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Titleflation Can Be Costly


Just about the time I thought Secretary’s Day had become an established retail selling season, somebody convinced everybody else that to call someone a secretary is demeaning.

I can’t quite understand that. In my career I had three terrific secretaries and the opportunity to know dozens of great secretaries in other companies. Then one day it wasn’t Secretary’s Day any more.

A cupcake shop advertised on radio a few weeks ago for "Administrative Professional’s Day." Another retailer advertised "Administrative Assistant’s Day." In both cases you were urged to buy something for your admin.

I haven’t conducted a poll, but I’ll bet most of the professional secretaries I’ve known were a lot happier being known as a secretary than they would have been as an admin.

Much has been written about titleflation, most of which is just nonsense. The welfare department proved that when it began calling people on welfare “clients.”

In this particular case, though, changing the name cost everybody. I asked Michael Pugh, the city’s largest florist, if Pugh’s did more or less business to celebrate Admin’s Day or Week than they did Secretary’s Day or Week. Business was at least twenty-five-percent better for secretaries than admins, he assured me.

Another example of the cost of titleflation.

To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to http://askmalmo.com.