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5 Lessons KIA Taught Us About “On Trend” Branding

When was the last time a brand made you feel truly special? For us, it was KIA at Blogalicious Weekend in Miami, Florida.

KIA returned as our premium conference sponsor and totally lived up to the title. Throughout the weekend, attendees raved about their swanky activations and trendy gifts. But what separated KIA from the pack was their staff. As consumers, we’ve all encountered brands who deplete their resources in marketing and branding, while overlooking the intimate ways they can physically interact with their audience. From the warm welcome attendees received upon walking into their Suite to the safety precautions their vehicle operators took, KIA exhibited great customer service. The staff focused on ensuring that our attendees got the most out of their time together, thus engraining brand awareness and for some, loyalty.

When we checked social media, it became clear that KIA was a collective favorite of the Blogalicious tribe. Our hashtags #Blogalicious9 and #TribeUp are embedded with photos of attendees enjoying delectables in KIA’s suite, cruising down Biscayne Blvd in one of their 2017 model cars, or fawning over free curated beauty and skincare products. This kind of response reminds us of how important it is to know your audience, their needs, and how and when to address them.

It’s important to us that we adjoin our audience with sponsors who “get them”. In confidence, we can say that KIA exceeded all expectations! Here are just a few branding lessons we learned from our time spent with the motor company.

5 branding lessons we learned from KIA

  1. Assemble the right tribe for your brand and its activations. Make sure they represent your mission with pride and integrity.
  2. Train your staff. Once you curate your tribe, equip them to serve your audience. With hundreds of attendees KIA’s staff met throughout Blogalicious Weekend, they were knowledgeable and prepared to handle next steps.
  3. Diversify your offering. For each day they were on the scene, this sponsor had something new to offer, which is great for diverse audiences.
  4. Make signing up easy. Consumers want to give you their contact information. Just make it easy for them to give.
  5. Be on trend. Everyone with a smartphone has heard about Rihanna’s new makeup line, Fenty Beauty. Due to the singer’s popularity – and the quality product features – those products are hardly in stock. Imagine the Blogalicious women’s surprise when they walked away with free Fenty products and a chance at a $50 Sephora gift card. This level of “on trend” is what we’re after and KIA provided just that!


Thank you, KIA, for being one of this year’s Title Sponsors! We appreciate the lessons, too.

On Dove: Expect More, Expect Better

This past weekend had us in a collective state of WTF? We were shocked, angry and hurt. Here’s why: over the last several years, we’ve seen the Dove brand working diligently to break barriers when it comes to redefining standards of beauty. We were excited about how they were celebrating women of all shapes, sizes, and colors and being forceful and forthright about representing all of us in the media.

We paid special attention to how Dove supported our blogging communities – whether with We All Grow Latina or Mom 2.0 or Blogalicious and more, the Dove partnerships have been thoughtful and genuine and those qualities have shone through. When we work with them, we always feel that they are coming from a place of respect and collaboration, and that has made them a trusted partner over the years.

So when we heard about the 3-second GIF that appeared on Facebook, we definitely felt like we were hit with a ton of bricks. It just so happened that the news broke while we were wrapping our 9th annual conference. That meant we were all in a room together! The feeling of disappointment and confusion was palpable – I said to the group of women bloggers of color that I was standing with: “I’m going to get to the bottom of this.”

Before I had a chance to reach out to Dove, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had already reached out to me. This made a lot of sense; this is the Dove that I know and respect. We hopped on the phone yesterday morning – their entire team with Pamela King and me. And, the first words out of their mouths were: “We are deeply, deeply sorry.” There were no excuses or corporate ‘splaining – just a promise that an action plan was being developed to ensure that something so offensive would not happen again. The Dove team that has worked on several influencer campaigns and conference sponsorship activations with the Blogalicious community are all women of color – and they were clearly upset and offended by the ad. They assured us that the entire brand accepts full responsibility for the offense and that management at the highest level is involved to make things right.


On Sunday, during our closing Fireside Chat at the conference, Amber Wright asked me how leading with my heart has shaped how I do business. In this case, it’s made me consider the fullness of the issue for all parties involved. As my husband always reminds me: “Taller trees experience stronger winds.” Because Dove has made the conscious decision to be a warrior in the fight for positive and diverse representation in retail and the media, they are treading in waters that can be very dangerous if not handled with the utmost care. They also have pushed us to expect more from them. To expect betterThis is a good thing. If this incident causes them to tighten up their internal processes, globally, hopefully, that standard that will become the norm across all major brands.

