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People gravitate towards things that “speak” to them: The Twelve Archetypes: An Explanation

According to The Hero and The Outlaw, archetypes have existed as long as mankind has told stories. They are evident in every compelling story: whether it is a play at your neighborhood theater or a blockbuster film, certain characters emerge (Mark & Pearson, 2001). Awakening the Heroes Within, Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World, Carol S. Pearson

Bring it back to today. What are Brand Archetypes?

A brand archetype represents a brand – its symbolic meanings, values, behaviors, and messages – as a persona, making it more instantly recognizable and relatable to target audiences.

Brand archetypes offer businesses a personality that makes them approachable and relatable to people with similar values.

History of Brand Archetypes

Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung proposed that humans utilize symbols to help them grasp complicated topics. The concept of ‘brand archetypes,’ as we know them now, originated with Jung, a psychologist who collaborated with Sigmund Freud. He thought that everyone had fundamental human needs that are both primal and instinctual.

According to Jung, there are collective patterns or symbols that appear virtually everywhere on the planet as elements of myths and, at the same time, as individual creations of the subconscious.

Brand archetypes have the power to embody and reflect the personality of brands

Jung believed that some pathways to better human knowledge have remained both recognized and ageless throughout history and that these pathways should be classified.

Furthermore,  those classifications display clearly known personality traits. Especially in the case of brands, customers, and organizations trying to identify their customer populations, are referred to as archetypes according to Jung.

Each of our wants is associated with a distinct brand archetype.

The notion is that by adopting a certain personality, businesses may demonstrate to their consumers that they understand their wants, expectations, and pain areas.

Brand archetypes have the power to embody and reflect the personality of brands.

Assisting companies connect with their ideal customer through a specific customer persona.

As it relates to brands, the concept of archetypes is generally universal and useful as an orienting tool for brand managers wanting to concentrate their team’s efforts.

Archetypes are the title, essentially the embodiment of particular wants and behaviors. If you need more context check out Putnam Marketing‘s other Brand Archetype Posts.

Assuming you’ve created a product or a service and narrowed down your ideal consumer, it’s time to build a brand archetype that enables you to connect to a certain type of consumer. 

This aids in the development of better client relationships, reducing the risk of your company becoming a commodity.

Archetypes help you identify your brand by emphasizing your own/brand’s personality. Customers will automatically choose the company that they feel more at ease while looking for solutions to their problems. (Local SEO is clutch here).

Brand archetypes have the power to embody and reflect the personality of brands

The Purpose of Brand Archetypes

Jung believes that archetypes are a universal human understanding that may be tapped into. Brand Archetypes can take a sales pitch or an elevator pitch and marketing efforts to turn them into a persona that ideal customers can relate to.

This all sounds nice, but you are definitely asking how archetypes connect to corporate goals. Consider the following purpose of archetypal branding to further understand why they are important to your bottom line:

Support Brand Experience

Set the tone for consumer interactions and relationships. A brand with a caregiver archetype, for example, will emanate a helpful, friendly, and supportive attitude. After subconsciously establishing these qualities, a consumer will set expectations for the new brand experience. 

In a perfect world, a brand lives up to the hype. When this occurs, a consumer trusts you and your products. A loyal client base is built on recurrent, consistent interactions.

Adapt to Customer Desires

Another purpose of brand archetypes is that they may be individually adapted to the requirements and desires of your market. There is an archetype for everything, whether it be creativity, drive, or brave.

A subliminal way to connect a customer’s needs with product offerings is through brand archetypes. This enables people to understand how your product may help you achieve their own goals, leading to deeper, more real interactions with customers.

Stand out against your Competitors

Do you want to know how to stand out in a competitive marketplace? A powerful brand archetype might just be the solution you’re looking for. Brand archetypes motivate you to go deep into your brand’s history and discover the why behind your business.  

The people, places, and concepts that influenced the origins of your brand are really unique to your brand. This is extremely critical to keep in mind, especially if your business and another company in your chosen industry have the same archetype.

12 Brand Archetypes and Real-World Examples

Identifying the right brand archetype is an important step toward creating a brand identity to which your target audience can relate.

In fact, the world’s most successful companies have well-established archetypes that are represented in every element of their brand heart, voice, and identity.

Choosing the right archetype can also improve your brand’s positioning and provides consumers with the brevity they need to grasp your brand’s why. 

