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THE TWELVE BRAND ARCHETYPES

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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).

Have you ever noticed that there are timeless characters who show up throughout history, legend, art, and popular culture?

These are archetypes: Universally recognized figures that stand for certain basic human motivations and emotions.

Archetypes make sense to us. Our brains naturally organize ideas by grouping like things, and by seeing patterns. Recognizing common traits in people and symbols helps us to process and understand a story. Those commonalities cue us to feel particular emotions.

 

And they trigger certain gut-level responses.

The paradox of modern life is that at the same time that we are living in ways never done before and therefore daily recreating our world, our actions often feel rootless and empty. To transcend this state, we need to feel rooted simultaneously in history and eternity. Awakening the Heroes Within by Carol S. Pearson

 

So, how do archetypes relate to branding? Well, the answer is simple: In the most essential way possible.

As humans, we want to connect with people – not products or services.

 

So, when a brand takes on a primary character archetype, people recognize it – they get it.

 

When people understand your brand, they can begin to like and trust you, which leads to sales.

ARCHETYPE: Innocent

GOAL: Remain in safety

FEAR: Abandonment

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Deny it or seek rescue

RESPONSE TO TASK: Fidelity, discernment

GIFT/VIRTUE: Trust, optimism

 

ARCHETYPE: Outlaw

GOAL: Win

FEAR: Weakness

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Slay/confront it

RESPONSE TO TASK: Fight only for what really matters

GIFT/VIRTUE: Courage, discipline

 

ARCHETYPE: Caregiver

GOAL: Help others

FEAR: Selfishness

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Take care of it or those it harms

RESPONSE TO TASK: Give without maiming self or others

GIFT/VIRTUE: Compassion, generosity

ARCHETYPE: Lover

GOAL: Bliss

FEAR: Loss of love

DRAGON/PROBLEM: I love it

RESPONSE TO TASK: Follow your bliss

GIFT/VIRTUE: Passion, commitment

ARCHETYPE: Creator

GOAL: Identity

FEAR: Inauthenticity

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Claim it as part of the self

RESPONSE TO TASK: Self-creation, self-acceptance

GIFT/VIRTUE: Individuality, vocation

 

ARCHETYPE: Ruler

GOAL: Order

FEAR: Chaos

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Find its constructive uses

RESPONSE TO TASK: Take full responsibility for your life

GIFT/VIRTUE: Responsibility, control

 

ARCHETYPE: Magician

GOAL: Transformation

FEAR: Evil sorcery

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Transform it

RESPONSE TO TASK: Align self with cosmos

GIFT/VIRTUE: Personal power

 

ARCHETYPE: Sage

GOAL: Truth

FEAR: Deception

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Transcend it

RESPONSE TO TASK: Attain enlightenment

GIFT/VIRTUE: Wisdom, nonattachment

 

ARCHETYPE: Fool

GOAL: Enjoyment

FEAR: Nonaliveness

DRAGON/PROBLEM: Play tricks on it

RESPONSE TO TASK: Trust in the process

GIFT/VIRTUE: Joy, freedom

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