2023: A Name Change and a Step Forward in Multicultural Communications

By Gina Espinosa-Meltzer

We’re looking forward with excitement as we begin our 30th anniversary year. But first, I want to reflect on what was a very eventful 2023. 

When I joined Hope-Beckham two years ago, we set a goal to embrace the growing multicultural market, and we have done that successfully. 

We changed our name this year to Hope Beckham Espinosa. Adding a Hispanic name to the company, my name, is a clear statement of just how important this market is to us. 

We began 2023 with what became an award-winning multicultural campaign, Seguros al Volante (Safe at the Wheel), a corporate social responsibility effort to help Latinos learn how to drive more safely in the U.S. and to answer their many questions about how car insurance works here. It was also a successful sales, marketing and branding campaign for our client, auto insurer AssuranceAmerica. 

With more than 700,000 Hispanics living in metro Atlanta, more than 1 million in Georgia, and more than 62 million across the U.S., companies are increasingly aware of the fast-gowing Hispanic market. But it’s only a select few that have begun to communicate with this market, and not just by translating marketing materials into Spanish, but by understanding the culture and the ways to reach this audience. 

I urge you not to wait until Hispanic Heritage Month begins in September to start speaking with the Hispanic market, and don’t confine your efforts to that celebration, just as you should pay attention to the important African-American community all year, and not just during Black History Month. 

To help clients with the multicultural market, we continued to strengthen the talent on our team this year. 

We expanded our services to include a full range of communications offerings: media relations, social media, marketing, branding, community relations, events and corporate introductions. 

And because we know corporations are eager to diversify their supplier networks, we’ve applied for certification as both a minority-owned and woman-owned company. We expect to receive those certifications very soon. 

Bob Hope and the late Paul Beckham started Hope-Beckham in 1994, so we will celebrate our 30thanniversary in 2024. I’m incredibly honored to lead this company now, with Bob’s support, in a new direction, and to continue the legacy he and Paul started. 

Thank you to all our wonderful clients. It’s been a pleasure working with you this past year.  

We look forward to adding to that roster this year. Please reach out if we can help. 

Picking Out the Right Halloween Costume

By: Riley Carney

“Every day is Halloween, isn’t it? For some of us.” — Tim Burton

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I love the decorations, scary movies, and, of course, the endless candy! My favorite part is picking out a costume. It’s the time of year when you can transform into anyone or anything you desire. Picking out a Halloween costume allows your creativity to shine. Whether you’re a trick-or-treater, a party-goer, or just a Halloween super fan, finding the perfect costume can be a thrilling endeavor.

1. Reflect on Your Interests

One of the best places to start when selecting a Halloween costume is to consider your interests. What movies, TV shows, books, or hobbies are you passionate about? Your costume can be a fun way to pay homage to something you love. Whether you’re a sci-fi fanatic, a history buff, or a fan of classic horror, there’s a costume for you. For example, if you’re a “Star Wars” enthusiast, dressing up as your favorite character like Darth Vader or Princess Leia can be a blast.

2. Embrace Current Trends

Halloween costumes often reflect the current pop culture trends. Pay attention to what movies, shows, or memes are making waves in the year leading up to Halloween. Going as a trending character or concept can make your costume timely and relatable. Think about iconic moments from the past year and how you can recreate them in your costume.

3. Classic Halloween Icons

Sometimes, the classics are timeless for a reason. Consider dressing up as a classic Halloween icon, such as a witch, vampire, zombie, mummy, or a ghost. These staples never go out of style and offer a chance to put your unique spin on a well-known character. You can experiment with various interpretations, from a spooky to a cute and friendly approach.

4. Group Costumes

If you’re celebrating Halloween with friends or family, group costumes can be a fantastic choice. Coordinate your costumes with your companions to create a theme. Whether it’s the cast of a popular TV show, superheroes, or even famous historical figures, group costumes can be both fun and visually impressive.

