Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to propose a fundamentally new extension of the marketing paradigm. This is theoretically and practically necessary since in the authors' view there is an insufficient balance between customer and brand thinking. Design/methodology/approach - While the marketing paradigm is focused on customers, marketing strategy focuses on both the demand and supply side of the market. The authors suggest bringing the paradigm and strategy more in line by adding the brand identity into a new, more balanced, marketing paradigm, called identity based marketing. Findings - The brand identity can be considered the representative of the resource based view since identity will be based on competences and capabilities. Although branding is widely accepted as a marketing issue it has until now not been dealt with within the scope of the marketing paradigm. Originality/value - Adding branding to the highest level in the marketing theory hierarchy (marketing as concept/paradigm, strategy, and tactics), has important implications for marketing practice and leads to a research agenda with more emphasis on the relation between (changes in) brand identity and customer perceptions and needs. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.