To help you select the right brand archetype, here are Carl Jung’s 12 brand archetypes:

1. The Outlaw

Everybody has a wild side, and The Outlaw Brand Archetype appeals to this inner yearning for revolt through nonconformity. The Outlaw disregards social conventions and pursues destruction if only to restore society to its ideal state. Happy Revolution Day America!​ The OUTLAW​ PROMISE: Rules were made to be broken. CORE DESIRE: Revolution GOAL: To destroy what is not working FEAR: Being powerless STRATEGY: Disrupt, destroy, or shock GIFT: Radical freedom MOTIVATION: Mastery The Complete Outlaw The Outlaw, who by nature is a disruptive force, seeks to upend the status quo, whether for one's own benefit or the benefit of others. The Outlaw, who represents the archetype's darker side, becomes enraged when they are personally offended. Since fear is viewed as a strength, it doesn't mind being feared by others. Extremist organizations are frequently used as examples of The Outlaw Brand Archetype. Positively, the Outlaw disturbs others' comfort with the current quo in an effort to spur change. For instance, many civil rights advocates participated in nonviolent protests while yet embodying the Outlaw character. Using the Outlaw Brand The Outlaw is a countercultural force that has the power to break down social taboos (rock 'n' roll, drugs, and sex, anyone?) by appealing to the dark side of human nature. Any company that aims to free itself (or others) from oppression and escape the current dominant culture qualifies as an outlaw. Look at Robin Hood, Malcolm X, Harley-Davidson, MTV, Howard Stern, and Miley Cyrus as instances of the Outlaw archetype. The Outlaw Archetype's Various Levels Outlaw brands have the power to overthrow tyrannical governments or perpetuate morally dubious beliefs. These firms rely on advertising that highlights taking chances and deviating from the boring status quo. This can be done by using imagery that is either bold and revolutionary or dark and destructive. Whether extreme or just a funny or surprising joke, there is frequently some element of shock value. Brands that advertise generally "regular" or "healthy" goods or services frequently include playful references to the Outlaw, implying that their product or service is suited when consumers want to feel slightly terrible or out of the ordinary. Because employees of Outlaw businesses frequently identify as Outlaws and exhibit their passion in all aspects of their work, the organizational culture of these companies is frequently highly revolutionary in and of itself. There are several levels of expression for each archetype. Higher levels are more developed or mature than lower levels, which are more basic. Level 1: Recognizing oneself as an outcast and distancing oneself from mainstream culture. Level 2: Using frightening or disruptive behavior. Level 3: Revolutionary status. The Rebel ​The Rebel is a risk-taker who disregards the rules. The Rebel pushes the boundaries to bring about societal change, a new viewpoint, or a reawakening because they are tired of tradition. The Rebel must watch out not to cross too many lines in its pursuit of reform since it has the capacity to be motivated by resentment and bitterness. To drastically alter some economic, political, or social structure, the activist campaigns for a cause. This sub-archetype gathers support for its cause by believing in the ability of individuals to bring about change. Activist To drastically alter some economic, political, or social structure, the activist campaigns for a cause. This sub-archetype gathers support for its cause by believing in the ability of individuals to bring about change. Gambler ​The Gambler enjoys taking chances. There are no restrictions on the amount of money the gambler would wager, which can cause addiction and compulsion. However, this sub-archetype is sociable and has sound judgment. Maverick Any type of classification or restriction is rejected by the free-thinking Maverick. The Maverick demonstrates intelligence, assertiveness, and fearlessness while going against the grain and has an independent streak a mile wide.​ Examples of Outlaw Brands in the Real World Harley-Davidson A classic example of a mainstream Outlaw brand is Harley-Davidson. For motorcycle enthusiasts, Harley-Davidson stands for liberation from strict social norms. "A lot is expected from you, to be certain things for a lot of people all day long," as one devoted rider put it. And if you don't keep an eye out, you might not be aware of your true identity. When riding a Harley, none of that is an issue for you. You and your friend are present. ​PayPal PayPal positions itself as the "new money in town" in a very strong Outlaw manner, despite the fact that some could say there are more innovative forms of commerce available today (such as Bitcoin or near-field communication via Apple Pay or Samsung Pay). The Outlaw Consumer The consumer of the Outlaw may feel like a byproduct of the dominant culture. (For instance, people from marginalized communities who identify as minorities.) Alienation is a catalyst that can bring on rage. Outlaw customers enjoy risky activities and may even engage in destructive behavior for the sake of feeling "bad." When they feel particularly alienated, young people who are trying to "discover themselves" frequently push past the Explorer tendency and move straight on to Outlaw status. Consumers in the underworld are drawn to things that are risqué, provocative, or controversial. They have a burning need to be free. Surprisingly, though, well-adjusted, law-abiding members of society who occasionally feel the urge to vent off some steam may also be among the fringe Outlaw buyers. Brands that want to connect with Outlaw consumers must determine their level of extremism and take appropriate action. Mass communication is the most effective technique to get in touch with peripheral Outlaws. They do have a lower threshold for shock value but be advised. Due to the risk of offending consumers, brands with a larger emphasis on revolution tend to steer clear of the mainstream and must instead connect with customers through niche special interest groups and online hubs. Are You an Outlaw Brand? Outlaw brands frequently tread a narrow line since they may occasionally be seen as insulting. Look at the goods or services you provide. Do they alter the social or economic norms in your field? How big is your clientele? Still unsure of the archetype that best represents your brand? Test your knowledge of the 12 brand archetypes by taking the brand archetype quiz, and then review the answers to learn more.

