Donaton on Verklin Contradicts Measurable Branding Results Online

Scott Donaton, the editor of Advertising Age just wrote an article gushing over what a visionary leader David Verklin is.

Will someone other than David Verklin please stand up?

I mean, really, is there a single other human being who has been as much of a leader, visionary, a force for change and a voice of optimism industries over the last 15 years? The answer is no, and that’s remarkable, as a statement on Verklin’s talents and as shameful commentary on the leadership vacuum.

So, being a student of leadership and branding both, I wanted to check out Mr. Verklin’s company to see how a visionary’s company presents the brand online. While I have no doubt Mr. Verklin is indeed an amazing visionary leader, I also have no doubt that he has NOT held his people accountable for baseline branding on the web. Why do I say this? Because I can’t find the site in google BY NAME, which to most of us is a completely fair measure of half-hearted-capabilities.

Specifically I wanted to find the Carat America site. I googled it as "Carat America". By brand name no less.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Carat+America
I get a portfolio listing but not one on their site or even a listing for their company.

Then I tried "Carat Verklin"
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=Carat+Verklin
I get a media week listing but not the company site. Ironically the article is about eyes shifting to media dollars.

After numerous searches and finding the Carat Group site (not Americas but the main group – I realize that) I ran a keyword density analyzer on the site trying to figure out how it was possible that they did not come up at all. First, they have a redirect on the home page which gave even the density analyzer an error. Then I tried the redirected subpage and got this:

Single Words
Occurrence: 4
keyword count density score
carat 1 25.00 1
enter 1 25.00 3
global 1 25.00 3
site 1 25.00 3

That is the complete report. All of it.

BY clicking "services" I got a long URL which at least had some content.
http://www.carat.com/carat/IntranetDocViewer?wsDocTypeId=0&wsScreenType=90&wsRow=1&wsCol=3&wsDepth=1&wsBI=null
Note that it does not say the word advertising at all and only says "media" once on the page. Television, brand and interactive are also missing.  Who wrote this stuff?

I am glad Mr. Verklin is getting some nice press. But the arrogance of big media assuming everyone will find them, that people will jump through hoops to track them down, smacks of cluetrain type big business arrogance and nothing less than brand foolishness.

Ad Agencies need to hold their people accountable for online branding results, and that includes making sure your site is found in the search engines. To hire creative people who count on you, and to ignore the media landscape, to ignore online branding and then lay everyone off and say "hey, I guess there was a slow down" like so many agencies do, is irresponsible. It is bad for the brand, and definitely bad for the people. It is arrogance and arrogance doesn’t play.