Bringing This Newsletter Back Online

Wheels up, friends — it’s time to talk marketing, digital, e-comm, and brand again.

Hey gang,

We’re hopping back on the regular newsletter train, with a couple of key changes from 2019:

• Less pontificating
• More helping

The plan is to send one out every few weeks with notes on what we’ve been seeing, thinking, and doing. The spark to bring this back was largely driven by seeing what Melissa and Jonathan Nightingale, Sarah Stockdale of WNTTAT, and the Bright & Early newsletters have been consistently able to produce. All three are regular, local newsletters in the tech, life, and HR spaces that do a bang-up job of dropping doses of knowledge in helpful, earnest, witty ways, and are well worth subscribing to.

So why not aim for something similar, focused on the crazy, interesting, ever-shifting overlap between branding, messaging, e-commerce, marketing, and the web?

As you can probably tell, this will also be a little bit more first-person in tone, as it’s written by me (Stuart, Stack’s Founder & Creative Director). As time goes on, we may pass the baton to some of our team members to share their own insights and knowledge as well.

In that same spirit, I invite you to reply with any thoughts, feedback, comments, pros, cons, loves, hates, or so-so’s that you feel. Much like marketing as a whole, a newsletter is inherently a one-way channel — but only for the first step. The magic comes when dialogues build. If we produce something you agree with, can’t stand, or have more context on and feel like chipping in, feel free to reply — or heck, even pitch your own response to go out in the next issue 😉


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What We’ve Been Seeing

Shopify made headlines last week by becoming the most valuable company in Canada. Stock price aside, they’ve certainly been busy:

  • The number of new stores set up on Shopify between mid-March and mid-April was up 62% (from the latest episode of The Unofficial Shopify Podcast)

Having a website has been a no-brainer for 20+ years. Having a website that allows you to process purchases, directly own the relationship with your customers, integrate into one unified inventory and POS system, and scale up or down depending on your business and needs…well, it’s now a no-brainer for virtually any business that sells distinct products or services to end users. Onwards against Amazon.

What We’ve Been Thinking

There’s been quite a lot of chatter recently about how many people might elect to work from home forever once COVID has passed.

I don’t doubt that will be the case for some. But like with anything, the answer lies in balancing the two extremes of always-in-office or always-remote.

The agency we’re building is one that’s allowed remote working from day one, and that will always be the case — but I can’t foresee us becoming a fully-remote-all-the-time agency.

Building your company’s operations on a cloud-based infrastructure has been standard practice for years now, and having workplace ethics and policies that allow flexibility for any staff member to work from home as needed, without judgement or impact to their daily productivity, workplace connections, or chances for progress, is just as essential.

But on an emotional and human level, we’re social beings.

Slack and video calls help a bit — but I can’t help but think we’re all missing patios, random chats, and the certain magic that can come from getting a few people in a room together to come up with something new. Not to mention team lunches, presentations, brainstorms, pitches, 1:1s, venting sessions, and all the other elements of daily working life that take us out of the uncanny valley of digital communications and back into the physical space we’re in.

Digital continues to embed itself deeper into the bedrock of our society, and in the areas of data, health, voting, and media, that will only continue to change — and I welcome that, as if it can continue to be safely and equitably managed, it’s a huge area of societal progress and much-needed hope.

But when it comes to how we spend our average Tuesdays, it ain’t enough.

What We’ve Been Doing

  • We signed up as an agency to be a volunteer partner for the City of Toronto/Digital Main Street/Shopify initiative announced earlier this week, to help get thousands of Toronto businesses online rapidly, for free. If you know a small business who needs digital help in the e-commerce space, send them to Digital Main Street.

Stuart Thursby is the Founder & Creative Director of Stack Creative, based in Toronto, Canada.

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Founder & Creative Director, Stack Creative in Toronto. Find us online at