Outlaws are incredible. Think Harley Davidson, Vans, and Snickers, are a few of the best examples of Outlaw brand archetypes.

They love to go all out, and they often do it with style.  It is exciting and there is a lot to learn from it. 

Keep a close eye on them because you will surely have a great time enjoying how they represent their respective brands.

2. The Magician

When we talk about The Magician brand archetype, the first thing that comes to mind is none other than Disney.

Disney is known for bringing magic and glitters into our everyday lives, from its fantasy films and music to the magical experience brought by its world-famous amusement park, Disneyland.

Questions to ask yourself if you may be a Magician Type:

  1. Is your brand creating a significant influence on your consumers?

  2. Is it possible for your brand to make problem-solving enjoyable?

  3. Is your brand a source of inspiration for everyone’s imagination?

If your answer to the questions above is “yes” then your brand is likely to be a Magician archetype.

Magicians do not only think outside the box; they put the box in front of you and present you with a surprise.

3. The Hero

Brand Archetypes — Meet the Hero

A Hero is an idealist.  They strive for excellence, meticulousness, and fearlessness.

Simply said, if your brand guarantees excellence together with trust and self-assurance, it is a hero, both literally and metaphorically.

The best thing about engaging with a Hero brand is that they will either go to great lengths to ensure you are acknowledged or take excessive time to answer. 

The Hero brand archetype also rises to the occasion. They promote the importance of self-confidence and change. 

Nike is known as a transformational instrument that helps individuals reach their greatest potential, rather than a footwear supplier. Just Do It.

4. The Lover

The challenge and opportunity for marketers is to embrace the new rules of engagement and think creatively about how the use of visuals can support their goals.

Encouraging closer connections through passion and romance (I’m barfing in my mouth) The Lover (think cheesy Hallmark cards) promotes spiritual, family, and companionable ties as well.

Strengthening connections with the individuals and things that truly matter (like that Hallmark card).

Ask yourself:

  1. Is your brand sensuous, emotional, and loving?

  2. Are you a giver and visually pleasing?

  3. Do you believe in peace and a pleasant environment?

The goal of the Lover brands is to connect to Lover personas in their target market by making them feel wanted, valued and sought.

They stimulate passion and delight in connecting with these customers. Their speech has a sensuous tone to it, and they use seductive language and phrases.

5. The Jester

The Jester archetype represents living in the here and now. The life of the party, the Jester just wants people to lighten up and enjoy themselves!

In branding, the Jester personality archetype enjoys living life to the fullest and having a good time for themselves and others. These brands are upbeat and look for the positive in every scenario.

Because they have never lived within one, jesters think outside the box, which makes them exceptional inventors.

On the surface, Jesters live for the present, but on a profound level, they recognize that life is short and that laughter should be included in it.

The Jester brands connect to individuals who are youthful at heart. 

The Jester companies are associated with fun times and the light-hearted, optimistic side of life in their branding strategy.

Laughter is how they communicate and engage with their target audience.

6. The Everyman

The Everyman tends to demonstrate the underlying American ideals of hard work and honesty and embraces common sense values and authenticity

It’s in the name. The Everyman brand archetype is defined by a sense of belonging and recognition. These businesses prioritize the ability to blend in with the crowd and appear to be an “ordinary guy.” Think Levis, Carhartt, and Chippewa Boots.

