What are brand archetypes?
Archetype: [ahr-ki-tahyp]noun: a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, universally present in individual psyches; a model or first form; prototype.
Inspired by Jung’s psychological framework & archetype theory, we can apply the same basic concepts to the foundations of brand identity, brand positioning & differentiation. In relation to digital marketing, a brand archetype is a symbol, character or category which you assign to your brand or business.
I believe that all businesses have a story to tell - the question is, what role will you play?
The hero? The Outlaw? The wise woman in the woods?
Archetypes give you a deeply meaningful and impactful way to make connections with your audience by being clear, consistent, and authentic with your brand personality. It gives you a platform to say - on a higher level, is this on brand? Is this really our voice?
This will enable you to better connect with your audience and illuminate the driving force behind your business. Defining your archetype will give you a clear framework and foundation for all
decisions regarding your brand moving forward.
so lets get to it, shall we?
The Creator’s core desire is to create something of enduring value and give form to a vision. Brands that encourage self-expression; provide choices and options; help foster innovation; or are artistic or creative in design embody the Creator archetype.
MOTTO: Trust the creative process. Express yourself.
CORE DESIRE: To create something of enduring value
GOAL: To give form to a vision
FEAR: Having a mediocre vision or execution
STRATEGY: Develop artistic/technical skill
GIFT: Creativity and imagination
MOTIVATION: Stability and control
The Hero strives to prove worth through courageous and difficult action and to exert mastery in a way that improves the world. Look behind that flowing cape to find brands that help people perform at their best, address a major social problem, and incite people to take action.
MOTTO: Where there is a will, there is a way.
CORE DESIRE: To prove worth through difficult action
GOAL: To exert mastery in a way that improves the world
FEAR: Weakness or quitting
STRATEGY: Become as competent as possible
The Outlaw is all about revolution and seeks to destroy what is not working. Brands that identify with values at odds with those of society at large, that pioneer new and revolutionary attitudes, or whose products literally destroy something (e.g. a bulldozer) fall into this category.
MOTTO: 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
More than anything in the world, the Lover wants to attain intimacy and/or experience sensual pleasure. The goal is to be in relationships with the people, work, experiences, and surroundings it loves. Examples of the Lover archetype are brands that help people find love/friendship or that foster beauty, communication, or closeness between people.
CORE DESIRE: To attain intimacy
GOAL: Being in relationship with things they love
FEAR: Being alone or unwanted
STRATEGY: Become attractive to others
GIFT: Appreciation and passion
MOTIVATION: Belonging and connection
The Everyman wants only to belong and fit in and desires to connect with others. The mark of the Everyman is prominent on brands with a down-home culture, that create things used in everyday life, and that help people feel that they, too, belong.
MOTTO: Everyone is created equal.
CORE DESIRE: Connection with others
GOAL: To belong
FEAR: Being seen as elitist, not being welcomed
STRATEGY: Develop common virtues; blend in
GIFT: Empathy and Authenticity
Guided by the discovery of truth, the Sage uses intelligence and analysis to understand the world. Look at brands that provide expertise or information and that encourage people to think and you will see the Sage at work.
CORE DESIRE: The discovery of truth
GOAL: To use intelligence to understand the world
FEAR: Being duped; ignorance
STRATEGY: Seek out information; understand processes
MOTIVATION: Independence and fulfillment
The Explorer yearns for the freedom to discover the world and experience a better, more authentic, and more fulfilling life. Brands with Explorer traits are often those that help people feel free, are nonconformist, are pioneering, and offer sturdy or rugged products.
CORE DESIRE: The freedom of discovery: of oneself and the world
GOAL: To experience a fulfilling and authentic life
FEAR: Inner emptiness or feeling trapped
STRATEGY: Seek out new things
Don’t worry, be happy! is the motto of the Innocent artchetype. It wants to find and experience paradise. Brands that are associated with goodness, morality, simplicity, nostalgia, or childhood are identified as Innocent archetypes.
MOTTO: Life doesn't have to be hard. Keep it simple.
CORE DESIRE: To experience paradise
GOAL: To be happy
FEAR: Doing something wrong that will provoke punishment
STRATEGY: Do things right
GIFT: Faith and optimism
One word: Control. The Ruler wants to create a prosperous and successful family, company, or community. Brands that enhance or promote power, help people become and stay organized, or promise safety and stability in a chaotic world are easily identified as Ruler archetypes.
MOTTO: Power makes the world go 'round.
CORE DESIRE: Control
GOAL: To create prosperity and success
FEAR: Chaos; being overthrown
STRATEGY: Exert leadership
GIFT: Responsibility and leadership
Just like the class clown from high school, the Jester wants to live in the moment with full enjoyment. He only wants to have a great time and lighten up the world. Look past the laughter and that silly hat and you will see brands that help people have a good time and embrace a fun-loving, freewheeling culture.
CORE DESIRE: To live in the moment with full enjoyment
GOAL: To have a great time and lighten up the world
FEAR: Boredom or being boring
STRATEGY: Be funny and playful
The Caregiver’s aim is to protect people from harm and help others. Brands that serve families and that place a high value on customer service, especially those in the healthcare, education, or non-profit/charitable space, are labeled as Caregiver archetypes.
MOTTO: Treat your neighbor as yourself
CORE DESIRE: To protect people from harm
GOAL: To help others
FEAR: Selfishness and ingratitude
STRATEGY: Do things for others
GIFT: Compassion and generosity
The Magician archetype wants to make dreams come true through knowledge of the fundamental laws of how the world works. In addition to a white rabbit, from his hat the Magician pulls brands that are transformative, have a spiritual or psychological component, or help to expand consciousness.
MOTTO: If you can dream it, you can achieve it
CORE DESIRE: Knowledge of how the world works
GOAL: To make dreams come true
FEAR: Unanticipated negative consequences
STRATEGY: Develop a vision and live it out fully
GIFT: Finding win-win outcomes