Great question, and I don't want to confuse strategic vs. tactical with branding vs. advertising vs. branding activation. Those are all valid methods for marketing a product, any product.
So let's just talk about educating vs. branding. A really ground-level example is the number of times I see new companies with new products market around the brand and some kind of aspirational messaging, i.e. "Be Better."
While this works for an established product, very well if done right, in fact, it doesn't work if the customer doesn't understand the value prop of a new product from a new company. Like, even if Apple launched a toaster, all they'd have to market is that the toaster was from Apple. Apple is the value prop.
So my call here is that for a new company marketing a new product, go 90/10 educational vs branding at the outset. Then use whatever methods do that best.