As we wait for the specifics of their action plan, let’s continue to expect more and expect better. To use our voices and our platforms to call foul when we see it, and to speak our truths. While we have a ball connecting and collaborating and lifting each other up in-person and online, let’s never forget that our Blogalicious Mission is 3-fold.

Serving as “a think tank and mouthpiece for causes, policies, and issues affecting the multicultural digital space,” means that Blogalicious will continue to seek out answers from and forge partnerships with the people that are making a difference. It may get a little messy at times, but that’s what it means to be on the front lines.

Read their updated statement HERE.


— Stacey Ferguson, CEO & Co-Founder of Blogalicious and Founder of Justice Fergie Lifestyle Media

Part 1: Notable Keynotes and Celebrities that Showed Up and Showed Out at Blogalicious Weekend

Selecting a keynote speaker for Blogalicious Weekend is a task we take very seriously. This individual has to bring the energy and set the tone for the entire Weekend. Below, we share some of our notable favorites! 

Blogalicious 2009:  Karen Walrond and Kim Coles 


Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks lit up our inaugural conference with her powerful message about “The Beauty of Different.” Kimberly Coleman (Mom In The City) shared this reaction: “The message really resonated with me. She encouraged us to figure out what made us different – our “superpower.” That’s the only way that we can be who we are meant to be and to live out our own personal dreams.”


During Disney Interactive’s The Princess and the Frog New Orleans-style Luncheon, one of us did a double take. Is that THE Kim Coles from ‘Living Single’ tip-toeing into the ballroom?! Turns out she was in the hotel as part of the presenting team for the BET Hip Hop Awards, and saw the fabulous group of ladies entering the luncheon; she decided our event was more fun to attend and she crashed for a few minutes. She said she would be back! Later that night, Kim joined us in the Clever Girls’ Yummie Tummie Suite. We had a ball sipping on bubbly and noshing on tasty cupcakes Good times! We love that, 8 years later, she is still connected with our community.

Blogalicious 2010:  Loni Love, Marc Morial and Kindred The Family Soul

Whew! Let’s talk about Miami, shall we? We had the great honor of having Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League (and former mayor of New Orleans), present our Opening Keynote. We felt inspired as Mr. Morial applauded us for lifting our voices and talked of the important work to be done in our communities. We’ve remained good friends with the Urban League – and Blogalicious family members were invited to live blog President Obama’s speech at their Centennial Conference! A Moment to remember.

And then, there was Loni Love! Presented by McDonald’s – a long-time Blogalicious partner – Loni, a Cafe Mocha Radio personality and co-host on The Real, had us in stitches as she hosted our luncheon AND took the time to interview several bloggers one-on-one.




A private performance for the Blogalicious attendees by Kindred The Family Soul, capped off an evening presented by General Mills (complete with topless waiters serving Yoplait martinis!) The duo was so down to earth and personable that they blessed us with a repeat, surprise, performance the next day. We’ve kept in touch and have been cheering them on ever since, through their webisodes, Wal-mart commercials and more!


Blogalicious 2011:  Jessie Jones, Paula Patton, and Chef Aaron McCargo Jr.

jessie jones

Jessie Jones’, then-founder of U-ology, motivational speech tackledrelationship building.  “We need to develop an “army” with those that want to build with us. If you only have support from 2 people then great, build from there. Don’t waste time with people who won’t support you.” (Quote source: Mommy Factor) We enjoyed having our Canadian brother grace the stage – congrats on your new agency, Jesse!!!


paula (2)

The line for the Cover Girl QUEEN Collection Suite was out the door! That’s because the gorgeous and warm Paula Patton was their brand ambassador on hand to meet and greet with the Blogalicious community. Justice Fergie’s mom was oh-so-tickled when Ms. Patton told her that she should be so very proud of her daughter – we’re proud of you, Paula!




Breakfast for dinner you say? We think that’s a great idea! And so did Aunt Jemima, who brought their brand ambassador, Chef Aaron “Big Daddy” McCargo from the Food Network to Blogalicious. Not only did he perform live cooking demos  and host our Pancake Dinner, but he also took the time to autograph his cookbook: Simply Done, Well Done for everyone in attendance. Keep cookin’ with grease, Chef!