5. DIY vs. Store-Bought

Do you want to create your costume from scratch (DIY) or buy a pre-made one? DIY costumes can be a good way to express your creativity and save money. However, store-bought costumes are often more convenient. You can also mix and match between the two, personalizing store-bought costumes with unique DIY elements.

6. Consider Comfort

Comfort should not be overlooked! Remember that you may be wearing your costume for an extended period. Make sure it’s comfortable to move and breathe in. If your costume involves a mask or headpiece, ensure you can see and breathe properly. Comfortable shoes are also essential, especially if you plan to walk around or attend a party.

Picking out a Halloween costume is an opportunity to showcase your creativity and imagination. Whether you’re aiming for a spooky, funny, or jaw-dropping look, the key is to have fun during the process. Reflect on your interests, stay up-to-date with trends, and think about whether a classic, a group costume, or a unique DIY creation is right for you. Whichever direction you choose, remember that Halloween is all about enjoying the magic of transformation and embracing your inner character.

Gen Z Brings New Insights to Traditional PR

By: Mariana Lopez

Hello! I’m Mariana Lopez, the latest addition to the Hope Beckham Espinosa team. Born in Venezuela, my education took me from India’s UWC international school for the IB to majoring in Advertising at the University of Florida. The power of communication – shaping opinions, fostering connections, and making lasting impressions – has always fascinated me.

Besides bringing a global perspective, I reflect the outlook of my generation, Gen Z. Let’s explore how Gen Z is reshaping public relations. Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, this generation embodies tech-savviness, authenticity, and innovation. 

Let’s explore three key communication aspects of Gen Z.

Authenticity at the Core: Gen Z values authenticity above all. In PR, this means a shift toward genuine and relatable strategies. Unlike past generations, members of Gen Z spot inauthentic content instantly. Transparency, honesty and personal connection matter. PR pros should focus on crafting narratives that resonate, forging deep audience bonds. Their agility in adopting new technologies, platforms, and trends invigorates agency approaches, injecting a modern twist into traditional PR.

Born into the Digital Era with Technological Proficiency: Gen Z, who are digital natives, are fluent in social media, influencers, viral trends. Their Tech-Savvy Nature is invaluable for PR. They navigate platforms and craft relatable content. Their insights fuel innovative PR campaigns, combining modern digital skills with established methods. Their grasp of emerging tech and digital trends makes PR relevant and engaging. Their expertise in digital analytics supports data-driven decisions, allowing for precise impact assessment.

Driven by Purpose: Gen Z is dedicated to social and environmental causes. Members of the group expect brands to share their values and drive positive change. PR aligns with this by linking campaigns to meaningful causes. Gen Z seeks brands committed to bettering the world. PR practitioners spotlight purpose-driven initiatives, while Gen Z’s inclusive mindset brings cultural sensitivity to the agency. This is valuable when working with diverse clients or reaching global audiences. Their skill in bridging connections allows them to effectively access new markets.

Incorporating these aspects into PR strategies is transformative. Gen Z’s perspective shifts communication profoundly, enabling PR pros to deeply connect with audiences. 

I’m proud to be part of Hope Beckham Espinosa, contributing to this transformative journey and helping shape PR’s future.

As our two-year anniversary arrives, the Hispanic market is more important than ever

By: Mark Meltzer

July 1 is a big day for Hope-Beckham.   

Two years ago, on July 1, 2021, we merged GPR Global into Hope-Beckham, with Gina Espinosa-Meltzer joining Bob Hope as a managing partner and co-owner of the company and me joining as executive vice president.   

Gina is an expert on the Hispanic market, named as one of the 50 Most Influential Hispanics in Georgia by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. And one of our goals has been to make Hope-Beckham a truly multicultural firm, while still serving our non-Hispanic clients with excellence.  

I say it often, but there are 62.5 million Hispanics in the U.S., or nearly one in five Americans. They are by far the largest ethnic or racial group in this country.   

There are more than 1 million Hispanics in Georgia and more than 700,000 in metro Atlanta, and that number isn’t going down.   

