OPINION: A job title is more than just a name, it’s an obsession

Many people will tell you that job titles are not important. Far fewer will relinquish their own status.

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.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus