I came across a Brandweek article called "Enough with the Value Messages Already" and it made me think of the song-and-dance that many businesses are doing to demonstrate value nowadays.
The primary knee-jerk reaction for brands in the recession has been to radically drop price (either permanently or through deep discounting). With many retailers ramping up private label "switch and save" promotions, the pressure is even stronger. But this approach can create a lot of long-term damage and cheapen the brand. It's hard to ever unwind it once you're on that path.
Others have adopted a platform reminding consumers what good value they already bring. There are some good examples out there, but some of it feels a little desperate to me, particularly now that this type of message has become such a predictable bandwagon. And some have applied tacky window-dressing to make their brands appear to have more value than they really do.
I think the only long-term solution is to ensure that your brand is truly meaningful. I've said this before, but I think the recession will be a litmus test for meaningful brands. If a brand is close enough to private label that consumers will easily trade down, it's time to re-evaluate what is being offered.
In other words, you're not going to out-private-label private-label.