Too many people place too much importance on titles

Stuart Elliott’s column in yesterday’s Times reported a resurgence in bizarre job titles at ad agencies and web design shops. According to the column, titles like "chief experience officer, " "marketing evangelist" and "chief consumer officer" are all the rage now at such hot shops as Strawberry Frog, Walrus and Naked Nitro.

Unlike their wacko "dotcom days" job title counterparts, Elliott says current ad sector job titles are more "outward facing" and reflect the type of experience an executive brings to the plate. So, a chief experience officer, for example, supposedly has deep insight into consumer wants and needs. Whatever.

In my mind, creative job titles are just about irrelevant. It’s the person and what she brings to the equation in solving client problems that counts, not her cool-sounding job title.

I can remember some real beauts from the dotcom days. We represented one crazy firm, for example, whose CEO’s job title was "Mr. Big." And, the PR director’s title was "minister of propaganda." I kid you not (one wonders if he had ever taken the time to study the history of World War II?). I also recall a "duke of partnership data" job title at another failed dotcom.

Clients care about strategy, creativity, counsel and, of course, results. Creative job titles are about as important as yesterday’s newspaper. That said, if you have any great job title examples to share, please do so. I’m all ears. In fact, maybe I’ll change my title to "chief listening officer.

9 thoughts on “Too many people place too much importance on titles

  1. David: I’m fine with that title change if Ed is. I-man, you’re right. We did refer to you at one point in time as the “Jose Reyes of P’com.” But that was when Reyes was always injured and under performing. If you were still with us, you’d be called the “Lastings Milledge of P’com.”

  2. Good post Rep. This is more of a wacky dotcom example…but Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang’s title is “Chief Yahoo!” Nothing wrong with having a sense of humor I suppose.

  3. Great comments, Dick. Although I was joking about creating a “chief listening officer” title for myself, it isn’t a half-bad thought since, in my opinion, nothing is more important than listening…..whether it’s listening to clients, prospects, employees or others.

  4. I remember all this and I wish the CEO would change to CRO (Chief Responsibility Officer). Also, for those employees that constantly show up for work without producing anything I think CAP would work (Chief Avoidance Person).