By: Bob Hope
“Looking at life from a different perspective makes you realize that it’s not the deer that is crossing the road but the road that is crossing the forest.” — Muhammad Ali.
I’ve concluded that the most difficult challenge in communicating isn’t just presenting facts and being heard but is persuading someone who has a different perspective than yours.
Recently, that has been most obvious in politics. Each side of an issue is adamant and sometimes even angry that the other side just doesn’t understand that the facts are obvious. In truth, it’s not the facts; but the way facts are interpreted.
I am a white male, and somehow white males have achieved disproportionate influence in the world. How we see things is the truth based on our interpretation of our facts. As a white male, however, I represent only about eight percent of the world’s population. In the real world,there are twice as many women in China as there are people in the United States. Dealing with the real world is a challenge for us.
This challenge becomes more and more apparent in my business of communication and persuasion. Well-educated MBAs fill conference rooms with other well-educated MBAs plotting plans on how best to sell products to teens playing in parks in rural Indiana. Executives who get their news from the Wall Street Journal are trying to embrace a social media audience. For the most part, it’s a struggle.
I witnessed a focus group recently where a young black man said he was tired of seeing advertising created by white ad executives in New York, saying, “Yo, bro. Buy my product.” They thought they were talking his language, but the message is the opposite.
We all know our world is changing. For instance, about 20 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic and growing. In just 20 years, the projection is for metro Atlanta’s Hispanic population to increase by a million. University of Georgia research reports that the buying power of the Hispanic market has doubled in the past decade. That reality is invisible to many of us and railed about by some others.
The world I knew is changing right in front of my eyes. And, if I don’t change with it, I’ll wake up one day soon and be irrelevant. So, when tasked to find a business partner to replace my deceased friend Paul Beckham, the choice seemed clear when Atlanta’s premier Hispanic marketing and communications agency became an option.
Gina Espinosa will give me and all of us at Hope-Beckham a more balanced and real perspective when developing plans. We are changing to adapt to the realities of the future as well as today. As the world changes, our goal is to be the most relevant communications agency in Atlanta. We have made the move to do that, and we are excited about what will come. Like the deer, we know this is our forest and we want to see it flourish.