Online Brand Destruction: Lessons Learned from Harvard Business Review

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I'm posting this because Forrester, the analyst firm which advises so many companies on how they should manage their web presence, just destroyed their online ecosystem. History has a way of repeating itself, because we don't learn from our mistakes. In terms of online brand presence, we are often our worst competitor.

Here's the same mistake, made by another famous institution.

Back in middle of 2009, the folks at Harvard Business Review moved to a new online home. They left the shelter of the business school and established a site of their own. They switched domains from hbswk.hbs.edu to harvardbusiness.org.  

Good idea, bad execution. 

Why? Because when they moved, they switched the old site off.

At the time, I created two charts - a before and an after - to see the extent of the damage they had caused to themselves:

BEFORE:

eco_hbr_before.gif

AFTER:

eco_hbr_after.gif

Overnight, they went from being the center of the thought-leadership universe (BusinessWeek, The Economist, Knowledge@Wharton, The McKinsey Quarterly, and Strategy + Business were all satellites in the old ecosystem) to a stand-alone with no connections.  They lost 80-90% of their traffic, and more importantly, they lost their preeminent position in Google and Yahoo.

Luckily, being Harvard Business Review, they recovered.  But they lost important ground to their competitors. Knowledge@Wharton has far outpaced them online.

And now Forrester makes the same mistake.

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Just a few days ago I praised Forrester's decision to create individual blogs for all their analysts.  So they finally get it, I thought.  Boy, was I wrong!Yesterday I noticed how their migration to the new blogging platform was executed:Yes,... Read More

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