Designations transformation

Title-mania is transforming the executive suites of Madison Avenue, as agencies and advertisers give senior managers some non-traditional, offbeat, even wacky titles.

There are several of those like a Group idea Management a Chief Transformation Officer or the title of Marketing Evangelist or Chief consumer Officer, Vice President for Stake holder relations etc., Executives have been appointed recently to all those titles.

For example, Initiative, a media agency owned by a large Group of companies, named a Chief Activation officer recently. Last month Arnold Worldwide promoted an executive to ‘Director for the department of Human nature’. And Yahoo named an executive to serve as ‘Chief of Insights’.

Experts say the unconventional titles are intended to signal a realization by an advertiser or agency that in a rapidly changing marketing and media landscape, the time for the tried and true has come and gone.

The titles serve the same purpose, in other words, as an agency announcing that it is opening a division specializing in e-mail marketing, getting into the field of branded entertainment or starting a blog.

“The agency is saying: We are contemporary. We get it,� said Susan Fried man, whose firm, Susan Fried man in New York, is a leading executive recruiter for agencies. “Agencies have long needed to reinvent themselves, and this is one good way to do it.�

The fanciful titles need not be considered to be gimmicky, so long as the duties of the executives were actually different from those with more traditional titles.

If it’s not just a title, it means the agencies are realigning staff, giving people broader tasks, moving forward. It’s just what clients have been asking for and it has taken them 5 to 6 years to get through said the director of a recruiting company.

An executive who is part of the trend is former chief creative officer at Organic, part of the Omnicom Group. She was hired in May by JWT in New York, part of the WPP Group, as its ‘Chief Experience Officer’.

The purpose of the post is to work with executive creative directors to produce campaigns that are extended beyond typical forms like television commercials and print advertisements into new-media realms like the internet, streaming video and e-mail marketing.

The title trend is gaining popularity at the same time as the practice of giving agencies unusual names, to let potential clients know they take an unconventional approach to advertising.

It gives advertisers a peek at our sensibility so they can say either they love it or it’s not for them. For the recruiting agencies it has been a great sales tool.