The Edge.Email — 19th Edition

Welcome to the weekly newsletter from The Edge Group. The goal of each edition is to help you think differently about B2B content. If you’d like to learn more about the work we do, please get in touch here.


1. BRANDING

Pop quiz: What was the most memorable advertisement you saw last year? What were the top three brand campaigns that jump to mind from 2018? No googling allowed.

If you are feeling generous, reply to this email right now with whatever comes to mind.

Then, read this piece we put together on why a number of us could barely remember any ad campaigns from last year (and we live and breathe this stuff).

Hint: it’s not just shortened attention spans.


2. ATTENTION

However, in a reminder that our attention spans are getting shorter, here is Quartz on how our streaming culture is resulting in shorter songs:


3. NEWSLETTERS

Every year Bloomberg publishes a Jealousy List of items that are so good they wish they had published them.

This in-depth Newsletter Guide, a joint effort between the Shorenstein Center, the Lenfest Institute, and Yellow Brim would make our top spot. It’s from and for newsrooms, but the lessons included are highly applicable to any marketing or media organization exploring a newsletter initiative.


4 #WOKE

Discussions around the Gilette ad controversy consumed our Slack this week. What we couldn’t stop thinking about was how right Scott Galloway was in his 2019 predictions:

On a related note, Kraft Heinz introduced us to the concept of Actvertising.

On another related note, we were discussing the idea of some kind of brand risk spectrum framework (we love frameworks) that helped you define how much risk are you willing to assume. Turns out someone at Forbes already did something (kind of) like this:


5. DATA

“A novelist can spend months or years before committing words to the world. For bloggers, the deadline is always now. Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” — Andrew Sullivan

Ernie Smith, the creator of Tedium (a newsletter that has been featured previously in this very newsletter) wrote a fantastic piece on why your 2019 resolution should be to start blogging again. Not posting, not tweeting, not sharing, but just blogging. We agree. Even the giants like Accenture predict this year will be a move away from the maniacal content pace wrung upon us by social networks. Part of why we love newsletters is they represent a return to closed, personal and conversational communications. Writing for the sake of writing is among our resolutions for the new year.


6. A NEWSLETTER

We spend hundreds of collective hours reading, studying and creating newsletters. To see a gallery of our favorites, and what makes them so good, go to TheEdge.Email. Each week we’ll recommend one of our favorites.
 
When Axios announced the acquisition of a popular, generalist sports newsletter, we were a bit dubious. Their suite of business and politics publications are all must-reads, but this wasn’t about the business of sports, this was just about sports. Wasn’t this out of their expertise?

After just two weeks, we get it.

A newsletter portfolio should have some products that are insider-y and in-depth. But they should be complemented with some that bring just a little bit of light to a broad swathe of the world. We’re sure the Axios audience contains a large number of diehard sports fans who wish they had more time to read about their favorite teams. We’re also sure there are a lot of non-sports fans who just want to feel a little bit informed about a foreign world. This serves them both.

Sign up here

Email UX note: We are normally fans of embedding a YouTube preview image for “rendering” video in email, but enjoyed this creative in-line emoji technique being used in Axios Sports:


7. CREATIVITY

We always enjoy a good wordplay, and wanted to share two examples we encountered this week.

First, we discovered the official magazine title for the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore is “Global-is-Asian”. Say it fast and you’ll get it :)

Next up, in reading this thought-provoking Bloomberg piece on how Fortnite digital goods are reshaping global trade balances, we came across a book title that merges on the impact of robotics on globalization, “The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work”. Globotics is on our official “words we will casually include in a newsletter blurb” list for 2019.