AI and Brands: 10 Realities Marketers Can’t Ignore - Deepstash
AI and Brands: 10 Realities Marketers Can’t Ignore

AI and Brands: 10 Realities Marketers Can’t Ignore

Curated from: adage.com

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1. The Rise Of The Answer Economy

Brands that answer queries at scale and with sincerity will win. The days of controlled messaging are giving way to a more dynamic, conversational approach. Consumers are hungry for information, and AI is making it easier than ever for them to get it. A brand's ability to provide thoughtful, nuanced responses will be critical. This isn't just about FAQs; it's about creating a comprehensive knowledge base that can engage in meaningful dialogue with consumers. Brands that make consumers feel heard, even anticipating questions before they ask, will stand out in an increasingly automated landscape

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2. A Brand’s Truth Is Blended (Like A Smoothie)

Unlike traditional search, Generative AI answer engines blend a brand's story into a singular "Prompted Moment of Truth" with the potential to significantly impact consumer decisions. Say goodbye to their era of 10 blue links per search.  Brand builders must now prime and manage “smoothie” ingredients in a tightened shopper journey. Brand builders will need to zero in on authentic, credentialed and consistent brand elements to influence AI-driven consumer choices effectively. SEO-style gaming or manipulation won't work in this context. 

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3. Listening Still Reigns Supreme

Listening is not just about hearing what consumers say—it's about understanding the signals they send through their questions, behaviors and choices. Marketers need to become adept at reading these signals and responding in real time.  A “click to buy” pop-up ad after a serious FAQ question is not listening. Deep listening feeds invaluable insights into R&D, ensuring that innovation is rapid and aligned with consumer needs and expectations.

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4. R&D Is The New Marketing

The depth and precision of product info matter more than ever, and AI bots are hungry to translate this into rewarding and revealing answers for users. In this context, R&D is now the most strategic marketing input: it holds the key to narratives and answers that resonate with both consumers and AI algorithms. Breaking down silos between R&D and marketing ensures the full depth of product knowledge is accessible and communicable. Integrating consumer signals from real-time listening into R&D makes innovation agile and responsive, aligning it closely with consumer needs and driving brand growth

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5. The “Boring” Brand Website Matters—Finally!

As AI aggregates information from across the web, owned media becomes more crucial than ever. Owned media is the No. 1 “ingredient” — or “algorithmic anchor” — of AI answers across all engines from Perplexity and Grok/X to Gemini and ChatGPT. A brand’s website isn't just for humans anymore—it's also educating the bots that will shape consumer perceptions of the brand. Brands must invest in creating robust, informative content that serves both audiences. 

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6. Bye-Bye, Greenwashing

In a few weeks, the vast majority of Olympic sponsors will amplify their green narratives at an event deemed “the most sustainable and circular in history.” However, marketers shouldn’t underestimate the power of AI to empower consumers and other stakeholders to scrutinize a brand’s environmental impact in seconds. From one-click carbon scoring to determining the lifetime value of plastic consumption, generative AI is unveiling a new level of transparency. This goes beyond greenwashing—brands will need genuine, measurable sustainability initiatives to succeed.

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7. Hello AI-Powered Retailers

Retailers are setting up their own AI departments, extending beyond inventory management. Marketers should expect more sophisticated product vetting, claims testing and private label development. Retailers will know before you walk in the door if your service, consumer ratings, answers on your brand website, environmental footprint and standing with the Better Business Bureau measure up. Marketers must be prepared for more rigorous scrutiny of new products. Brands will need to up their game to stay competitive on store shelves.

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8. More Power To The e-Commerce Consumer

AI will completely reshape e-commerce, giving consumers even more power, convenience, and transparency. This is most evident in Amazon's investment in Anthropic. We can expect AI-powered personal shopping assistants, infinitely more revealing ratings & review data, hyper-personalized product recommendations, and seamless voice-activated shopping experiences. Brands must prepare for a future where AI mediates many consumer purchasing decisions.

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9. Think (And Fear) Small

AI is a great equalizer. Marketers shouldn’t underestimate the nimbleness of small brands. Many are “AI by design” and instinctively focused on serving consumers. Without the luxury of big ad budgets, they're often more innovative in their use of AI and more responsive to consumer needs.

Similarly, marketing interns may wield outsized influence due to their native understanding of digital platforms and an insatiable curiosity for trying new things. Large brands will need to adopt a startup mentality to keep pace.

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10. Leadership Is Everything

As we navigate this brave new world, leadership will be more important than ever. Marketing leaders will face complex judgment calls, balancing the pursuit of efficiency with ethical considerations. They must navigate the fine line between personalization and privacy invasion, leveraging data and respecting consumer autonomy and even between innovation and regulation. Bots won’t replace this.

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The Final Word

AI is seamless. It doesn’t recognize boundaries. Yet, many brand organizations still operate in silos. Brand managers must learn to see the world as AI does and develop organizational structures and cultures that allow teams to think and work like AI.

This is a new, fundamental responsibility for brand leaders. They must be comfortable with ambiguity, willing to experiment, and able to balance the efficiencies of AI with the irreplaceable value of human creativity and empathy.

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IDEAS CURATED BY

xarikleia

“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

CURATOR'S NOTE

AI is as much an audience as consumers are.

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