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Three is a Trend: She's Blushing

Three is a Trend: She's Blushing | Cultural Trendz |
The latest fashion news, trends, hottest designers, runway models, beauty looks, celebrity red carpet and fashion week coverage from Harper's BAZAAR's blog, BAZAAR Report. In a season dominated by black — even on the runways of those oft-celebrated for their deft approaches to print and color — a muted pink hits not unlike a warm breeze during a bristling winter. The rich blush walked the runway on a modified shift at Simone Rocha, on a color-blocked fur at Fendi and on an embellished peplum pencil at No.21. It's unabashedly feminine and a welcome anomaly. Read more: click on the image above.
Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Awesome color combo! On Monday, my color pallate was a simple muted pink top paired with a black peplum blazer and skirt suit. It worked out beautifully.

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Put It Down

Put It Down | Cultural Trendz |

"Put it down" original by Brandy courtesy of SoundCloud.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Love this song.

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Thursday afternoons . . .

Thursday afternoons . . . | Cultural Trendz |
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Facts tell. Stories sell.

Facts tell. Stories sell. | Cultural Trendz |

The challenge of PR communicators is how to get their messages to consistently cut through the clutter of information, and in the process grow their brands or corporate identities into icons. Today, the “theater of brand war” has expanded, where all kinds of stories struggle to be heard in a universe of media din and shout-outs. Many messages and public pleas to support communication and advocacy programs die on the vine before they even touch their intended audiences.

There are a few survivors in the combat zone, though. And the only tool they used to survive, to shift minds and to alter behaviors was to tell a great, compelling story. Today, [the public is] gaining control of power from mainstream media and are by themselves, paving the way for a fresh, digitally empowered life. Now they don’t just gobble up and chew messages, they own them, share them, and choose which among them will continue to exist and which will expire.

On top of their voices, they insist on telling stories that the human mind has always preferred — stories of encouragement and empowerment, of people realizing their maximum potential and participating in great efforts to build a better world.

Great PR stories make your communication sticky.  In the words of PR consultant Robbie Vorhaus, “They are pure non-fiction — truth told in the precise same context as any other story form as movies, advertising and journalism.” Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, referred to it as contagious messages that “catch on” as they’re passed from person to person. They become memorable because of their simplicity. They are unforgettable creative executions of literal meanings and expressions: “It’s the real thing (It’s the old product we love); “Real men don’t…” (Prove you’re a man by…); “Just do it” (Act now — stop delaying); “I love New York” (New York is a great place to live) or “Smile. Be happy.” (Life is easy. Relax).

Brilliant and catchy slogans turn bland messages into creative stories, where a central idea is focused on one person, one idea or one thing. They take your audience on a journey and make them enjoy the ride and the experience. In the end, whoever tells the best story in a most convincing fashion gets the hearts and minds of the people.

The book Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell — and Live — the Best Stories Will Rule the Future by Jonah Sachs shares helpful insights and simple tools any brand, individual or company can use to rise above the confusion of messages and executions, generate followers, empower your followers and grow your brand. Essentially, to win the story war you have to be interesting, you must tell the truth and you must live the truth.

Telling the truth is living the truth.

To achieve this you need three tactics — tell your more significant truth, emphasize the influence of your audience, and embrace the power of inspiration and empowerment.

In the 1950s, when Cadillac was using the story of “personal achievement and fine taste,” Volkswagen Beetle launched the “Think Small” campaign, shifting the truth to “living within your means.” The campaign was credited with starting the creative revolution that turned advertising on its head in the 1960s. “But the campaign does not owe its success to offbeat creativity or its celebrated use of white space on the page. The power of the new story Volkswagen was telling began at its core, with its values. While Cadillac was celebrating an endless quest for status and wealth, Volkswagen celebrated joyful modesty of material desire and truth in the face of insincerity,” Sachs explained.

The “Courage” campaign of Nike in which athletes tell their story of perseverance and overcoming the odds is a story about Nike’s audience — a tale about people that breathes life into the brand.  It gave birth to the universally recognized tagline, “Just do it” — three simple words that have urged viewers to pursue achievement in whatever way they define it. The rousing message catapulted Nike to iconic status not only in its industry but also in the wide, wild world of communication.