In whatever part of their work, these brands are not over the top. The Everyman archetype is trustworthy, optimistic, and eager to fit in. 

The Everyman is your everyday person: unpretentious, approachable, decent, and at ease. Hard labor, common sense, dependability, and honesty are important to The Everyman.

They aim to attract a wider audience, therefore they do not bother with the frills of grandeur.

The Everyman connects with families and people from many cultures, connecting to individuals who live below the luxury line and, as the company puts it, “understand the worth of money better.”

7. The Caregiver

What are Brand Archetypes? A brand archetype is a way of presenting a brand – its metaphorical meanings, values, behaviors, and messages – as a persona, making it more instantly recognizable and relatable to target audiences. Brand archetypes offer businesses a personality that makes them approachable and relatable to people that share similar values.

The Caregiver archetype brand advertises its altruistic nature and publicly declares its desire to protect and care for people in need.

The Caregiver brands are proactive and responsive, and they are present wherever a negative occurrence transpires. Nurses, Caregivers, and Frontline employees fall into the Caregiver category.

Does your brand:

  1. Do you want your brand to be associated with empathy, assistance, and selflessness?

  2. Does your brand put emotions first and in the correct places?

  3. Is your brand charitable and promotes people-protection initiatives?

Their branding approach focuses on assisting those in need, who are frequently fragile and sensitive individuals who demand a personal touch. They send forth warm and meaningful signals and treat life and work with generosity.

8. The Ruler

What are Brand Archetypes? A brand archetype is a way of presenting a brand – its metaphorical meanings, values, behaviors, and messages – as a persona, making it more instantly recognizable and relatable to target audiences. Brand archetypes offer businesses a personality that makes them approachable and relatable to people that share similar values.

The Ruler brand archetype expresses and expresses control.

These brands place a premium on authority and are confident in their communication and actions. They exhibit supremacy and exercise leadership. They desire riches and success, which they seek to pass on to others who come after them. 

They are self-assured and responsible, and they appreciate having a sense of control.

To attract their target audience, these companies goal is to reassert a sense of authority, power, and respect. They radiate a feeling of privilege and grandeur. Think Rolls-Royce.

By seizing authority, the Ruler eradicates ambiguity.

Rulers enjoy following rules, but much more so, they enjoy making them.

Rulers believe in doing things the right way and creating solid, well-known businesses to match. They also want others to act with decency.

9. The Creator

What are Brand Archetypes? A brand archetype is a way of presenting a brand – its metaphorical meanings, values, behaviors, and messages – as a persona, making it more instantly recognizable and relatable to target audiences. Brand archetypes offer businesses a personality that makes them approachable and relatable to people that share similar values.

The Creator (also known as the Creative) brand archetype is defined by a strong drive to develop new and innovative things.

These businesses appreciate uniqueness and skill, and they invite everyone to participate in or watch the realization of their vision.

In order to cater to target audiences, the Creator’s branding approach involves honoring their innovation side and encouraging artistic freedom.

Preoccupied with realizing their ideal, companies must demonstrate their capacity to create opportunities for self-expression.

This archetype will interact with only the most free-form items that promote creativity rather than impose use.

10. The Innocent

Consumers drawn to the Innocent brands are looking for products that provide an experience of peace and goodness. They like brands that make life simple and when they find a brand they can trust they are loyal to it. These consumers long to have the ideal life, complete with a perfect mate, well-behaved kids, a fulfilling job, and a nice home.

The Innocent brand archetype is all about happiness and optimism. The brands that use this archetype want everyone to be happy as well as protected. Think Johnson & Johnson.

The Innocent, who bears no grievances, is genuine and fair, believing that everyone should be who they actually are.

With transparency, easiness, and positive optimistic messaging, Innocent branding usually appeals to the target population in a captivating way. Innocent brands are associated with security and trustworthiness among these consumers.

True Innocent archetypes can also recognize and understand that everyone has the right to live and the yearning to be happy.

11. The Sage

In branding, the Sage archetype is portrayed as a seeker of knowledge and intelligence. These companies exude expertise and a sense of being well-informed. Their motivation is to learn about the world and share what they have learned with their followers.

In branding, the Sage archetype is portrayed as a seeker of knowledge and intelligence. These companies exude expertise and a sense of being well-informed.

Their motivation is to learn about the world and share what they have learned with their followers. Sage’s branding approach appeals to the target audience while also recognizing their intellect. 

