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What Is a Brand Archetype?

December 30, 2020

When you think about an archetype, surely the first thing that comes to mind isn’t related to a business brand, but rather archetype is something associated with characters in a story. 

An archetype often ties to themes and emotions that extend beyond the story, attaching itself to its readers. But did you know you can use archetypes in branding, too?

What is a brand archetype?

Thinking back to archetypes in stories, did you ever notice that your favorite characters always fell into broad categories, often stereotyped? Think about your favorite naive child who seems always to have the destiny to change the world. Or, the femme fatale who always seems to have the best one-liners and can put down an army. 

These are archetypes. The characters in the stories are defined by those generic traits which explain who they are and what they stand for. It also shows us what motivates their actions throughout the story. 

Archetypes don’t just exist within fictional stories. They exist everywhere - including brands. 

Brand archetypes give brands a personality that makes them accessible and relatable to audiences with shared values.

Who Are the 12 Brand Archetypes

So, what--or more accurately, who--are these brand archetypes, and why are they important?

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung has identified 12 archetypes. Between the 12, the spectrum is covered from a level of comfort to a level of excitement. A business must pick the correct archetype for its brand. 

1. The Hero

The goal of the Hero is to improve the world. They’re bold, honorable, courageous, and confident. The drawback with a Hero is that they can be perceived as arrogant and often aloof. For brand marketing, the hero makes a positive mark on the world and solves significant problems. 

An example of a Hero: Tesla 

2. The Innocent

The goal of the Innocent is just to be happy. They’re pure, optimistic, have a strong moral compass, and overall strive to be right and just all the time. Their drawback is they could be too naive or perceived as boring. For brand marketing, they work well with companies with strong values and are associated with morals.

An example of an Innocent: TOMS 

3. The Outlaw

The Outlaw’s goal is to break all rules and question authority. They’re wild, wanting to pave the way for change. Their drawback is sometimes they do not know when to stop and go-to for. For brand marketing they allow people to vent and they can be an agent for change or liberation from conformity or routine. 

An example of an Outlaw: Harley-Davidson

4. The Everyman / Everywoman 

The Everyman or Everywoman’s goal is to connect with others and have a sense of belonging. They tend to be the person next door, supportive and full of life. Their drawback is that they could blend in too much. For brand marketing, they would give a brand solid virtues and that sense of belonging in the crowd. 

An example of a Regular: Lowe’s

5. The Ruler

The goal of the Ruler is to be the one in control. The one who creates order from chaos. The drawback is that Rulers tend to be too authoritative and lack a common connection. For brand marketing, they can restore order and help people become more organized through control over their future.

An example of a Ruler: Barclays

6. The Explorer

The goal of the Explorer is to share new experiences. They’re the ones pioneering the ways. Explorers are ambitious, adventurous, and independent. The drawback is that the Explorer doesn’t tend to fit into mainstream media. In brand marketing, they’re the authentic risk-takers that customers believe in. These brands represent trailblazing and freedom and appeal to the wanderlust of their audience.

An example of Explorer: Jeep

7. The Creator

The goal of the Creator is to create something beautiful, full of meaning, and enduring value. Creatives tend to have an entrepreneurial spirit, be nonconformists, and have quite the imagination. Their drawback is that they tend to be impractical perfectionists. In brand marketing, they help customers create and foster their imagination through innovation. 

An example of a Creative: LEGO 

8. The Lover

The goal of the Lover is to inspire love. They’re passionate and warm. Lovers tend to be idealistic and committed. The drawback to a Lover is that they could be too selfless. In brand marketing, they help customers feel appreciated, giving them connections to build lasting relationships and indulge in their needs in a way that makes them feel intimately understood and rewarded. 

An example of a Lover: Godiva Chocolate

9. The Magician

The goal of the Magician is to make all your dreams come true. They’re the visionaries full of charisma and imagination. The drawback to a Magician is that they tend to take high risks that occasionally lead to terrible outcomes. In brand marketing, the Magician will inspire change and help customers feel as though they can transform their world. 

An example of a Magician: Disney

10. The Caregiver

The goal of the Caregiver is to care for and protect others at all costs. They’re selfless, generous, and caring. The drawback to a Caregiver is that they are often taken advantage of and have a hard time saying, “no.” In brand marketing, the Caregiver helps people care for themselves and serves the public through providing ways in which they can care for each other.

An example of a Caregiver: Johnson & Johnson

11. The Sage

The Sage’s goal is to help the people of the world gain insight and wisdom. They’re a trusted source of information full of wisdom and intelligence. The drawback to the Sage is that they can be too opinionated. In brand marketing, the Sage provides practical information and helps customers to understand the world better. 

An example of a Sage: PBS

12 .The Jester

The goal of the Jester is to bring joy to the world. They’re light-hearted and fun with big personalities. The Jester’s drawback is that they can be seen as disrespectful and a chronic joker, which isn’t taken very seriously. In brand marketing, the Jester will help customers have a good time allowing them to be more spontaneous. 

An example of a Jester: Old Spice

Why Do We Need Brand Archetypes

Now that you know the 12 archetypes, you’ll need to know who your target market is, have a good understanding of what your brand represents, and how your customers think about your product before you can utilize an archetype for your brand. 

You need a brand archetype so you can:

Putting it All Together

I bet you’re thinking this is a lot to take in. It is!
Your brand says a lot about you. As a matter of fact, it’s everything about you. It’s okay if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with information overload.

That’s where we come in. Carrboro Creative is a results-driven creative agency that offers website care plans, custom website design, brand development, graphic design, SEO, and more. Contact us today for a free quote, and let us show you how we can help you with your brand marketing and your brand archetype.

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