As David Lewis recently told the Atlanta Rotary Club, people and companies in Atlanta have for decades seen the city through a binary framework — black and white. But as Lewis said, that viewpoint is out of date. The population of the city is changing rapidly, no longer just black and white, but increasingly brown. In 2015, the city’s population was 48% white, 33% black and 12% Latino. By 2050, it will be 39% white, 28% black and 21% Latino.  

Since we signed on, Hope-Beckham has been the only one of Atlanta’s Top 20 PR firms with Hispanic expertise. For several years, we’ve represented the Latin American Association, the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the Hispanic-owned construction company P2K. 

This year, we added the large and fast-growing Hispanic nonprofit Ser Familia, which provides much-needed mental health services to the Hispanic community, and we are working to put on their annual chef-driven fundraiser, Saborea.    

We recently added as a client Park Place, one of the largest privately owned and operated parking companies in the country. It’s a 49-year-old, Hispanic-owned company with operations in 18 cities in 11 states. Its executive vice president, Susana Chavez, is a board member and former chair of the Latin American Association.  

And we’re working with the Atlanta-based auto insurance company AssuranceAmerica, to help grow their number of Hispanic policyholders. To do this, Gina created a corporate social responsibility program — a driving education workshop that provides important information to Hispanic drivers. The program has been praised by Georgia Insurance Commissioner John King, the only Hispanic statewide elected official in Georgia.   

We’ve also added our first Latina staffer, Mariana Lopez, who hails from Caracas, Venezuela, and is fluent in both English and Spanish. She joins Manny Portillo, who is Mexican-American.  

Building our multicultural business doesn’t mean our other clients are any less important. We’re incredibly proud to work with Google, Norfolk Southern, Greenberg Traurig and others. For them, our expertise in the Hispanic market is a nice addition to the other work we do.   

Bob, Gina and I are very excited for what the future will bring.    

If we can help you, please let us know.   

Mental Health Awareness Month: Why Kids are the Key for a Mentally Healthier World

By: Holly Brochmann

Mental health is a topic I’m always eager to discuss, so when my colleagues at HBI offered me May’s blog post in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I jumped at the chance to share my thoughts.

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to mental health. The good news is that awareness of its importance has increased exponentially, and a willingness to talk about it and seek treatment has subsequently increased. The bad news is that its severity and prevalence has likewise skyrocketed, resulting in some pretty horrific statistics in the areas of suicide and gun violence, for example.

Like most large-scale issues, there’s no quick fix and the solution is a complex, multi-faceted one. For instance, we need to increase (significantly) the number of bilingual mental health providers in this country to correspond with the rapid growth of the Hispanic population. A shoutout to HBI client Ser Familia, who’s dedicated to this very issue. We also need to expand awareness and access to resources among low-income populations. And, I think our country needs to launch a campaign specifically targeting boys and men – a campaign that negates the age-old notion that men are supposed to be “tough” and that sensitivity or displays of emotion are considered weak. As a result, many men avoid opening up about their feelings and are resistant to seeking help. I recently lost a male friend to depression so this one in particular has been resonating with me.

However, I believe the best solution is a long term one that will play out for future generations. It’s fairly simple, really. START EARLY. Like most things, such as a new language or a sport, the earlier in life you begin to learn, the better. The brain is like a muscle in that it needs conditioning and practice. Healthy habits that are developed during childhood are much more likely to transition into adulthood and continue throughout life, and it’s no different with mental health. Children should be taught to nurture their mental health, even beginning as young as three or four. They can learn to identify difficult feelings, normalize them, and learn coping skills and techniques to carry them through the rough patches. Luckily, this effort is already underway as many educators are placing emphasis on social emotional learning programs in the schools, and parents and caregivers now have access to numerous children’s books and influencers on social media who offer advice on the topic.

