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Q&A: Flora Caputo, VP and ECD, Jacobs Agency

Flora Caputo, VP and executive creative director at Jacobs Agency in Chicago, discusses why marketers and brands need to stop and listen.

Q: What are some tips for marketers thinking about getting down and dirty with Facebook marketing?

A: Before people dive, they need to stop and make sure Facebook is the place they really need to be. They also have to monitor. Many Facebook pages do a lot of talking and not enough listening. If you’re not sure what to do, listen for a while, maybe three days or three months, and see what’s being said about your brand and who your influencers are. It’s a hard job marketers have right now because they’ve lost a lot of control over the message.

Q: Can you define “engagement” and explain why it’s important?

A: Engagement is often pigeonholed as just social, but at Jacobs Agency we broaden that definition, because true engagement is anytime your target is choosing to interact with the brand, on everything from email to coupons. Now, we talk more about relationships. Marketing is not one-sided, and brands don’t control the conversation anymore. In the ’90s, brands could just put out their message. Now, they need to be having those conversations with their targets.

Q: How can creatives strike a balance between worshipping the creative idea and staying focused and practical?

A: I get very philosophical about creativity because it’s so important for what we do. My job as a creative director is to protect the creative process, but also to act as a kind of guide during ideation sessions. The quickest way to wound the creative process is to get negative while brainstorming.

Q: What are some recent campaigns that made you stop and say, “Wow”?

A: From a creative director perspective, I’d have to say Chrysler‘s Halftime in America spot, which ran during the Super Bowl. It was well written, incredibly moving and was the perfect use of a celebrity. There are so many ads out there that just throw a celebrity on it and don’t leverage or use the talent they’re paying so much money for. If you’re going to use an actor like Clint Eastwood, you want him to deliver it in his voice and his persona. As a consumer, I thought Procter & Gamble‘s Best Job Olympic campaign was well done and very subtle. In the spot, moms from different countries help inspire their children to become Olympic athletes. It was beautifully shot and a great example of how you can tell a powerful story without hitting people over the head with product messaging. If you can connect with someone emotionally, then that’s a home run.

Q: You have a blog called “Urban Domestic Diva.” What’s your opinion on the mommy blogger phenomenon?

A: It’s happening because women are social creatures. Back in the day, we used to live closer to our siblings and parents, but we don’t really have that ‘village’ that Hillary Clinton talked about anymore — and it really does take one. So we’ve created a village of moms who share online, and support and validate each other everyday.

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