The Edge.Email — 7th Edition

Naked Brands and the future of influencer marketing. 30 years of dataviz from The Economist. McKinsey on Data Culture. The power of archival storytelling. Direct-flash photography. Why you should make mistakes in your email campaigns.

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, please get in touch here.


1. TRENDS

What is a Logan Paul?

In our never-ending quest to try to make sense of the social media influencer world, we stumbled across the idea of a Naked Brand. If you would like an in-depth, historical media analysis that covers the evolution of branding over the past two millennia, and ends up helping you start to make sense of Logan Paul, you can click here.

The author, David Perrell, also has a number of great posts on how the idea of a Naked Brand is changing sports, music, fashion, and even finance.

Fun Fact: The word “brand” apparently comes from the Norse word brandrwhich means “to burn”.


2. AI

Before Data visualization was cool

“Back in the 1980s we weren’t called data visualisers. We were a rag-tag collection of classically trained cartographers, graphic designers, typographers and technical draughtsmen and women.”

Graham Douglas, a data journalist at The Economist, takes five minutes to look at 30 years of dataviz from the publication. (Economist)

The publication continues to put out some incredible work in the field, including this piece visualizing crowd noise at a soccer match.


3. DATA

Why Data Culture Matters

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant” — Louis Brandeis

We’re beginning to see a few recurring themes on data strategy, and this McKinsey piece captures a number of them. The most important is transitioning from using data as a backward-looking assessment tool to harnessing its predictive power to inform future decisions. The other is to imbue a data and analytics mindset across your entire organization. This is a great roundup of thoughts from a number of industry leaders on the growing importance of data culture. (McKinsey)


4. STORYTELLING

The Power of Your Archives

Our media insider-y Twitter feed was lit up with excitement over the NY Times hiring of Veronica Chambers to lead their Archival Storytelling team. We are very excited to see what the NYT does in the space, as we strongly believe every established firm has a tremendous opportunity in leveraging the knowledge they have created over the years to tell deeper stories. It also led to journalism job descriptions that incredibly require “This person should also be well versed in 20th century history and well acquainted with New York City’s history, too.” Paging Robert Langdon.


5. CREATIVITY

How to make your CEO look good

How does every photograph, from Sweetgreen salads to public company CEOs look so damn good nowadays? This Bloomberg piece looks at the art of “direct-flash photography” or blasting light into an image to bring an almost surreal level of clarity. (Bloomberg)

Term of the day: Docuport — the combination of skills related to documentary photogrpahy and portraiture.


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.

Techmeme has long been the gold standard in news curation, and their newsletter is a perfect way to manage the onslaught of daily technology news. Two things we absolutely love:

  • The site has long adopted the practice of rewriting article headlines to add more context, which translates especially well to email.
  • This is the first time we’ve seen tweets rendered in a text-only manner like this, and it flows very well in the format (maybe you’ll see this here soon).

7. B2B FUNNIES


8. YOUR WEEKLY EDGE PARABLE

We admit it. We send out hundreds of newsletter campaigns a month and we’ve made a few mistakes.

This report from Litmus reminds us that, surprisingly, mistakes are an important metric for a successful email program. A few things strongly resonated with us:

  • Email is a channel where frequency should be high, turnaround times tight, and once you hit send, there is no turning back. In other words, it’s more prone to errors than other forms of digital publishing.
  • Not finding mistakes could be a huge red flag, as you might not have the QA processes in place to catch them.
  • In their survey data, they found that the brands who openly acknowledge mistakes tend to be far more innovative, as well as have stronger processes in place.

Email is the perfect medium to begin creating a culture of iterative, agile content processes. It’s fast, conversational, ephemeral and forgiving. Making mistakes is simply part of this transition.