The goal here is not to eradicate anxiety, depression or other forms of mental illness – that would be ideal, but unrealistic (if not impossible). The goal, instead, is to recognize mental health as a vital component of wellbeing, remove the stigma and shame surrounding mental health struggles, and encourage a willingness to embrace coping options, whether it be deep breathing, meditation, opening up to a trusted friend, therapy, and when necessary, medication. If we can teach kids to care about and how to care for their mental health, they’ll grow into teens and adults already equipped with the tools that can safely and effectively take them through emotionally turbulent times. Then those adults will in turn carry on the tradition with the next generation of children and so forth. Hopefully, the ultimate result is a mentally healthier, more stable, and overall HAPPIER society.

Note from HBI: In addition to serving as our Senior Account Director, Holly is the author of A Feel Better Book for Little Kids children’s series that helps little kids manage their big feelings. The books are published by the American Psychological Association’s Magination Press, are available in multiple languages, and can be found anywhere books are sold.

April Showers Bring May Flowers… and EVENTS!

By: Hilary Bumm

“April showers bring May flowers” is a popular saying used often during the month of April. This is typically the time when the last bit of snowfall turns to only rainfall as temperatures climb. The increased rain shower activity sparks flowers and plants to really start growing and blooming.

The saying can be traced back to England from the 1500s poet Thomas Tusser. Back then, he wrote “Sweet April showers do spring May Flowers”. As well, a longer phrase, “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers,” has been traced back to 1886.

Regardless, the month of April brings huge weather swings with the jet stream lifting northward at the start of spring. As winter comes to an end, precipitation falls more as rain instead of snow, especially here in Georgia.

The reference to April showers likely originated in the United Kingdom or Ireland, where the month of April tends to be especially rainy because of the position of the jet stream. The cooler climate in these areas also tends to push back the appearance of many flower species to late April and early May.

That old adage doesn’t necessarily ring true, though, especially in warmer climates. Rather than being rooted in botany, the phrase may be a simple way to avoid the blahs of rainy weather by focusing instead on the beauty of better weather ahead.

Thus, with event season in full bloom, the parallel of behind-the-scenes work is not lost. We at Hope-Beckham are grateful for those plentiful April showers of activity, the preparation that happens beneath the soil, and the opportunity to serve our clients.

This time of year, we bustle around preparing for client events. Providing great attention to detail, we ensure adequate staffing, finalize venue logistics, arrange for all the amenities and much more that go into creating a successful event. Then, just like the May flowers, we can experience the jubilant blossoming of successful client events!

2023 is Well Underway…

By: Victoria Croft

Now that the New Year’s glitter has settled, and we are finished eating our heart-shaped Valentine’s chocolates, it’s safe to say that 2023 is off to a swift start. But where will it lead us in the world of PR? Let’s see which trends we may see soar in the new year and which practices will be left behind…

  • Influencers Continue to Rule

It’s no secret that traditional media is on the decline. Social media outlets continue to expand, and influencers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“It’s expected that brand spend with influencers will increase by more than 23% in 2023. Additionally, 80% of marketers found influencer marketing effective or very effective, and 71% say it produces better leads than other forms of marketing,” says PR Daily.

It is recommended that you invest in relationships with influencers with vast, but targeted, audiences. It may cost a pretty penny, but as we roll into 2023, influencer visibility will still be considered priceless.

  • Face to Face

Almost three years ago, a pandemic surged across the entire planet and changed our lives entirely. Working from home, Zoom and online events all became the new norm. However, as mask requirements were lifted and vaccines became available, people were able to rejoin the world and their communities again.

PR professionals, journalists and influencers are ready for more face-to-face interactions. While Zoom calls will likely still stay a major player in everyday logistics, it is expected that events and interviews will continue to rapidly progress to in-person settings.

“Face-to-face conversations yield more in-depth insights, and this PR shift is particularly applicable for critiques and discussions of sensitive or contentious matters,” says Entrepreneur. “However, brands should expect a rise in demand for in-person consultations and do what they can to make members of their personnel available.”

  • Ditch the Mass Pitching

Want to stand out to a specific reporter or outlet? Stop mass pitching and choose quality over quantity! Lean on a “small-batch” approach when sending pitches and leads.

