It is a truth universally acknowledged that the best way to learn how to write is to read – and so we have spent a lot of 2023 looking at white papers across an array of sectors.
And there have been some fantastic ones published this year.
Here are five of our favourites – we’ve not been involved in these reports, but they have excited and inspired us, so we wanted to share them with you.
The Retail Trust – The Health of Retail
This is a fascinating dive into the retail sector, which is in the midst of a seismic shift. What is particularly striking about the report is how so much in-depth data is cut into digestible chunks that could be re-used across a number of platforms.
The exec summary alone, expanding upon the fact that 80% of retail workers experienced a deterioration in wellbeing in the last 12 months, looks at the hows, whys and improvements in a small spread.
There’s also interesting qual research and a huge amount of information put across in 29 pages – longer than we’d recommend normally so @The Retail Trust deserves huge credit for making it all so engaging and digestible.
Kin and Carta – Leadership Priorities in Tech
A shorter 20-page report – into digital transformation, which puts across the state of play by surveying 800 business leaders across the UK and US. It sets up the myriad ways “digital transformation” is affecting business and then takes a deep dive into tech anxiety and fears of cyber security, AI and machine learning.
The report reveals how businesses are going through digital transformation even if they don’t realise it, dig into their worries and show how they might be overcome.
This kind of thought leadership white paper, really feels like the creation or cementing of a new term in the conscious. If Digital Transformation is happening, @Kin and Carta look miles ahead of the game.
Nudge – Global Financial Wellbeing Report 2023
A fantastic white paper that uses research into financial wellbeing among employees. There’s some arresting stats about financial stresses in a world with global inflation.
There’s mixed-method qualitative and quantitative research, used to good effect. In a way it is a simple problem/solution white paper with the problem (financial anxiety in a changing world) clearly defined and then solutions (education and programmes) offered up with clarity – next steps are on every page.
What we like most about this report is that it’s almost a polemic: there’s a genuine driving force of argument which comes all the way through. You are left with a sensation that @Nudge believes very deeply in their project and wants to improve the world for workers and employers. That’s the best result from thought leadership.
Klayvio – Black Friday in Europe Report
A great topic – the way that European consumers have latched on to Black Friday shopping despite not having the Thanksgiving holiday is fascinating.
The marketing digital platform @Klayvio used quant research of 5,000 consumers and 800 marketing employees to really dig into what consumers want from the day. After presenting the information well, they then explain what can be done to interest potential consumers – i.e. when to contact them and on what platform.
It’s 20 pages long and every single one of them has an interesting fact or a tip.
Sendcloud – E Commerce Delivery Compass 2023
Having worked on @Loqate’s “The Future of the Online Checkout Report” a couple of years ago, we were interested to read this white paper from Software as a Service company @Sendcloud. And it didn’t disappoint.
Excellent design, with a large sample of consumers (9000 worldwide), the robust research reveals the growth in social media shopping, and investigates the reasons for checkout abandonment and different delivery time preferences.
But it was the truly international nature of this white paper which caught our attention. The fact that they delved into delivery preferences around the world and the trade off between fast and free shipping (US will pay for faster, Europe prefers to wait and have it free) were all great insights.
At 36 pages, it’s the longest white paper we’ve chosen here – but it’s fair to say that for people in the industry, it’d be a genuinely absorbing read.