Blogalicious 2012: Mario Armstrong and Doug E. Fresh 


Mario Armstrong kickoff Blogalicious 2012 on a high note. He gave an energizing keynote sharing his entrepreneurship journey, and kept it all the way real by sharing a screenshot of his negative bank account statement to show that the road to entrepreneurship is not always paved in gold. After his keynote, 30+ bloggers continued the conversation outside of the ballroom! Attendees couldn’t get enough to his wisdom and energy. [P.S. Congrats on the launch of The Never Settle Show, Mario!!]



Those of you where were there already know. This is hands down THE BEST closing party we hosted in the history of Blogalicious. Gain took us back to early 90’s and bought Doug E. Fresh to help us relive the nostalgia. Attendees are still talking about this party today! Thanks #GainFresh!!


But wait! There’s MORE. Part 2 Up Next!


Blogalicious 2017: Who would YOU want to see this year? 

who edit

Comment below or tweet us at @beblogalicious with your suggestions!


{P.S. Blogalicious 2017 Weekend call for speakers will open in May! Stay tuned for more details) 

5 Lessons Dove Taught Us About Self-Care at #Blogalicious8

Dove being a premium conference sponsor was one of the best things we could’ve asked for. Our community enjoyed having them — and their amazing products — onsite, and wasted no time revealing that on social media. The #SpeakBeautiful hashtag twists and turns between photos, live videos, and blog posts from our beloved bloggers and influencers. We took some time to reflect on the impact Dove made at #Blogalicious8 and wanted to share 5 things we learned from the beauty company.

5 lessons we learned through Dove



Women are powerful

Dove’s Speak Beautiful campaign resonated because it’s one that empowers women and girls to love themselves and uplift one another when the world chooses not to. Reading so many beautiful blog posts, and hearing friends like Luvvie and Marie Leggette share their stories, proved how important it is for women to be confident in their power.


Our power starts with self-care

Luvvie spoke beautifully when she told our audience that, “you are enough when you wake up in the morning.” That version of yourself that you hide from others or leave at home every morning is more than enough and holds value. Before we can properly start our journeys to daily self-care, it;s important that we love who we are sans masks for work, society, family, and friends. Marie shared sage advice to get there and that is to “write beautiful words about yourself on the mirror.”


Learn what you need

In Dove’s Hospitality Suite, attendees basked in a friendly atmosphere were makeovers, massages, and desserts were in heavy rotation. It was obvious that when women walked out of the Suite, they felt better about themselves because they’d devoted at least 20 minutes to personal care. We noticed that some women walked out with a #BeatFace thanks to Atlanta makeup artist Ashley Greene, while others walked lighter because they’d gotten an amazing foot or back rub. Seeing our attendees choose how they wanted to take care of themselves in thar moment drove home the importance of learning what you need when you need it, and making sure you receive it by any means necessary.


It’s okay to feel special and beautiful

The community roared after Dove’s surprise room drops. Everyone received beautiful backpacks filled with full-sized products for the whole body. We felt the love traversing through the hotel’s hallways, and honestly, it was a great feeling. That small act of kindness reminded us that it is okay to feel special and that we don’t always have to do anything extraordinary to feel that way.


Life really is a party!

Thanks to Dove, we ended a long-weekend conference to an amazing all-white rooftop Day Party! At every turn, we found laughter, dancing, photo ops, long hugs, and fantastic drinks about the deck. Many of us are conditioned to celebrate only when we’ve accomplished something. And if we fail, there’s no cake or ice cream or balloons to make us feel better. Instead, we deprive ourselves of feeling good until said accomplishment is achieved. Dove’s Day Party was a catalyst in teaching us that you don’t always have to earn something to party. Taking a break in the middle of the day to just celebrate is what life really is about. And that is okay!

Closing out Blogalicious Weekend on a high note. Thanks @Dove! #SpeakBeautiful #Blogalicious8 #ContentIsLife

A video posted by beblogalicious (@beblogalicious) on


What did Dove teach you about self-care?

[FREE DOWNLOAD] Flipboard #FlipBlogger Webinar Replay + Resources

Thanks for Joining the Flipboard Webinar!

Keep reading for your free download and resource pack.


By all accounts, you enjoyed the #Flipblogger webinar and were excited to learn why you should incorporate the platform into your content distribution strategy in addition to making it a regular part of your day!

But if you weren’t able to join it live, or if you just want to watch it again, we have the recording for you. Click the button below to access it (as well as the slides and resources shared during the webinar).

We’re looking forward to learning even more about Flipboard at #Blogalicious8!

Download the Flipboard Webinar Replay & Resources Here. 

