The Edge.Email — 6th Edition

Welcome to the weekly newsletter from The Edge Group. For each edition, we pull together our favorite content on all things media, marketing, innovation, analytics and of course, email.

If you’d like to learn more about the work we do, or discuss anything related to newsletters, content and data, please get in touch here.


1. TRENDS

Food Instagrams + Home DNA tests = Vitamin Supplements

Nestle launched a new initiative that adeptly marries corporate strategy with marketing innovation.

Participants post food photos of what they’re eating (via LINE as the program is only in Japan) as well as take a consumer home DNA test. They then receive personalized recommendations for complementary nutritional supplements like vitamins or “capsules that make nutrient-rich teas”. This creative effort perfectly aligns with Nestle’s transformation effort to move away from candy and into health. (Bloomberg)

Fact of the Day: Nestle is no longer a candy company. It sold it’s candy business for $2.8 billion to Ferrero Rocher back in January.

Term of the Day: Nutraceuticals— food-derived ingredients that are processed and packaged as medicine or wellness aids.

Quote of the Day: A former Nestle CEO’s 2016 vision of the food future, “Using a capsule similar to a Nespresso, people will be able to take individual nutrient cocktails or prepare their food via 3-D printers according to electronically recorded health recommendations.”


2. AI

Knowledge-as-a-Service

We’ve long known Diffbot as a market leader in automated web crawling / structured data extraction, but we’ve just learned there was a master plan lurking. They’ve channeled years of data collection know-how into a new Knowledge Graph product, an enormous database composed of “1.6 billion facts… crowdsourced from human teams, who regularly comb through millions of websites for answers to common questions about people, places, and things”. We are keeping an eye on this one. (Venturebeat)


3. DATA

Adobe Consumer Email Survey 2018

Adobe released their most recent update to their yearly email survey, covering “white-collar workers who own a smartphone” on their email habits. Some of our favorite data points, along with our reactions (Adobe):

  • 28% of respondents check work email “while in the bathroom”
  • We laughed, but it’s a good reminder that professional email is consumed on mobile (we hope) and 24/7
  • If respondents could change anything about brand emails, it would be “to make them less about promotion and more about providing me information
  • This captures everything we believe in
  • 28% never check work emails while on vacation
  • Really?!?!
  • Not sure if you saw my last email is the most “annoying phrase people use in work email”
  • 😂😂😂😂
  • 50% list email as their preferred method of communication from a brand
  • That made us happy, but shockingly, “Phone Call” was up 7%
  • The mean # of hours spent checking work email every day is 3.1 hours
  • This even surprised us

4. STORYTELLING

Educating your consumers as part of your content strategy

When Blue Bottle Coffee’s CEO launched an effort to ensure all beans were fresh-roasted beans and no more than 48 hours old, coffee culture wasn’t yet at a place where this meant anything to consumers. This post covers how Blue Bottle embarked on an impressive effort to educate consumers on the roasting process, pushing forward the entire industry and becoming a market leader along the way. (Upsell Blog)


5. CREATIVITY

Cheeky Deloitte

We like risk-taking of any kind in B2B content. This effort from Deloitte to gamify their 2018 Summer Reading List certainly gets an A for effort. (Deloitte Insights)


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.

Matt Levine of Bloomberg could be our favorite financial markets newsletter writer. His “Money Stuff” newsletter nails every element of what we would consider a great professional newsletter product. He’s funny, wonky, conversational and educational and leaves us wanting to learn more and wishing others could write like him. There are also certain topics like securities law (hey Elon!) that the former Goldman banker and Yale Law grad can explain better than anyone else out there. (Sign up here)


7. B2B FUNNIES

When keeping it real goes wrong

We strongly believe in brand localization efforts as part of any global expansion strategy, but this….. (Design Taxi)

Fun fact: If we’re on the subject of localized flavors, the Nestle piece above taught us it was Kozo Takaoka, head of Nestle’s Japan unit, that invented the Green Tea Kit-Kat. If you’ve made it this far in the newsletter, please email usand we’ll send one lucky reader a package of green tea kit-kats, because we seriously love them.


8. YOUR WEEKLY EDGE PARABLE

There is a compelling debate on how engaged brands should be in the political sphere. It’s an incredibly delicate arena whose navigation requires a near-perfect combination of authenticity, decisiveness and empathy. The NYTimes wrote about “Our Newest Culture Warriors: Activist CEOs”, while HBR has extensively covered CEO Activism, teaching us that “PR firms are now building entire practices around CEO activism”. There is a place for executives to stand their ground when it comes to values. There are also times it’s simply better to keep one’s mouth shut (hey Elon!).

One example of a perfectly executed content effort from a brand covering a potentially sensitive topic was this 37 minute documentary from Duolingo. The language-learning app covers the power of language education for Syrian refugees living in Turkey and Jordan. They manage to avoid any hint of self-promotion, while beautifully telling an important story that fits their brand. Managing to actively engage the geopolitical sphere is something every company will need to become increasingly comfortable with, and this is a great example of how it’s done.