Okay, this post is going to seem a little harsh. Famous people are easy targets, but it's a cautionary tale.
I am writing about Venture Communications, Dragon Den's Arlene Dikinson's company. I have been moved to write this because of the disconnect between the brand of this marketing company and how they are presenting themselves.
Venture Communications IS Arlene Dikinson. She is their celebrity spokesperson. Shouldn't we all be so lucky, BUT that also puts pressure on a company such as VC to make sure that it is leading the pack and not following it.
I saw Arlene speak at a wonderful event at the Glenn Gould Theatre, in Toronto last Thursday. She was charming. A great role model. I thought I would check the Venture Communications website on my smartphone. To my surprise, it did not have a mobile version. Does anyone else think that's bad for a company that is promoting itself as an expert in providing marketing experience? I asked Arlene about this after the presentation and she acknowledged that she knew about it and said, "We're working on it."
Frankly, this should have been done two years ago. Why would anyone entrust Venture Communications with their mobile property if they weren't walking the walk? I wouldn't. We've provided our customers with mobile tools now for about three years. We had to. It's what our clients expected from us.
Then there is the issue of the big honkin' Flash animation on the home page, which is actually very nicely done, but is not tablet or smartphone friendly. On my phone, the home page had this huge white gap. Bad. Bad. Bad.
The site is filled with feet and inch marks and not proper apostrophes and quote marks. That always bugs me, as an old type-guy. For body copy on a website, who cares, but for headlines, you need to format your type properly. So this tells me they don't care about type.
Arlene's blog is a separate site that overwrites the VC site rather than birthing a new page. I think that's bad form, and her last post was from March! Oh my, that's just awful. Get a ghost writer, Arlene.
Hey, it looks like they do good work and that's what really what counts. Arlene's brand will overcome these legitimate mistakes until the new site is completed. She'll survive, but I think that when you have a reputation and you are really OUT THERE you have to work harder to maintain your brand status. You can't just pay lip-service to your brand values.
I wonder if VC is listening to the social web, if they are using Google Alerts or listening on Twitter for news about themselves, good or bad? I can only hope.