Many people will tell you that job titles are not important. Far
fewer will relinquish their own status.
Several of London’s trendiest media companies have abandoned the concept
of job titles in the last year or two, with many more claiming they do
not consider job titles important and have ’flat structures’. But
everyone always wants to know who the boss is, and most media folk
remain obsessed by rank, whatever they may say in their more corporate
Of course, the naming of staff is a treacherous business. Build them up
too much and you create an American-style structure where everyone is a
chief and where many people seem to have status way beyond their ability
or experience. But bestow lowly titles upon relatively senior managers
and you can end up with a demoralised workforce.
Some media sales organisations have realised that a cunning change in
titles to those favoured by agencies or marketing departments can
provide not only a morale boost, but might also help in luring top sales
people and in doing business with agencies.
The sales team at Metro is a case in point, staffed as it is with a
brand group head, planning head, brand managers and assistant brand
Metro boss Mike Anderson, who created the titles, said media owners
needed to create the planner/seller in the same way media agencies had
created the planner/buyer.
Whether or not the crew at Metro is actually any different to other
sales teams is debatable. But the emphasis on planning and branding has
enabled Anderson to attract former agency staff, and has helped focus
the team on developing relationships with particular agencies, rather
than simply flogging quarter pages.
As electronic media trading becomes commonplace and consumers grow
immune to advertising, the number of planner/sellers and creative
solutions staff will surely increase.
Tom Toumazis’s restructure of the whole Emap ad sales team has created a
number of roles of this kind. Last week he unveiled the ’market
development’ team, which will focus on linking Emap’s many media through
sponsorship packages, and will be charged with formulating creative
solutions. Excuse the jargon, but this looks an excellent way of
unlocking the company’s value.
Toumazis has also eliminated some of the rather grand titles that
existed at Emap Elan. The publishers - who were actually fulfilling the
function of an ad director - have been renamed ad directors, and the ad
directors are now group heads or ad managers.
It’s a sensible and brave move but, given people’s obsession with rank,
it might spark a few departures. You wouldn’t bet against it.