Comparison of TBWA’s Disruption Philosophy and Y&R’s Brand Asset Valuator

Proprietary tools, processes and philosophies are often implemented into brands through advertising agencies in order to reach a particular outcome, whether it be a clearer brand model, direction, position, growth, and so on.

‘Disruption’ is a philosophy that is key to TBWA’s business. Disruption entails looking at the pre-existing conventions of a category, and then “finding a way for the brand to behave differently to accelerate its growth” (Shepherd-Smith, 2009) by challenging the norms, and creating a disruption that allows the brand to reach their vision. This philosophy is not simply a tool for developing marketing and advertising solutions for brands; it is a process that can uproot a brand and change “how [they] think, behave, do business, learn and go about [their] day-to-day” (Howard, 2013).

The ‘Brand Asset Valuator’ (BAV) used by Y&R is a very different process. While TBWA’s Disruption philosophy looks at conventions and ways which brands can disrupt these conventions, the BAV looks at measuring the value of a brand in terms of it’s strength and stature (Y&R, 2010). The BAV measures brand value by evaluating a brand’s level of differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge (Value Based Management, 2014). Mizik & Jacobson (2008) claim this model is a specific approach, as it assesses universal brand characteristics, rather than category specific characteristics. In contrast, Shepherd-Smith (2009) tells how the Disruption process looks more broadly at the brand category for commonalities. However, both processes have strong focuses on differentiation, as one of the assessible pillars of the BAV is ‘differentiation’ as it exists currently in the brand, and Disruption seeks to establish differentiation through its process.

Another distinct difference between Y&R’s BAV and TBWA’s Disruption is their point of perspective. Mizik & Jacobson (2008) state that the BAV model is “based on the premise that brand is a multidimensional construct that can be assessed through customer perception measurements.” While the BAV measures value from a customer point of view, Disruption again focuses on views in terms of the market and category (Shepherd-Smith, 2009). But while the BAV focuses on the brand’s output, in terms of products or services, perceived value, awareness and so on, Disruption looks more closely at the operations within the brand. Brands who implement the Disruption process can often see changes in corporate behaviour, which in turn flows into shifts in marketing and advertising communications, and brand perceptions (Shepherd-Smith, 2009). Pedigree is a prime example, who changed from a product-based packaged goods strategy (“we sell dog food”) to a brand-based strategy (“we love dogs”).

In essence, both the Disruption philosophy and the BAV focus strongly on the brand’s position and their level of differentiation. Disruption looks at identifying conventions of the brand’s category, and challenging these conventions in order to establish differentiation. The BAV, however, does not go so far as this. The BAV merely measures the value of the brand as it currently is, which could provide insights into where the brand could go, but doesn’t go so far as planning this process. In summary, Disruption is a proactive process, while the BAV is seemingly a more reactive measurement tool that produces insights.


Howard, C. (2013, March 27). Disruption Vs. Innovation: What’s The Difference? Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Forbes:

Mizik, N., & Jacobson, R. (2008). The Financial Value Impact of Perceptual Brand Attributes. Journal Of Marketing Research (JMR) , 45 (1), 15-32.

Shepherd-Smith, M. (2009, December 9). Philosophy of Disruption. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Chief Executive Officer:

Value Based Management. (2014). Brand Asset Valuator. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Value Based Management:

Y&R. (2010). Tools & Knowledge. Retrieved April 24, 2015, from Y&R: