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Here are some recent posts to Tim Oake's Blog concerning e-newsletter recommendations for our clients, partners and visitors. The current home page of the Blog can be found here.

Monday, April 12th

A choice of 11 free newsletters for creatives

Brand Republic

Brand Republic has traditionally been the online presence for Haymarket’s prestigious stable of UK marketing communications publications. Haymarket publishes scores of leading consumer and trade magazines however, and it’s extending its brands into electronic form in the UK and overseas. Its marcomms titles used to include Revolution, Marketing Direct, Media Week and Promotions & Incentives, so along with its flagship publications in this area of Marketing, Campaign and PR Week, the Brand Republic site had plenty of material to work in the creative sector alone. Times have changed in the publishing industry of course. They now only feature the 'big three' plus Event magazine on the creative side, so the Brand Channel site also features and promotes all the Haymarket titles.

Haymarket marcomms titles

The Brand Republic website has been online since 2001, and the Periodical Publishers Association gave it their best business website award for its relaunch four years ago. As well as providing news stories from journalists on all four remaining Haymarket marketing/creative titles, it features appointments, research, blogs, agency showcases and multimedia content.

Campaign Creative Fix

While the website is an excellent free-to-access information source in its own right, I’m recommending Brand Republic today for another of its key offerings. You can sign up on the site for eleven really useful free marketing news bulletins they send to you by e-mail. I know many of our clients and partners here in Holland subscribe to newsletters from Adformatie and Communicatie; they’ll find these will complement them with a more international focus. They range from daily news from multiple sources to a number of more specialist weekly bulletins, focusing on areas like creative, design, the data sector, direct marketing, media and market research. My favourite is Campaign's 'Creative Fix'. You can preview latest issues of each on the site before deciding which to subscribe to. Click on 'email bulletins' at the top of the home page.

Sunday, February 14th

Corporate citizenship newsletters

I’ve been interested in the topic of how businesses can actively contribute to a wider group of stakeholders than their shareholders, customers, employees and suppliers since I conducted research on the topic at the LSE in the early seventies. Terms like ‘welfare capitalism’ were still being used in those days, and it was still the preserve of a few, large, exceptional companies and philanthropic entrepreneurs.

We’ve come a long way since, as evidenced by the hundreds of Annual CSR and Sustainability Reports that are now being published. Good ‘corporate citizenship’ has been well and truly in the mainstream for a while now, as is the view that contributing to a better environment and the welfare of society at large does not have to be an altruistic cost for businesses. Nowadays it’s not even seen as just benefiting reputation, enhancing brand value and employee motivation. It can – and perhaps should – be seen as a long-term commercial business investment.

I’m pleased to say that helping companies to effectively communicate their CSR activities to all their audiences has become a speciality for Oake Communications. As we're now in the middle of the peak season for annual reporting, I'm in the office right now, working on CSR reports for three clients. One of the ways we keep in touch with developments in the corporate citizenship arena is to subscribe to a number of newsletters that I’d like to share with you today.

Ethical Corporation

Ethical Corporation is a London-based independent publisher and conference organiser, launched in 2001 to encourage debate and discussion on responsible business. They've published Ethical Corporation magazine for over five years, and we've been receiving a free monthly e-newsletter from them since the beginning of this year.


CSRwire is a leading source of corporate social responsibility and sustainability news, reports and information. Its members are companies and NGOs, agencies and organizations interested in communicating their corporate citizenship, sustainability, and socially responsible initiatives to a global audience through CSRwire's syndication network and weekly News Alerts. Subscribing to their free ‘news alerts’ provides a useful resource for staying abreast of corporate social responsibility issues. Press releases distributed by companies and non-profit organizations provide insight into emerging business practices. CSRwire is a subsidiary of Meadowbank Lane Capital, which the Wall Street Journal describes as a 'socially responsible investment bank', but they’re sensible not to make their self-promotion too intrusive.

Global Reporting Initiative

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an independent, multi-stakeholder institution that develops and disseminates globally applicable Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. The GRI is an official collaborating centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and works in cooperation with the UN’s Global Compact. As we’re frequently called upon to provide CSR communications consultancy and write for clients on the subject, we've been organizational stakeholders of the GRI since 2003. Subscribing to the ‘GRI Monthly News Update’ is free of charge however.


Another organization that promotes CSR tools and standards is what used to be known as the UK’s Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability, now better known simply as AccountAbility. We've been receiving their free monthly newsletter since early in 2002.


