to think of his legacy.
“He (Zuckerberg) doesn’t need the money,” Lucio said.
“He wants to make sure that all platforms that have been built actually end up working for advertisers and for people.
“I’ve been able to see very fundamental proof that the intent, the resources and the money required to actually make some very fundamental shift is going to happen.
“I want to be part of the solution, as opposed to just sitting in the line criticising.”