The Challenge: Designing and Building a Platform that Drives Subscriptions, Engagement, and Social Media Sharing
The pricing and growth model for HBR Ascend matched that of their parent company and other online magazines. They wanted readers to have access to a few articles for free to give them a taste of what the magazine had to offer. They believed that once readers saw value in the publication, a significant portion of them would sign up for a monthly or quarterly subscription.
In order to be successful, they needed to create a well-designed platform that was true to the Harvard Business Review brand—featuring valuable, relevant content alongside a seamless user experience. Specifically, they aimed to provide not only articles, but podcasts, videos, infographics, and interactive tools. They needed to offer content that would engage hardworking millennials and inspire them to share it.
First India. Then the World.
The team decided to market the product to India first, since the world’s largest democracy had a huge population of young professionals who could benefit from developing their soft-skills for business. The plan was to expand the target audience globally if the Indian market proved receptive.
“This is the first time that HBR is developing an offering primarily for early career professionals anywhere in the world,” Vivek Chachra, Country Manager at Harvard Business Publishing India, told TheBetterIndia.com. “This is also the first time that HBP is developing a product specifically contextualized to a particular market, that is, India."
Needless to say, the stakes were high.