“There are more PR practitioners and fewer journalists than ever before. Taking a ‘spray and pray’ approach is likely to be ineffective as journalists are looking for relevant, engaging content that is tailored to their publication,” says Beth Nunnington, VP of digital PR and content at Journey Further.

Let us know what else you expect to see in 2023 and which trends you think are SO “2022!”

Want to Be a Better People Person? Put Yourself First. Why self-awareness is so important and how you can improve yours

By: Holly Brochmann

You’re probably familiar with the term “people skills.” It’s a handy attribute both in life and in the workplace, in our industry especially. Generally, it means getting along with, relating to, and talking to people with ease – an outgoing personality vs. one that is more reserved or introverted.

A fancier term for people skills is emotional intelligence, often referred to as EQ. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. The Harvard Business Review writes that emotional intelligence has evolved into a must-have skill, is a strong predictor of performance, and that the majority of managers value EQ over IQ.

If you want to boost your EQ or sharpen your people skills, it is my belief that you must first focus on one person in particular – yourself. This may come across as a self-centered suggestion, but it is anything but. Self-awareness is a primary element of emotional intelligence and is the gateway to nurturing other relationship management skills such as empathy. It also happens to be one of my personal favorite characteristics. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat scarce. Researchers have found that although 95% of people think they’re self-aware, only 10 to 15% actually are.

Like any skill or talent, self-awareness comes easiest to those with a natural ability. But it can be developed and cultivated, and it is possible for an individual to raise their self-awareness along with their EQ overall if they recognize its value in the workplace and are committed to daily improvement practices.

Google is full of articles with tips on how to enhance self-awareness, with meditation and journaling as common suggestions. But if you are like me, it’s unrealistic to adapt these practices into your daily routine. At least at first. So try the following three mindfulness strategies instead:

1. Pay more attention. Notice your response to others, and their response to you. What bothers you the most about people? What behaviors or actions are most likely to trigger your emotions, both positive and negative? What qualities do you find yourself drawn to in associates, coworkers and friends?

2. Be curious. Ask questions of yourself and explore how and why you respond the way that you do in certain situations. Be curious about others as well – instead of jumping to conclusions, try asking yourself – how would I have responded if I were in their shoes? What is going on in their lives that might have influenced their response?

3. Identify your emotional strengths and weaknesses. Take a personality test, or better yet, ask trusted individuals who know you well to give you a list. If some of their responses surprise you, then that’s a good indicator your self-awareness could use a boost.

Warby Parker co-founder and co-CEO Neil Blumenthal said, “A workplace that encourages self-awareness is an environment where the most productive, curious, and innovative people thrive.” I wholeheartedly agree. What do YOU think?

Connecting with your Audience – Breaking the meta barrier

By: David Tetley

Public Relations and brand psychology have come a long way since their start. Small businesses and corporations have always strived to come up with new ways to relate to the public and stand out from their competitors. With the internet and social media being massively widespread, any company has a potential to advertise itself in front of another’s brand. Every business is fighting for its clients’ attention, making it harder to turn customers into loyal ones. The market has evolved and so have the consumers. So how do companies follow along?

Younger audiences are a favorite of advertisers. But today’s young people are less naïve towards advertisements and typically know when they are being sold more quickly than kids from different generations. With so many options and brands to choose, young consumers usually are more attracted to brands that they feel represent them in one way or another. That could be values like authenticity, a movement or even what is trending at the moment. What is popular will always be attractive, but there is a reason that something goes viral in the first place. There is research that suggests brand loyalty can be acquired if a company supports their potential customers’ views. Nike’s stock increased 5% back in 2018 by taking a stance with Colin Kaepernick against racism and donating $40 million to social justice organizations. It is a double-edged sword because of the risks that come with picking a side, but being catchy alone does not cut it anymore.

