Brand Archetypes: What Are They And How Can You Find Yours?
Updated: Mar 4
You have found yourself consuming a product or service from a particular company more than once. We have a transactional relationship with these companies and invoke emotion to get us locked in. They use a strategy for an effective brand building called adopting a brand archetype.
What are brand archetypes?
Brand archetypes are derived after Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung's 1919 outline of 12 personality archetypes. He summarized that that humans use symbolism to more easily understand complex concepts. Much as people may exhibit different characters, there are characters about them that would remain outstanding and consistent.
There are forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constituents of myths and at the same time, as individual products of the unconscious.
The consistent and unconscious traits will govern the nature of consumerism for many. He called these traits brand archetypes, and companies are always looking at these to determine and define their audiences.
The 12 Brand Archetypes
According to Carl Jung's archetypes model, the four consumerist groups are categorized by different motivators. The motivations for the Lover, Everyman and Jester are togetherness, having a good time and pleasure. The Hero, Outlaw and Magician are driven by mastery and taking risks and want to be known for greatness. The Explorer, Innocent and Sage are looking for individuality and satisfaction. The Caregiver, Ruler and Creator, stability and control are the basic motivations.
We explain them below to help you identify the perfect audience for your business.
Here are the basic human desires that each match with a specific archetype;
LIBERATION - THE OUTLAW
POWER - THE MAGICIAN
MASTERY - THE HERO
INTIMACY - THE LOVER
ENJOYMENT - THE JESTER
BELONGING - THE EVERYMAN
SERVICE - THE CAREGIVER
CONTROL - THE RULER
INNOVATION - THE CREATOR
SAFETY - THE INNOCENT
UNDERSTANDING - THE SAGE
FREEDOM - THE EXPLORER
1. The Magician
Abracadabra! Make something out of nothing. Make dreams come true. Here, reality steps out of the door, and imagination comes in through the window. They are delighted when Aladdin is singing "A whole new world" and flying on a carpet with Princess Jasmine.
Examples of brands understanding this: Disney, Coca-Cola (Holiday Season).
2. The Outlaw
The most famous outlaw in history should be Robin Hood. The fight here is for liberation and being free. Whatever the status quo is, the rebels are here to disaffirm its relevance and disrupt everything.
Examples: Harley-Davidson, Virgin (Richard Branson).
3. The Hero
What's happening? How can I help? The hero has the drive to go out of their way and make everything better. They only feel better about themselves if there is a problem to be solved. Determination is their drive.
Their favorite movie is Gladiator, and their favorite line is,
My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.
Just Do It," Nike is a perfect example of this. Others are BMW, Duracell.
4. The Lover
This brand archetype is all about sensual living and pleasure. Intimacy is the game's name, and the goal is to win you over - heart, body, mind and soul. Have you heard Princess Lover's Mon Soleil? That's the soundtrack here. Fashion labels such as Chanel and Dior are built on this.
5. The Jester
Who's looking for a smile? That's what Jester brand archetypes are looking out to do - get you smiling with their mix of cheekiness, humor and silliness. They will have a go at another brand, too, as long as it will be cheeky.
Examples: Motley Fool, Ben & Jerry’s, IKEA
6. The Everyman
Sense of belonging drives this brand archetype. They are defined by accessibility to all on account of maintaining the norm and keeping neutral in their outlook and viewpoints. Driven by a need to belong, they want to be liked by all, so they would never dream of being provocative or controversial.
7. The Caregiver
Caregiver brand archetypes are typically supportive, encouraging and trustworthy. They’re givers, not takers, and act as nurturers, always demonstrating compassion and empathy.
Examples: UNICEF, Rotary
8. The Ruler
Simply put, this brand archetype describes being in charge. They are driven by authority. Everything they do is high-end and luxurious, and they can be described using three Es - elitist, expensive and exclusive.
Example: Mercedes Benz - the car, the Formula 1 racing team, all of it.
9. The Creator
An upgrade on the magicians. They turn imagination into innovation and create, turning fantasies into realities. They are all about setting trends, blazing trails and influencing ways of life. Example: Apple.
10. The Innocent
Much like a jester, they are all about having a good time. Life with the Innocent brand archetype is about fun and safety. Unlike the cheeky jester, the innocent are exactly that, innocent.
Examples: Coca-Cola, Nintendo
11. The Sage
Knowledge is power. A Sage brand is the wise one, always seeking out the truth and constant quest for education.
Examples: BBC, PBS, Google, Philips
12. The Explore
The explorer brand archetype can best be defined as adventurous. They are always looking at reaching new heights and making discoveries. Their drive is the next challenge.
Examples: Indiana Jones, Jeep, Red Bull, Land Rover
Just as fictional characters are written according to broadly defined situations that help us understand their actions, a brand archetype is a way of presenting a brand – its symbology, values, behaviors, messages – as a persona, thus making it more recognizable and relatable to target audiences.
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