“Barack Obama’s inspiring ‘Yes We Can’ political campaign carried Obama’s exaltation of optimism over fear, collective sacrifice over individual greed, and engaged citizenship over prepackaged, convenient solutions,” Sachs wrote. He touched a nerve with an empowering message highlighting the Americans’ boundless ability to mature and transcend. Obama’s campaign story spread wildly through the digital landscape. People believed that yes, they could, and became joyful evangelists. The Obama campaign raised over half a billion dollars online alone. And, against all odds, Barack Obama became the president of the United States.

Steve Jobs would tell his biographer before his death, “The people who buy Apple products do think different. They are the creative spirits in this world, and they’re out to change the world. We make tools for those kinds of people.” Apple’s “Think Different” campaign made a difference.  No doubt about it. “It told the truth that human nature goes beyond your basest desires and brings you to a higher potential. It provided the foundation of a storytelling strategy that built a breakthrough communication for the brand,” Sachs described.

These empowerment stories instigated action by painting a picture of an imperfect world that can be fixed through novel stories and noble actions. And, most importantly, they create deep affinity by acknowledging that human beings can be cause-oriented advocates and value-laden individuals — something more than selfish machines seeking status, sex, comfort, and convenience.

Social media platforms are intensifying the power of positive stories. But it’s misleading to call it a trend. These stories have always been with you and have always been powerfully significant. And if you evaluate empowerment storytelling by its ability to create unforgettable, iconic campaigns, it reveals itself as the ultimate secret weapon for winning the story wars.

The core strategy of empowerment communication is about values and inspiration. A brand has an opportunity to promote higher values. To achieve this, you need to understand it and make a promise to it. You need to embed values into its story elements since it’s a powerful engagement point between the brand and the public.

Some brands have values defined by who they are. BMW is “The Ultimate Driving Experience,” Discovery Channel is “Wide Eyed Wonder,” Greenpeace is about the environment and Amnesty International is about human rights. It just is who they are.

“If your brand doesn’t have ready-defined values, then there is a two-step process to select them: First, review values and think about what your brand wants to be. Try out different values and see what fits,” Sachs says. Inspired by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, he lists nine brand-defining values: wholeness, perfection, justice, richness, simplicity, beauty, truth, uniqueness, and playfulness. Where do you want to bring your brand given this list? “Second, narrow the values to three, with one or two being ideal. Select a value that aligns with your core, what you can authentically offer, your leadership, and your audiences,” he added.

Stories are at risk because of “sins” that are being committed in the process of storytelling. These sins include: “narcissism” — a story becomes self-centered instead of being communal; “authority” — too factual and lacks emotional connection; “insincerity” — tries too hard to please and loses its core; “puffery” — a story with no substance falls flat; “gimmickry” — pursues “going viral,” but lends “falsity” to a story. These “sins” put your story in danger of losing its value and potential in engaging people.

To prevent a story from committing “sins,” it needs to pass the story test.  For your story to get a passing mark it must be: “tangible” — people can “touch” and “feel” the story based on information shared; “relatable” — people learn something of value in the story; “memorable” — scenes and metaphors used make it easy for people to recall the core message; and “emotional” — it elevates others in what they feel or learn. When these elements are effectively used, the opportunity for the story to be powerful and engaging becomes powerful, and can stand the test of time.

People love a good story. Telling your story is an important but often-ignored task. Everyone should learn that skill to fight a good fight. As online marketing pioneer and bestselling author Brian Eisenberg pronounced, “Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell.”

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

People love a good story and stories are powerful catalysts that inspire action. Telling your story is an important skill that needs to be practiced. In doing so, you learn about yourself as you share your message with others.


"In the end, whoever tells the best story in a most convincing fashion gets the hearts and minds of the people."


This is one reason to overcome any fear and practice your public speaking skills in an organization dedicated to improving your communication and leadership skills such as Toastmasters:

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Love Wins

The only thing that can overcome hate is love. We must all stand up for peace and love in this world or we will have none.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

I took this pic three months ago. It was a peaceful assembly held in remembrance of the lives lost after a hateful killing spree of one man against the local Jewish community in Overland Park, KS.

