Brand archetypes: what are they?
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Have you ever felt a connection, attraction or affinity to a certain brand? Has a brand ever made you feel happy, safe, adventurous or in control? This could be down to brand archetypes.
Brand archetypes were discovered in Greek mythology but have been developed through decades of psychological research. Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term, 'archetype' in the early 20th century. Jung said, "We all have a collective unconscious that channels experiences and emotions, resulting in typical patterns of behaviour".
Basically, although we are all different, we all have basic human desires that are primitive. Archetypes are pre-programmed into us and our reactions to them are instinctive. These desires vary from person to person but they cover the 12 archetypes. We all find ourselves pulled to the ones that match our desires and personalities.
A brand archetype is a way of presenting a brand as a persona by using its values, behaviour and messaging. The brand then becomes more recognisable and relatable to target audiences. They give brands character, making them accessible and relatable to audiences who share the same values.
Developing a brand takes time and expertise but archetypes help you identify where you want your brand to be positioned and how you want your target audience to feel when they interact with your brand. Let's learn more about the specifics of the 12 brand archetypes.
The 12 Brand Archetypes
The Outlaw - Liberation
Outlaw's are ready to disrupt, they go against the grain and refuse to confirm.
Examples of outlaw brands - Harley Davidson and Diesel
The Magician - Power
The Magician is a visionary, an innovator and a leader.
Examples of magician brands - Disney, Mastercard and Sony.
The Hero - Mastery
The hero triumphs over evils, adversity and challenges.
Examples of hero brands - Adidas and Nike
The Lover - Intimacy
Lovers are team builders, they are enthusiasts and harmonizers.
Examples of lover brands - Chanel and Victoria Secret
The Jester - Enjoyment
Jesters are funny, a joker and a comedian.
Examples of jester brands - M&M and Old Spice
The Everyman - Belonging
Everyman archetypes are solid citizens and stand up people.
Examples of everyman brands - Ikea and Target
The Caregiver - Service
Caregivers are helpers, supporters and caretakers.
Examples of caregiving brands - Unicef and Toms.
The Ruler - Control
Rulers are a CEO, a role model and a manager.
Examples of ruler brands - Rolex and Mercedes-Benz.
The Creator - Innovation
Creators are artists and inventors.
Examples of creative brands - Lego, Apple and Adobe.
The Innocent - Safety
Innocents are dreamers, traditionalists and utopian.
Examples of innocent brands - Aveeno, Dove and Whole Foods.
The Sage - Understanding
Sage archetypes are experts, scholars and thinkers.
Examples of sage brands - CNN and Google.
The Explorer - Freedom
The explorer is all about adventure, travelling and is a seeker.
Examples of explorer brands - Patagonia and The North Face.
Which archetype stands out to you?
Did any of the archetypes seem familiar? All of our most loved brands have tapped into these archetypes and have attracted their target audience because of them. In fact, there is a 95% probability that a brand archetype has seduced you (Gerald Zatman, Harvard University).
Archetypes hold power, they allow you to hack into the mind of your dream audience.
In today's world, successful businesses are brands. They have a personality, they connect and they are memorable.
If you are creating a new business or you already have one, take some time to think about who you want your target audience to be and what archetype they would be attracted to.
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