Complex meanings and technical terminology, as well as well-researched content, are valued by these companies. It is advisable to avoid employing simple methods when trying to communicate with Sages.

Brands must demonstrate a high degree of competence and comprehension. Sage archetypes are meticulous scholars who despise misinformation and incompetence.

They have a greater degree of intellect and social awareness than other people. Therefore, they are frequently considered as reliable and knowledgeable sources of information.

12. The Explorer

In branding, the Sage archetype is portrayed as a seeker of knowledge and intelligence. These companies exude expertise and a sense of being well-informed. Their motivation is to learn about the world and share what they have learned with their followers.

Embodies a desire to step outside of their comfort zone and into an unknown situation where they feel more relaxed. Think of The North Face and REI. These companies promote boldness, as well as a passion for exploration and taking risks.

In order to appeal to the explored customers, this archetype’s branding approach focuses on challenging them. These businesses emphasize the outdoors and the unknown, inviting consumers to join them in their exploration.

Explorers, on the other hand, are not looking for upheaval or conflict. When taking on difficulties, they are comparable to the Hero.  They are looking for thrills and action, and businesses should be able to provide it.

Top Reasons Why Brand Archetypes Are So Effective

Connections and partnerships are increasingly defining today’s brands. Karen is out. Millennials and Gen Z don’t want big-box brands. They want the personal feel, the “buddy” feel.

Consumers expect firms to be more accountable and trustworthy. Workers want a stronger feeling of purpose in their jobs. And businesses are always looking for new methods to create more effective and compelling brand experiences. This is why identifying your brand archetype will assist you in achieving your business and communication goals.

In conclusion, here are the major reasons why brand archetypes are so effective:

1. Helps establish your identity as a brand

Determining which archetype your brand belongs to provides your brand with personality and significance.  It creates a vivid image in your consumers’ thoughts and distinguishes your brand and messaging from those of competitors in the same industry. After all, people are drawn to brands whose ideals are similar to their own.

2. Accurately position your marketing strategies 

Finally, the implementation of your marketing strategies becomes a breeze.  This is especially crucial nowadays, given the prevalence of social media. The social map below is the best example of touch and impact that I could find:

What are the goals and priorities of your PPC campaign? Are you looking for qualified leads, or trying to sell products? Are you trying to expand awareness of your brand, or convert a highly specific audience?

Consumer engagement can begin anywhere. This is why knowing your archetype is extremely beneficial when it comes to positioning your strategies and yourself as a brand.

3. Promotes employee and customer loyalty

Brand archetypes inspire loyalty in both employees and customers.

When people choose to do business with you, it shows that they believe in your brand’s core values. After all, the most successful businesses are those whose values, mission, and vision are founded on well-defined brand archetypes.

Today’s consumers do not simply buy a product; they purchase the value and reputation that comes with it.

4. Supports product innovation and development

Great products, from their usefulness to their appearance, are a reflection of their brand archetype. The success and adoption of new products among your target audience will provide feedback that will encourage improvements in your next cycle of product innovation.

Why Use Brand Archetypes?

When it comes to business, archetypes provide brands and organizations with what they want most: individuality, commitment, and sustainability. Let’s take a look at the multinational conglomerate company Virgin Group’s statement about their branding:

“For over 50 years, the Virgin brand has been renowned for providing unique and exceptional customer experiences. Each Virgin branded company brings a fresh, innovative, and distinctive consumer proposition, shaking up the status quo to create businesses that lift experiences out of the ordinary. This clear focus on the consumer has given the brand the ability to expand into new sectors and new geographies. From Virgin Money’s unique customer store concepts to Virgin Red’s fresh perspective on rewards and how Virgin Voyages is set to re-invent the cruising experience – each Investee Business and Licensee strives to put the customer experience at its heart. Virgin’s brand purpose is Changing Business For Good.”

We connect and relate to every brand archetype’s persona and objectives. They are timeless and universal, representing our most basic wants and desires. They help us get to know the business and its products better.


Choosing an archetype can help you to accurately describe your brand’s qualities and vision by anchoring you to a set of character traits. This will ensure that you stay true to your principles and establish a position that consumers can trust and relate to.

Brand archetypes could also aid in a better understanding of your own company and the creation of targeted marketing strategies that emphasize the values you want to convey. Not to mention, if the business stays true to its principles, it will be renowned for what it says as a brand and not just its products. 

A brand archetype, when used effectively, can really help leave a lasting impression on your audience, whether you are a small startup or a large business.

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