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Leadership is about emotion

Leadership is about emotion | Cultural Trendz |

Make a list of the 5 leaders you most admire. They can be from business, social media, politics, technology, the sciences, any field. Now ask yourself why you admire them. The chances are high that your admiration is based on more than their accomplishments, impressive as those may be. I’ll bet that everyone on your list reaches you on an emotional level.

This ability to reach people in a way that transcends the intellectual and rational is the mark of a great leader. They all have it. They inspire us. It’s a simple as that. And when we’re inspired we tap into our best selves and deliver amazing work.

So, can this ability to touch and inspire people be learned? No and yes. The truth is that not everyone can lead, and there is no substitute for natural talent. Honestly, I’m more convinced of this now – I’m in reality about the world of work and employee engagement. But for those who fall somewhat short of being a natural born star (which is pretty much MANY of us), leadership skills can be acquired, honed and perfected. And when this happens your chances of engaging your talent increases from the time they walk into your culture.

Let’s Take A Look At Tools That Allow For Talent To Shine:

Emotional intelligence. Great leaders understand empathy, and have the ability to read people’s (sometimes unconscious, often unstated) needs and desires. This allows them to speak to these needs and, when at all possible, to fulfill them. When people feel they are understood and empathized something, they respond PERIOD and a bond is formed.

Continuous learning. Show me a know-it-all and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t have a clue about being human. Curiosity and an insatiable desire to always do better is the mark of a great leader. They are rarely satisfied with the status quo, and welcome new knowledge and fresh (even if challenging) input. It’s all about investing in yourself.

Contextualize. Great leaders respond to each challenge with a fresh eye. They know that what worked in one situation may be useless in another. Before you act, make sure you understand the specifics of the situation and tailor your actions accordingly.

Let Go. Too many people think leadership is about control. In fact, great leaders inspire and then get out of the way. They know that talented people don’t need or want hovering managers. Leadership is about influence, guidance, and support, not control. Look for ways to do your job and then get out of the way so that people can do theirs.

Honesty.  Not a week goes by that we don’t hear about a so-called leader losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. Often this is because of pressure to try and “measure up” and it’s not coming from a place of being real – often this relates to fear of not being accepted for your true self. We live in age of extraordinary transparency, which is reason enough to always be true to your core – your mission will be revealed, your motivations will show by your behaviors. But it goes way beyond this. It’s an issue that sets an example and elevates an organization. If you have a reputation for honesty, it will be a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges. Are you inspiring people from your heart?

Kindness and respect. Nice leaders (people) don’t finish last. They finish first again and again. Ignorance and arrogance are leadership killers. They’re also a mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level respect is an absolute must trait of leadership. And kindness is the gift that keeps on giving back. Of course, there will be people who prove they don’t deserve respect and they must be dealt with. But that job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your organization, if you have a reputation for kindness, honesty and respect.

Collaboration. People’s jobs and careers are integral to their lives. The more your organization can make them a partner, the more they will deliver amazing results. This means, to the greatest extent possible, communicating your organization’s strategies, goals and challenges. This builds buy-in, and again is a mark of respect. People won’t be blindsided (which is a workplace culture killer) by setbacks if they’re in the loop.

Partner with your people. As I said above, people’s careers are a big part of their lives. That seems like a no-brainer, but leaders should have it front and center at all times. Find out what your employees’ career goals are and then do everything you can to help them reach them. Even if it means they will eventually leave your organization. You will gain happy, productive employees who will work with passion and commitment, and tout your company far and wide. This an opportunity to brand your greatness.

Leadership is both an art and a science. These tools are guidelines, not rigid rules. Everyone has to develop his or her own individual leadership style. Make these tools a part of your arsenal and use them well as you strive to reach people on an emotional level. Be Human. This Matters.


Vilma Bonilla's insight:

A brilliant fellow Toastmasters recently said, "The ability to inspire and influence others is a mark of true leadership." All too often, people take leadership positions as a way to elevate themselves and it's all about their accomplishments. This approach does not earn trust or inspire anyone.

True collaboration and partnership happens when you treat people with kindness, respect, and honesty. Be friendly and approachable. Get to know people and their challenges first. Then and only then will people will respond to you.