What are two things you wish brands would stop doing?
Ahmed: “I wish that brands would stop reading white papers about communities instead of actually building long-term, meaningful relationships with communities defined by co-creation, collaboration and co-ownership. Furthermore, I wish that brands would stop releasing cheugy advertisements that are clearly targeted toward young people—but very evidently had no young people involved in the ideation, execution or vetting of the creative. I think we can do a lot better than where we are at right now!”
Albanus: “Advertising overload: Brands should recognize that excessive online advertising can lead to ad fatigue and negative perceptions. According to CNBC, this issue is particularly pronounced among Gen Z, with 69% actively avoiding ads, compared with a global average of 50%. To maintain positive brand engagement, it's essential to prioritize quality over quantity and find ways to engage audiences without overwhelming them.
“Mindless trend following: Brands should refrain from blindly adopting trendy strategies. For example, creating a Threads account just because everyone is doing the same. Instead, they should prioritize understanding their audience's needs and addressing real problems with more purpose and intention. Focusing solely on short-term profits can hinder long-term sustainability and customer relationships.”
Shuai: “I’m not a fan of paid influencer marketing. In fact, every time I see a paid influencer advertisement, not only does it make me immediately scroll past it, but it also causes me to feel even less incentivized to purchase the product, because the way it’s being marketed doesn’t feel genuine.
“Secondly, it’s apparent (particularly to Gen Z) when brands are hopping on social media trends just for the sake of keeping up with trends. Almost all brands have some sort of root DNA, a core identity that differentiates them from the thousands of other brands that exist, something that makes them special. It’s important that brands showcase this core identity through raw and authentic storytelling alongside more creative, trendy social media endeavors. In this way, brands are staying true to themselves while keeping up with the times.”
Hear more from Ahmed, Albanus and Shuai at the Ad Age Business of Brands event on Nov. 8 and 9. Find out more at AdAge.com/BusinessofBrands.