Introducing Your #Blogalicious8 MC: Deya Smith | @deyadirect


Deya Smith (aka Deya Direct!) is warmly regarded as ‘The Go-to Girlfriend’ as a result of her producing high-level media content that counsels, empowers and caters to women and their lifestyle. In her quest to help women with self-love and love relationships, Deya Direct also developed the “The Man Whisperer Series” which is a multimedia panel and course that teaches women the art of connecting to a man’s heart. A former Miss Black USA, she brings her unique skills as a national correspondent/host; her passion and knowledge as a veteran producer; her charisma and sense of humor as an actress, blogger, personality, inspirational speaker, and most recently author; to the world of multimedia. She is also the creator of the social media community Fly and Fabulous Women of Purpose.

This best-selling author has been writing blogs for the benefit of millions for over 12 years. Known for her direct and provocative style, Deya works as the Lead Content Producer for the nationally-syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show (TJMS). The TJMS reaches 8 million listeners daily. DEYA DIRECT, who speaks directly to the hearts, minds and souls of women, pulls no punches with her engaging approach, is becoming an influential voice to be reckoned with.

Originally from New Haven, CT.  Deya now resides in Dallas, TX.  She is a graduate of Howard University. And engaged to be married.

Follow her on: Instagram @deyadirect | Twitter: @deyadirect | Website:

With her vast experience producing content for radio, for web and most recently with her newly released book, Soft Is the New Power (affiliate link!), Deya is the perfect fit for this year’s conference theme #ContentIsLife!  

Flipboard is Coming to #Blogalicious8 + Your Special Invitation

It’s About That Time!
With just 26 days until we meet in Atlanta, we are excited to introduce you to this year’s lineup of peach-tastic sponsors, starting with Flipboard!



What Is Flipboard?
Just in case you don’t have you ear to the social media streets, Flipboard is a social magazine where you can find and share stories that move the world forward. Use Flipboard to follow your favorite sources from around the world; then save stories, images and videos into your own Flipboard Magazines that reflect your interests, express your perspectives, or are simply things you want to save for later.

How Can Bloggers Benefit?
Bloggers can add content to Flipboard using the Flip.It button, making it instantly accessible to millions of readers on the platform. Flipboard is also the ideal tool to feed your passions, as well as organize post ideas, research and inspiration.

Try it today! Download Flipboard for free in any app store or

The #FlipBlogger team will be at Blogalicious to help you get the most out of your Flipboard experience and to learn more about you. Be sure to stop by to say hi!




A Special Invitation Just for You:

“Flipboard: Where Stories Find Their Readers”
Wednesday, October 129am PT / 12pm ET
Presented by @kikarose and @randwiches

Life moves forward one story at a time–and some of the best stories can be found on Flipboard, the first-ever social magazine. Come discover the many ways Flipboard enhances your life and your work, all while helping you grow your readership and your community.


In this 30-minute webinar, your new friends at Flipboard will show you what sets this platform apart from other social sites and why bloggers should incorporate it into their content distribution strategy and make it a regular part of their day.

RSVP here!

We can’t wait to see you there!

Dream Big w. @DisneyDreamers Academy! Join the #ddaDisney Twitter Chat 5/18 @ 8pm ET

Join us next Wednesday, May 18th at 8pm ET for an info-packed Twitter chat about the life-changing Disney Dreamers Academy. Applications for the 2017 Class of Dreamers are now being accepted and we want that bright and motivated teenager in your life to apply! The Disney Dreamers Academy introducing its young people to inspiring professionals in an environment that encourages them to dream big.

dreamers-academy-logoLearn more about the Disney Dreamers Academy and
apply for the Class of 2017 HERE.


Here’s the Scoop:

When: Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 @ 8pm ET

Where: On Twitter! Follow @beblogalicious, @socamomdc, @frugalflirtyfab and follow the conversation using #ddaDisney

Prizes: Four (4) $200 Disney gift cards (woot!!) to registered participants. [Giveaway open to U.S. Residents Age 18 and older. Visit THIS PAGE for complete rules.]




