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Why the enterprise should focus on expertise and not titles

August 30, 2011

Titles help make silos stronger. Think of your title: does it offer you the opportunity to create things outside of your department? For example, if your title is web designer, would it occur to you to design the in-store experience?

If your title is Public Relations person, would you think about the web experience?

Most-likely you should. Here’s why: classic PR is very much like a considered B2B purchase. A PR person sends a pitch to a person who is at work – in this case, a reporter. Then the PR person follows up with a call. The goal is to get the journalist to buy the story.

In the middle of that process, the journalist Google’s the brand or issue. That second point of contact matters as much as the follow up call. For one brand that I once helped manage, we populated the website with current news about the brand. Stories that were written in the past. And the PR person was basically a web editor, managing the content on the website through Delicious tags.

The point is, it is vital that we re-think the way we work. It is no longer acceptable to be just a part of the process because the internet is in almost every part of the journey.

Consider in-store; before the consumer had a computer in their pocket, there wasn’t a need for in-store communications to care about what was online. That has obviously changed. Brands need to know what the consumer will see in the aisle when they bring out their computers.

What is the answer?

I think, as corny as it sounds, we need to drastically rethink titles. Manager of consumer experience. Consumer experience practitioner. Engagement specialist.

While these titles sound overtly new-agey, and possibly even corny, the point is to unhinge people from the limitations of their titles.

But, and this is important, people should still be given defined duties. If the person is a PR person, they still need to pitch and follow up. But they should be encouraged to get involved in other aspects of the journey. Google famously expects all employees to spend 10% of their time inventing things.

People in the enterprise should be encouraged to invent and create at least 10% of the time. At the very least, it will allow the enterprise to create an experience database. The ides and content that people create can be easily tagged with things like “web” “in-store” “marketing” “process”, etc. Those tags can then be transferred to the person who came up with the idea. In short time, you’ll have a database of ideas and a database of potential experts.

And who knows, maybe the next web idea will come from the HR Manager.

What do you think?

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