Views that brands support do not have to be political. Thanks to vast range of topics with large passionate audiences on the internet, ads can focus on very specific niches that are not controversial. Although young people might be harder to influence through traditional advertisements, many companies found a way to connect to the core of new audiences through social media. There are two reasons for that. The first, the newest generations, generation Z and Alpha, were born into a time where the internet was a pillar of their social life. Naturally, the amount of time they spend there is higher than any other age group. The second reason is because of companies are making ads inside the content they watch, instead of ads that will instantly drive many of them away. Instead of having an ad interrupt a video, story or TikTok, influencers add a new layer of marketing where they can advertise to their viewers a product that is most likely appropriate to the influencer’s niche audience in an entertaining way.

Influencer marketing, if done right, can break through the barrier to build brand resonance between young consumers and a brand or product. A small influencer can have a deeper connection with their followers than a large company’s expensive marketing efforts. Many big brands have opted to target their potential consumer via Snapchat and TikTok influencers paid ads because they know how inexpensive and effective it can be. Small to medium influencers can charge around $250 per ad and have it reach thousands of people that fit the product’s niche.

Social media doesn’t only facilitate connection with youth through targeted niches, it also pressures large corporations to act on important social issues. Being aware of what other brands and sponsors stand for is more important than ever. Soon, having a logo with a movement’s flag is not going to be enough. Fundraisers and charity events are becoming more prevalent by the day. Take Giving Tuesday, which is Nov. 29. It’s only been around for a decade, but its importance has grown significantly.

What Does Your Candy Craving Say About You?

By: Allison Ritter

I have always loved Halloween with the costumes and spooky decorations, but what I loved the most was the candy! The best part of the night was getting together with my sister and our friends after spending hours of trick or treating and trading candy to make sure we got plenty of our favorite treats. Whether you are a chocolate lover, peanut butter fanatic, chewy candies fan or lollipop kid, we all have our preferred candy and that got me thinking…what does our favorite candy say about our personalities. According to Halloween experts, the type of candy you crave can say a lot about you. Who knew candy could be so powerful.  

Peanut Butter Treats  

Do you prefer the irresistible peanut butter flavored treats? If so, you are probably someone people consider bold. You are confident and have a positive attitude towards life. Your motto is “everything happens for a reason.” You seek out the sunny side in people and “go with the flow” with it comes to the journeys in life.

Fruity Chewy Candies  

You are full of energy and ready to “take on the day.” You are never one to shy away from strangers and are friendly to everyone you meet. Proud of your life’s accomplishments, you never miss the opportunity to tell others about your amazing experiences. Being in social circles is how you thrive and above all, you just want to make everyone happy.

Peanuts and Caramel

If you enjoy this classic candy bar, then you’re a total people pleaser. You love to entertain and always accept new friends with open arms. Your empathy towards others makes you a great friend and you’re always reliable. Your loyalty is unmatched, sometimes maybe to a fault, but you always do the right thing in the end and would do anything for others.

Candy Corn

You either love them or hate them. If you love them, then you likely have a love-hate personality. You are very competitive and have strong feelings towards things you like and things you hate. There is no in-between with you. Honesty and loyalty are two of the top qualities you look for in friends and colleagues. Being #1 is top of mind for you.

Sour Candy

You are an outgoing risk taker and love living on the wild side. You dislike boredom and always have fun in mind. Your friends and colleagues love being around you, even though you are somewhat of a troublemaker. No matter what the challenge is, you are willing to give it a try. Some would even call you artistic, crafty and creative. Above all, you live life to the fullest.

Only Chocolate Please!!

If you prefer milk chocolate, you are a low-maintenance person with an optimistic look on life. You tend to be the wiser of your peers and err on the side of caution. It does not take much to make you happy, but change is not something you like or handle well.

If you prefer dark chocolate, chances are you are classy and sophisticated. You do not “sit on the fence” when making decisions and you tend to “stand your ground” when it comes to your opinions. In the end, you make strong decisions and are full of energy.

Bottom line, there are so many types of Halloween candy and so many types of temperaments. Does your favorite candy match your personality? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!