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Feb 23 2024

Mastering Brand Archetypes

In the dynamic world of branding, defining your business’s personality can often feel a bit labyrinthian. One tool that can help light the way is the concept of brand archetypes.


These are essentially universal symbols and narratives that have been ingrained in our collective unconscious over centuries. They provide a common language that transcends cultural and demographic barriers, allowing your brand to communicate its essence in an instantly relatable and impactful way.


Here, we’ll delve deeper into the world of brand archetypes. We’ll explore their origins, their power, and their role in modern branding. We will also provide practical guidance on how to choose and implement the right archetype for your brand.


The Origins of the Archetype

The concept of the archetype dates back to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. He was about in the first half of the 1900s and, after studying under Freud, gave us insights into collective unconscious, dream assessment and, of course, archetypes.

His basic principle was that everyone slots into a circular spectrum of the 12 primary types that represent the range of basic human motivations. Each of us tends to have one dominant archetype that controls most of our personality, or so Jung argued.


Carl Jung brand archetypes - Mastering Brand Archetypes

Above: Carl Jung Image Credit: Vision

The Power of Brand Archetypes

The power of brand archetypes lies in their universal and deep-rooted psychological significance. Jung believed that archetypes emerge from the collective unconscious – a reservoir of shared human experiences and emotions.


As such, they aren’t subject to cultural, geographical or other demographic boundaries, enabling brands to communicate their identity in a way that’s instantly recognisable and deeply resonant.


The 12 Archetypes and Branding

So, what happens if we apply the concept of the 12 archetypes to brands? As we go through each archetype, consider which brands and businesses you know that conform to each of them.


The Innocent:

This archetype represents purity, simplicity, and nostalgia. Innocent brands are often associated with goodness, morality, and a desire to do things right. They promise a return to simpler times and appeal to people’s desire for comfort and safety.


The Everyman:

The Everyman archetype stands for regularity and relatability. Brands that embody this archetype aim to fit in rather than stand out. They appeal to consumers who value community, honesty, and hard work.


The Hero:

Heroic brands are all about courage, determination, and mastery. They inspire others to be the best they can be and often position themselves as problem-solvers.


The Outlaw:

The Outlaw or Rebel archetype is synonymous with rule-breaking and disruption. Outlaw brands challenge the status quo and appeal to those who value independence and non-conformity.


The Explorer:

This archetype is driven by discovery, freedom, and pioneering spirit. Explorer brands encourage their audience to break free from the mundane and discover new horizons.


The Creator:

The Creator archetype is all about imagination, innovation, and the ability to bring ideas to life. These brands inspire creativity and provide the tools necessary for their audience to create their own reality.


The Ruler:

Ruler brands exude authority, control, and leadership. They appeal to those who appreciate stability, quality, and status.


The Magician:

The Magician archetype represents transformation, dreams, and the power to make the impossible possible. Magician brands promise their customers transformative experiences and solutions.


The Lover:

Lover brands focus on relationships, intimacy, and indulgence. They aim to create connections with their audience through shared passions and experiences.


The Caregiver:

The Caregiver archetype is nurturing, protective, and compassionate. Caregiver brands are service-oriented and focus on helping, supporting, and caring for their customers.


The Jester:

Jester brands embody fun, joy, and humour. They aim to bring happiness and light-heartedness into their customer’s lives.


The Sage:

The Sage archetype represents wisdom, knowledge, and truth. Sage brands position themselves as experts in their field and offer guidance to help their audience understand the world around them.


Each of these archetypes offers a unique way to shape your brand’s identity and narrative. The key is to choose an archetype that aligns with your brand’s core values and resonates with your target audience.

brand archetypes examples - Mastering Brand Archetypes

Image Credit: Medium

Choosing Your Brand Archetype

Choosing the most fitting archetype for your brand is a critical step in defining its personality and positioning it in the market. Here are some key factors to consider:


Brand Values

Your archetype should align with your core brand values. For instance, if your brand stands for innovation and creativity, the Creator archetype could be a good fit. If you prioritise customer service and support, the Caregiver might be more appropriate.


Target Audience

Understanding your audience is key to selecting the right archetype. Different archetypes resonate with different demographics and psychological profiles. For example, the Hero might appeal to ambitious, goal-oriented individuals, while the Jester might resonate more with a fun-loving audience.


Business Goals

Your archetype should support your broader business goals. If you aim to disrupt an established market, the Outlaw might help communicate your intent. If your goal is to establish a reputation for quality and reliability, the Ruler could be a better choice.


Market Positioning

Consider your market positioning and how your chosen archetype can differentiate you from competitors. For instance, if your market is dominated by Hero brands, choosing the Everyman or the Innocent could help you stand out.


Implementing Your Brand Archetype

Once you’ve chosen the direction you want to move in, it’s important to consider implementation. Applying your preferred archetype involves infusing its characteristics across all aspects of your brand.


Marketing Materials

Your archetype should guide your visual identity, language, and messaging (in one integrated push). For instance, an Explorer brand might use adventurous imagery and inspirational language, while a Caregiver might use warm colours and nurturing words.


Product or Service Design

The archetype can influence the design of your product or service. A Creator brand, for example, might offer customisable products that empower customers to express their creativity.


Customer Experience

The archetype should be reflected in your customer experience. A Ruler brand might focus on providing a premium, high-quality experience, while a Jester brand might aim to create a fun and joyful experience.

Brand archetype smartphones - Mastering Brand Archetypes

Ready to Unlock the Power of Archetypes for Your Brand?

At One2create, we value your brand and its development, which is why we take our own unique approach to helping you identify and implement your archetype. Our sole focus is ensuring that current and future customers understand just how you operate and keep building on strong foundations going forward.

You can find out more about our branding services here, or feel free to get in touch for a more detailed chat.


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Elly Cattermole

Our marketing and creative demon - Elly is here to keep you updated on any new developments in the industry. Her keen eye for social media updates (they happen more than you think!) and new ideas to market your business means she’s in the know for all things content.

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