9) What are the main strategy fora and is there a preeminent forum?

01/01/2011 00:00


     A good strategy forum or blog would be a useful "nice-to-have" addition to any strategist´s toolkit, from the interested MBA student to the CEO of a multinational. However when one enters variations of "corporate strategy forum" in google, one gets surprisingly few relevant hits. One reason is that a number of hits are not really active, e.g. www.corporatestrategy-forum.blogspot.com, with dated entries. The jury therefore appears to out on ruling any forum preemient. The most likely way for that to happen would be the creation of one by a major university and/or one of the premier strategy consulting firms. Another possibility is for a strategy user group to form at LinkedIn, which eventually achieves "McKinsey" status in its own right.  

    Regardless, participating in multiple fora, let alone managing one, can easily change from a rewarding PR activity to a debilitating "time suck." One could, of course, seek to monetize a forum or blog. That is often done through paid memberships. In this case some articles are limited to Premium Subscribers, as did the McKinsey Journal for a while. Yet that requires additional resources, i.e. still more management time. Furthermore this approach is somewhat contrary to the spirit of this website, "First, provide value."

     In lieu of a Bridges Strategy Forum, we therefore decided to participate in MarketingProfs, and The Harvard Business Review (HBR) Answer Exchange) . To discuss these in turn:


MarketingProfs) started out in 2000 as Alan Weiss´s website for his MBA and Executive MBA students. He is a marketing professor at the University of California who formerly was at Stanford. In less than four years the website grew to over 100,000 subscribers, and as of March 2011 had 384,000 subscribers. Some of these pay an annual fee for premium services. However the helpful "Know-how Exchange Forum" is available at no charge.

     In this forum marketing questions are rapidly and intelligently answered by the membership. One earns points by submitting answers, and spends points by asking questions. The section most likely to be of interest to Bridges clients is "marketing strategy." Be advised that navigating the site, for instance to answer a post, is not always intuitively obvious. To reach the Forum scroll down to the bottom of the long home page. In the blue box there you will see the heading "Community" and underneath that "Know-how Exchange Forum." 

The HBR Answer Exchange of Havard Business Review was launched March 26th, 2010. It enjoyed the powerhouse branding of the Harvard name, supported by a nicely designed, easy to navigate site with interesting "bells and whistles.") We participated under the name of BridgeS-EC (with an avatar, naturally, of an elephant). Admittedly, the Harvard forum had two disadvantages.

     First, business topics in general were addressed. Much of the activity on the forum was therefore irrelevant for Bridges. 

     Second, the power of the Harvard brand had the downside of attracting everyone and his brother. A  globalization conspiracy theorist along with someone who did not believe in gravity might surface from time to time, but, thankfully, not too often.

     Havard Business Review "retired" the Answer Exchange (www.answers.hbr.org) the first quarter of 2011, after running it less than a year.  We appreciated the basic concept and found its packaging attractive. ) ) Yet whatever strategy was implemented, to achieve whatever goal HBR was pursuing, failed. The blogging offered by HBR, with an entirely different format, is not much of a substitute.  


A Bridges Strategy Forum may eventually be launched, with premium access restricted to clients. Because of our business model of "one client per industry" members will be able to discuss strategic issues with one another more openly than on an unrestricted platform. Until then, consider posting questions about marketing strategy at MarketingProfs.



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