See You on the Farm! A Special Invitation from Our Blogalicious 2015 Partner…
Blogalicious 2015 may be over but the fun is still harvesting with one of our conference sponsors: Monsanto. Because our community had such a positive experience engaging with the farmers in the Hospitality Suite,  Flinchbaugh and Haynie Farms want to extend invitations to you to visit their farms! This time of year, farmers are busy with harvest & have a lot to show you! Both farm tours will include lunch and transportation (details TBD).
farm visit
October 31 at Flinchbaugh Orchard & Farm Market in Hellam, PA – Harvest & Halloween go hand-in-hand! Several of you visited with Andy and he’d love for you to see his family farm. You and your family will experience an educational farm tour that outlines how their farm serves as a hub for local foods – a mix of locally grown and prepared food items from farmers and nearby food processors. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and have a delicious lunch with Andy and his family. Transportation will leave Maryland mid-morning & return early afternoon so trick or treating is still on.
November 15, 2015 at PJ & Lisa Haynie’s in Reedville, VA — P.J.’s got a lot going on that he’d like to show you: harvesting soy beans, planting winter wheat, and preparing fields for winter. You and your family will get to visit a working farm to learn from the farmers about some of the crops they grow and challenges they face. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and have a delicious lunch with P.J. and his family.
 If you are interested in more information or touring either (or both) farms, please email Janice Person at
Whether you can attend one of the DC area events or not, we would like to continue the farm to plate conversation. Catch Janice Person on Twitter as @JPlovesCOTTON.
I Stand #WithMalala

“There’s a moment when you have to decide whether to be silent or stand up.” – Malala Yousafzai

Such wise words from such a brave, but youthful spirit.  If you haven’t yet seen the film, “He Named Me Malala” — make that a priority — the payoffs are huge. We had the honor of screening the film at Blogalicious Weekend 2015 last month and had the experience of being moved to tears, laughter and to a place of inspiration and gratitude…all by the powerful story of this young woman and her father.



Eighteen year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has as her personal mission to “enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities.” Something that so many of us take for granted. As my own 6th grader is coming into her own at school – middle school to be exact! – by making friends, playing the saxophone in the performance band, rolling her eyes at her math homework, and having spent the last 3 days at Outdoor School – it’s impossible to imagine her being denied any and all of those experiences simply because she’s a girl.



And yet.

Malala’s Story

Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, ran a school in Swat Valley near her childhood home in Pakistan. His passion for education influenced Malala’s zest for learning and she looked forward to attending school every day, but the opportunity was stripped from her by the Taliban military. In 2009, the military’s hold on Swat intensified, deepening Malala’s fears that her school would be attacked or bombed.

Think about that for a second.

Death threats. Bombs. All to keep girls from learning.  It’s truly inconceivable in a place where we will most likely have a woman presidential candidate very soon.  In her zealousness to see change, Malala began to speak out against the Taliban’s harsh control with the support of her father, who’d seen several of his friends killed for doing the same thing. Despite their fear, they continued to shed light on the Taliban’s acts of terrorism, first through blogging for the BBC Urdu blog and then in a documentary made for The New York Times.



On October 9, 2012, as Malala and her friends were travelling home from school, a masked gunman entered their school bus and asked for Malala by name. She was shot with a single bullet which went through her head, neck and shoulder. Two of her friends were also injured in the attack. Malala miraculously recovered and is destined to help girls like her around the world receive the education they deserve.


A couple of weeks ago, I had the surreal experience of joining in on a phone call with Malala herself to hear first-hand about her passion for education equality for girls and the wisdom that she had to share about what her young life has taught her. She was humble and thoughtful and soft-spoken, but there was no mistaking her strength and conviction for her cause. Truly a memorable experience!


The International Day of the Girl Child

In celebration of International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th, we’re urged to continuously create a world free of discrimination for young women and girls. The UN Women Organization breaks down the horrors of being a girl child worldwide. From the website:

  • Worldwide, more than 700 million women were married as children (below 18 years of age). More than one in three—or some 250 million—were married before 15. And child brides are often unable to effectively negotiate safe sex, leaving them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy [1].
  • Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, anadolescent girl dies as a result of violence [2].
  • In emergencies, adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to sexual violence, and in some cases, are abducted and exploited for sexual purposes by armed groups [3].
  • Nearly half (44 per cent) of adolescent girls worldwide aged 15 to 19 think a husband or partner is justified in hitting or beating his wife or partner under certain circumstances [4].


What You Can Do

Getting involved and advancing this important cause that impacts all of us is easy.

See the Film.  Find the theatre nearest you that is showing the documentary, HERE.

Talk About the Issue with Your Daughter(s). There is even a downloadable Parent Discussion Guide, written by Elena Sonnino – part of our Blogalicious Family!

Share, Share, Share. Write your own blog post on the issue. Share your thoughts on social media. All of the handles, and hashtags and links you need are right here:


I stand #WithMalala. For my daughters. For your daughters. For all of us.

I Stand #WithMalala  | Be Blogalicious


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