When HBI was founded in 1994, it worked with clients like The Coca-Cola Company, UNICEF, General Mills and even worked almost exclusively with The Coors Brewing Company’s Colorado Silver Bullets. Just before the 1996 Winter Olympic Games in Atlanta, HBI solely dealt with event planning rather than the public relations aspect of the industry. After years of simply referring clients to other agencies for their public relations needs, HBI founders Paul Beckham and Bob Hope saw an opportunity to fuse the two ideas and add public relations to the mix.
The success of HBI’s public relations and events efforts saw many ups and downs and the team continued to work with a variety of clients, the largest being The Coca-Cola Company and INVISTA carpeting, a Koch company. Unfortunately, after the economy took one of its biggest hits, so did HBI’s client list. This led to a gradual decline in event work and eventually resulted in a temporary halt in all event planning. The team had to work harder than ever to keep the business going.
“We needed time to adapt and adjust,” said Hope. However, after a steady recovery, HBI is now comfortably ranked in the top 20 biggest public relations firms in Atlanta. “The nice thing about this business is that the phone can ring at any time and change your life,” said Hope.
HBI was eager to go back to its roots in the world of major event planning when a huge opportunity came knocking.
Atlanta was selected to host the 2017 Rotary International Convention, which would welcome roughly 36,000 Rotarians including a few A-list names like Bill Gates, John Cena and Ashton Kutcher. The week-long event would feature guest speakers and record-breaking events to raise awareness of human trafficking and to further the goal of polio eradication.
HBI had the opportunity of a lifetime to present a proposal to the Rotary International team and won the business becoming the public relations firm for one of their biggest events of the year, the Rotary International Convention.
The months of preparation that the 2017 Rotary International Convention required were challenging and exciting to say the least. Not only was HBI handling the public relations for Rotary International, its very own co-founder and president, Bob Hope, was chosen to be the overall master of ceremonies for the convention as well, providing a great opportunity to build visibility and awareness in the Atlanta community. Paul Beckham and Bob Hope, both active Rotarians, were committed to make the convention the best one yet.
Bob, a longtime Rotarian, was first impressed by the well-known organization’s motto “Service Above Self.” Additionally, he appreciated that anyone with the will to make the world a better place could be a part of Rotary International, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.
“Everyone has the common bond of wanting to contribute something positive to the world,” said Hope while recalling his first Rotary meeting.
By the end of the convention, a whopping total of $1.2 billion was pledged for Rotary’s mission to eradicate polio. The convention was visited by many members of media--local and international-- and made headlines across the globe.
“This is a wonderful business…one of the great things about this business is that you meet a lot of people because you’re involved in a lot of things. If you reach out to them in goodwill, they’ll reach back to you with goodwill and not everybody is in a business that can let you do that,” said Hope.
HBI continues to work with a variety of outstanding clients such as Greenberg Traurig, Chick-fil-A Foundation, ESPN Celebration Bowl, FusionHealth, Legacy Ventures and MAP International and is proud to once again provide both public relations and events services to all.