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Traditional vs. Values-Based Brand Strategy: Exploring the Distinctions

Written by Dana Robertson

Published on

Pennant's blog has been on hiatus since mid 2020, but is preparing for a return in 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing and branding, strategic thinking is the compass that guides companies through the changing tides of consumer behaviors, cultural values, and market dynamics. This blog delves into two contrasting approaches to brand strategy: the Traditional Definition and the Values-Based Definition. While they may seem similar at first glance, these definitions encapsulate distinct philosophies on how businesses construct and nurture their brands. Let’s explore the pivotal differences between these two perspectives on brand strategy.

The Traditional Definition

Crafting a Long-Term Plan

The Traditional Definition of brand strategy revolves around the creation of a comprehensive long-term plan. This plan serves as a roadmap guiding a company towards the achievement of a series of enduring objectives. These goals typically orbit around augmenting brand recognition, expanding market share, and enhancing profitability. These external factors drive the activities and the attributes included in the strategy. The plan is created over a longer span of time and then the objectives are checked off as they are accomplished. 

Prioritizing Consumer Preference

One of the core objectives of the Traditional Definition is to establish the brand as the preferred choice among consumers. This preference is often cultivated through an array of marketing strategies encompassing advertising, product quality enhancements, and stellar customer service. The ultimate aim is to forge a brand identity that resonates with consumers, making it their top choice within a specific product or service category.

The Values-Based Definition

Aligning Brand Attributes

The Values-Based Definition takes an entirely different trajectory in the realm of brand strategy. Instead of primarily fixating on long-term planning and consumer preference, it pivots towards aligning a brand’s attributes. These attributes encompass not only the product or service itself but also extend to the company’s values, mission, and its broader impact on its target markets, internal culture, and how it presents itself as a brand across various touchpoints. In short, this strategy requires a brand to sort out its internal components and align them with the overall strategy. 

Focusing on Impact, Influence, and Investment

Within the Values-Based Definition, the core strategy revolves around crafting a substantial impact on the target audience(s). Brands adhering to this approach follow a dynamic and iterative process, incorporating planning, execution, and periodic assessments at specific milestones. The strategy places significant emphasis on the alignment of company values and the target audience to ensure they remain at the nucleus of the strategy throughout its evolution.

Identification, Alignment, and Support

Ultimately, the Values-Based Definition aspires not only to be recognized by its ideal customers but also to forge deep alignment around shared values with its audience. This alignment fosters robust support from brand advocates–a brands biggest fans– who are ardent proponents of the brand’s values and mission. These fans become potent allies in disseminating the brand’s message and bolstering its growth.

What Does This Mean?

The choice between these two brand strategy definitions hinges on a company’s core values, objectives, and the characteristics of its target audience. While some businesses may flourish by adhering to the traditional route, building consumer preference through meticulous long-term planning, others may opt for the values-based path, emphasizing impact, influence, and alignment with their audience’s values. An increasing number of brands are discovering that embracing a Values-Based Definition not only cultivates stronger customer relationships but also engenders authentic, enduring connections that drive meaningful, long-term impact.

Pennant's blog has been on hiatus since mid 2020, but is preparing for a return in 2023

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