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. They are a set of universal, symbolic characters or personas that help identify and differentiate a brand's personality and messaging in the marketplace.
They are based on Carl Jung's theory that certain concepts and symbols are deeply ingrained in our unconscious minds and represent basic human desires, motivations, and fears. The goal of using brand archetypes is to create an emotional connection with consumers and help them see the brand as more than just a product or service, but as a relatable entity with its own unique personality. Examples of common brand archetypes include the Innocent, the Explorer, the Sage, the Hero, the Outlaw, the Magician, the Regular Guy/Girl, the Lover, the Jester, and the Caregiver.
Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung proposed that humans utilize symbols to help them grasp complicated topics. According to him, 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.
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 displaying clearly known personality traits—especially in the case of brands, by customers and organizations trying to identify their customer populations, are referred to as archetypes according to Jung.
History of Brand Archetypes
The concept of ‘brand archetypes,’ as we know them now, originated with Carl Jung, a psychologist who collaborated with Sigmund Freud. He thought that everyone had fundamental human needs that are both primal and instinctual.
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 and assist them to better connect with specific customer personas.
As it relates to brands, the concept of archetypes is generally ubiquitous and may be especially useful as an orienting tool for brand managers wanting to concentrate their team’s efforts.
Archetypes are essentially the embodiment of particular wants and behaviors. When you comprehend your firm and your consumer, you may 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 can help you identify your brand by emphasizing your own personality. Customers will automatically choose the firm with which they feel more at ease while looking for solutions to their difficulties.
The Purpose of Brand Archetypes
Archetypes are universal human urges that may be tapped into. They take sales pitches and marketing efforts and turn them into a persona that customers can relate to.
This all sounds nice, but you are undoubtedly 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:
Supports Brand Experience
Brand archetypes 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 establishing these qualities, a consumer will set expectations for the new brand experience.
Ideally, the brand lives up to the hype. When this occurs, a consumer comes to trust you and your products. A loyal client base is built on recurrent, consistent interactions.
Adapts 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 invention.
Therefore, companies employ brand archetypes to connect an audience’s needs with product offerings. This enables people to understand how your product may help you achieve your own goals, leading to deeper, more real interactions with customers.
Helps Separate your Brand 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 + 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
The Outlaw is an outrageous, startling, and disruptive archetype. If your brand is not afraid to challenge others and change the game, it is an Outlaw.
They are out of the ordinary and guarantee total rebellion in all positive ways. Outlaws are incredible. 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. Vans, Harley Davidson, Snickers, and other brands are some of the best examples of Outlaw brand archetypes.
2. The Magician
When we talk about this brand archetype, the first thing that comes to mind is none other than Disney. The brand is all about 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.
Is your brand creating a significant influence on your consumers?
Is it possible for your brand to make problem-solving enjoyable?
Is your brand a source of inspiration for everyone’s imagination?
If your answer to most of 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
The 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.
As a result, a firm like Nike is regarded as a transformational instrument that helps individuals reach their greatest potential, rather than a footwear supplier.
4. The Lover
The Lover brand archetype encourages closer connections through passion and romance. But it is not all about that; the Lover promotes spiritual, family, and companionable ties as well. The emphasis for Lover brand archetypes is on strengthening connections with the individuals and things that truly matter. How can you tell whether your brand is The Lover archetype? Here are some guide questions:
Is your brand sensuous, emotional, and loving?
Are you a giver and visually pleasing?
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
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 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.” 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
The Caregiver archetype brands advertise their altruistic nature and publicly declare their 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.
Do you want your brand to be associated with empathy, assistance, and selflessness?
Is your brand putting emotions first and in the correct places?
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
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.
By seizing authority, the Ruler eradicates ambiguity. They 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
The Creator 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.
This brand archetype is also preoccupied with realizing its ideal. Brands 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
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.
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.
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
The Explorer’s brand identity embodies a desire to step outside of their comfort zone and into an unknown situation where they feel more relaxed. 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. 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 a variety of business and communication goals.
The reasons why brand archetypes are so effective:
1. Helps establish your identity as a brand
Determining which archetype your brand belongs to provides it 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
Brand archetypes can make the implementation of your marketing strategies become a breeze. This is especially crucial nowadays, given the prevalence of social media. 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 to 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
Product innovation can be aided by understanding your brand archetype. 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.