WHAT IF? There were no titles in an agency.

Anyone that’s been in the world of advertising for any period of time will be well aware of the ever increasing encyclopedia of roles and titles that make up the teams and departments of an advertising agency. The larger the agency, the larger and more obscure titles become often including modifiers like “innovation”, “intelligence” and “digital”.

Looking at these titles, they almost make sense. The world is evolving and changing and the advertising industry is evolving with it. But what if the culture of an organization was built around being innovative, intelligent, digital and creative vs making it be the responsibility of one person or a department? Would it really mean more roles? Should the original roles themselves be evolving? Or should there be no titles at all?

Having no titles whatsoever would be total chaos. A title serves a very important role within an organization. It defines your area of expertise as an individual and what you are accountable for, the piece of the puzzle that you have ownership of and must steer in the right direction. With no titles you’d have every strategist claiming they should be coming up with the creative ideas and every producer feeling they can create the strategic platform for a campaign. It’s not to say everyone can’t pass their opinion or be involved in discussions. But there needs to be the person that can put the stake in the ground, put the final seal of approval on a deliverable, stand behind the decisions made and back them up with their expert knowledge.

What we propose is to get back to basics.

Look at the times before the evolutionary changes and look at what was being asked of agencies. These tasks were tackled with innovative thinking, science, intelligence, deep knowledge a strong understanding of who we are talking to and what makes them tick, and a keen interest in what’s happening around us in the world culturally. Do those traits sound familiar? That’s right, these sound like the new jazzy titles we see bandied around agencies today. So why didn’t we have them before? Are we simply defining our lack of ability or gaps in the rest of the agency and its leadership by highlighting a title we know a client would never even be aware of from an agency that has it covered as part of their day-to-day? Or more likely are we pandering to the industry buzzwords. We know clients are talking data so lets add the label “data-scientist” to our team structure so they feel we have it covered.

At the end of the day structure is a necessity.

Responsibilities needs to be defined so departments understand what they are accountable for. But individuals within those departments can cover many different bases. Today we have creatives that have a background in art or copy, and in this day and age technology too. They are complemented and supplemented with other individuals who fill in the gaps of their capabilities while still upholding their own role as a “creative” leader.

With that in mind, let’s build departments of individuals all falling under one departmental umbrella and title, but bringing their own expert knowledge, understanding and muscle to the table. With this we will cultivate solid departments, with their own hierarchy to define leadership, that can navigate and understand the ever increasing landscape we face every day.

At 2mrw we focus on cultivating our teams and culture in order to foster empowered team collaboration and facilitate great creative thinking and solutions. Come and talk to us at 2mrw.