'People Planet Profit', or 'P+', is a Dutch organization dedicated to CSR and sustainability. It was launched in 2002, and is published by Atticus BV, run by Bob Wennekendonk, who was earlier the publisher of the Dutch advertising and marketing trade weekly ‘Adformatie’. The editor is Jan Bom, who used to be editor of FNV Magazine and ‘Media Manager’ of the ArenA initiative in Amsterdam-Zuidoost. Their free e-newsletters are interesting and often provide alternative viewpoints to the others, but are nowadays only available in Dutch.

CRO newsletter

From 2002 through 2006 we used to receive ‘Biz Ethics Buzz’, the e-mail newsletter from ‘Business Ethics’ magazine. In October 2007, Business Ethics was incorporated into 'The CRO', a cross-media package for Corporate Responsibility Officers. In addition to The CRO magazine, website and events, they publish a free bi-monthly e-newsletter every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. The newsletters include news in review, trends and reports, opinion pieces and an overview of upcoming features in the magazine.

World Economic Forum

A last recommendation before this post takes up the whole page is the free press release service from the World Economic Forum, the organization most famous for the annual meetings they organize in January in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos. What they used to call ‘newsletters’ when we started subscribing in 2003 were always undisguised WEF press releases, and now they call them just that. Since they very often make the news in areas where globalization meets sustainability and corporate citizenship, however, I’ve found them to be a useful resource.

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Keeping tabs on trends, based here in Amsterdam, describes itself as a ‘trend firm’. They started up over seven years ago, and their focus is on spotting and tracking consumer trends, insights and new business ideas from around the world. The free ‘Trend Briefing’ e-newsletter they publish each month is aimed at marketers, CEOs, researchers and others who are keen to keep track of consumer trends and what their present and potential competitors are up to. Ultimately it should help them bring innovative and successful products, services or ‘experiences’ to market.

The first editions I received when I started subscribing in 2004 were unusually substantial as e-newsletters go – often weighing in at around 15 A4s and 7,000 words. It has always contained much of interest to manufacturers of consumer products of all kinds, retailers, market researchers and others however. Nowadays the newsletters contain headlines and introductory texts with links to the full content on the website.

2010 trends

There’s usually a theme to each issue, although these can sometimes appear to be somewhat contrived. Last month’s edition was called ‘Nowism’ for example, and focused on how “consumers’ ingrained lust for instant gratification is being satisfied by a host of novel, important (offline and online) real-time products, services and experiences”. Each December the newsletter features key trends they forecast for the coming year. I always find these a particularly interesting read, and this month’s is no exception. Partly because its subject matter is less US-biased than many similar offerings, Trendwatching has become my favourite newsletter of its type. I also admire them for clearly stating that any of their material may be freely quoted as long as it’s properly credited.


I do subscribe to two other trend newsletters however. Following his now-defunct ‘Trendscape’ organization and his ‘Iconocast’ and ‘’ newsletters. Michael Tchong resurfaced in 2007 with ‘Ubercool’, which, like Trendscape before it, also revolves around its founder as a personality and hiring him for speaking engagements as a core offering. He now publishes his free ‘Ubertrends’ newsletter about six times a year. The latest edition features what Ubercool calls “the rising clout of the female gender”, which “is being propelled by an Ubertrend we’ve dubbed the Woman’s Acceptance’s Factor”.


The other is a free weekly, called ‘Iconowatch’, to which you can subscribe on the Iconoculture website. Iconowatch has recently been featuring trends that apply in particular to four consumer groups: ‘Millenials’, ‘Gen-Xers’, ‘Boomers/Matures’ and ‘Latinos’. Each newsletter also has a ‘Market Facts’ section, with handy links to trend reports from various global sources on the web. A week ago Iconoculture also “unveiled the top nine Big Ideas that will inform consumer behavior in 2010”. You can currently find an overview of these on their website, and I found it interesting to compare them with the trends that Trendwatching’s December newsletter predicted for 2010.

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

News from Booz

Strategy & Business newsletters

Along with the Harvard Business Review, Strategy & Business has long been one of my favourite general business magazines. It's published by the global management consulting firm Booz & Company, which had been known as Booz Allen Hamilton until May last year.

Booz & Company

Strategy & Business is a quarterly targeted at senior business executives and the people who influence them. It boasts a worldwide readership of more than 150,000 and is readily available from larger newsagents in Holland. Aspiring to ‘thought leadership’, the magazine hosts articles from a combination of Booz consultants, journalists, academics and corporate strategists.

