Chief Inspiration Officers and the pitfalls of daft job names

We recently stumbled across an interview in The Times with celebrity stylist Law Roach. Or rather, Image Architect Law Roach. And it got us thinking about the outlandish titles people give themselves.

Are these titles symbols of pretention or liberating self-individuation? Should we embrace the opportunity to define our unique skills or plump for accepted, recognisable titles?

Working in advertising, we’re only too aware of the doublespeak: the learnings and the synergy and the many variations of brand architecture. Sometimes it can feel like simple concepts are being deliberately dressed up as something far more complex.

So when this approach is brought to people’s roles, it can become confusing as to what someone actually does and where they stand in the company. There’s also the question around how seriously people take obscure titles. As with the rich array of quirky agency names in adworld, the more left-field ones can sometimes stray into the facepalm-emoji category and risk being disregarded for their silliness.

However, the world of work is changing: Covid happened, certain jobs are obsolete, everything is more digitised. Designers don’t just design. Copywriters don’t just write. The outward-seeming graphic designer who’s calling herself a Vision Curator may in fact spend a lot of time curating visions and little time designing graphics.

And as the post-Covid consensus allows us to further personalise the way we work, perhaps we should make room for the personalisation of roles too and stop sneering at the Chief Inspiration Officers and the Image Architects.

For the Directors of First Impressions, however, we’ll permit ourselves a healthy dose of scepticism.