Strategy + Business eNews

I’ve subscribed to Strategy & Business e-mail newsletters for over seven years now. They’ve gradually metamorphosed into two titles, both of which are welcome arrivals in my in-box. Until last month, one of these - 'enews' - was a monthly, but along with a redesigned website in September, it became a weekly. It now features an overview of the most significant article published on the site that week, with a link through to the full story.

S+B at a Glance

The previous monthly, Resilience Report, has now been replaced by 's+b at a Glance', a monthly digest of a selection of key stories and recent research, again of course with links to the full pieces on the Strategy & Business website. You can always read and print them there, and can often download them as a PDF. Like those in the magazine, they’re usually very interesting and thought provoking. It's an easy process, only requiring you click on the sign-ip button on the homepage, then give your name, e-mail address, country and postcode, and I can highly recommend signing up for both of these newsletters.

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Fascinating and useful information from real experts.

Brand Channel

Brandchannel describes itself as “the world’s only online exchange about branding”. I’ve subscribed to their ‘weekly update’ since October 2001. It’s only an ‘e-newsletter’ in the sense that it’s a regularly e-mailed communication containing news. The ‘news’ in this case is represented by single sentences describing topics, accompanied by links to them on So Brandchannel’s ‘weekly update’ doesn’t really constitute a stand-alone newsletter that you can read in your inbox. Nevertheless, I’m bending the rules calling today's post an e-newsletter recommendation because the content to which it links is almost always really informative and interesting, and is a beautifully designed website.

Brand Channel newsletter is run by Interbrand, the internationally operating branding consultancy that has created some of the word's best-known brand identities. Interbrand is itself part of the giant Omnicom Group, which includes ad agencies BBDO, DDB and TBWA along with many specialized communications, PR and media firms. Their Dutch office used to be around the corner from us in the centre of Amsterdam on the Herengracht, but they moved out to Amstelveen a couple of years ago. Interbrand are also well known for the annual survey of the world’s top 100 brands they produce with Business Week. The 2009 - and 10th anniversary - edition will be published on September 21st, and full reports for the last nine years can be found on the Interbrand website.

Brand Channel website

As the child of a big name consultancy, you might imagine that Brandchannel would just be a vehicle to promote its parent. My experience has been that it more than lives up to its claim to editorial independence, providing an exceptionally useful, authoritative and objective resource and forum for anyone interested in branding. Content includes weekly feature articles on a wide variety of branding topics, interactive debates on controversial branding issues, profiles of unique brands, book reviews and white papers. Most topic areas are fully archived on the site and most sections are updated weekly.

To subscribe to Brandchannel’s weekly update, go to their website and click on the pulsating ‘go’ register button. I think you’ll find the couple of minutes it will take you will have been very well invested.

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Designed for reading

I must admit I don’t read as many magazines as I used to. But in the mid-nineties a number of new titles hit the newsstands focusing on what was then called the ‘new economy’, and reflecting the heady excitement of those times in both their content and design. They tended to be weightier (in the literal sense, at least) and laid out more elegantly than more established titles like BusinessWeek, Forbes, Fortune and the Economist.

Fast Company Now Daily

For a year or so I found myself buying two or three of these publications a month. Most have since fallen by the wayside, along with the ‘dot.coms’ who’d thought that basing their business on the Internet alone was enough to guarantee success. In fact, with the demise of Business 2.0 a couple of years ago, Fast Company is the sole survivor as far as I know. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that it’s now in the same publishing stable as Inc. magazine, which has been published continuously for almost 30 years.

Fast Company Now Daily

I’ve been receiving ‘Fast Take’, one of Fast Company’s e-mail newsletters, since 2001. It was a weekly until a month ago, and it used to outline articles in the current edition of the magazine and others exclusive to the website, along with various resources and discussions. On May 18th it was re-designed and transformed into the ‘Fast Company Now Daily’, and since then it has contained five selected stories about innovation each weekday. They are five of the latest stories about technology, design, and ‘ethonomics’ (‘ethical economics’ – usually about CSR-oriented entrepreneurship), as well as articles from the print magazine.

Fast Company Now Daily

As well as featuring really interesting articles, it’s a great new design, and one of the few newsletters that’s easy to scan within my desktop e-mail program or (especially since I updated to the new version 3.0 software today) on my iPhone. Along with Now Daily, Fast Company have also redesigned their other free newsletter offerings and have created a series of five weekly newsletters featuring the best of each week's stories in Leadership (Monday), Design (Tuesday), Technology (Wednesday), Ethonomics (Thursday) and the Best of Fast Company (Friday). You can sign up for these newsletters here on the Fast Company website.

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