brand archetypes

Brand archetypes - how to use them to build a successful brand?

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Many people associate archetypes with psychotherapy rather than the way in which businesses operate. But did you know that they are equally important in marketing, branding and advertising? In this article, you will learn more about brand archetypes, how to use them and why they are relevant.

Brand archetype definition – who created it?

The general concept of archetypes was created by Carl Gustav Jung for the purposes of a psychological analysis. However, the way we use them in marketing today is attributed to Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson, who have led marketers around the world to build successful businesses.

What is a brand archetype?

Archetypes in general are highly developed elements of the collective unconscious, which can be described as universal, archaic patterns and images. People recognize such archetypes while in a new situation and react to them in a specific way. Simply put, an archetype is a prototype, a set of features that describes a character, event, phenomenon, etc. This general definition also highlights perfectly the importance of an archetype in building a brand. It allows you to create a communication strategy that will reach potential customers and recipients. This is due to the fact that marketers, by specifying the archetype of a brand, are able to assess the most optimal communication channel, which in turn allows them to create a content strategy. Additionally, brand personality archetypes make it much easier to establish a brand-customer relationship, which nowadays is the most important selling point!

Brand archetypes meaning in everyday life

We meet different people almost every day and right from the start we have a negative or positive opinion about them. After a while, a certain idea of their personality forms in our head and we are even able to define their characteristic behaviors. How is this possible? This person must fit one of the archetypes you had in your head. It is thanks to them that, at the time of the first contact, you attributed features that are obvious and well known to you to a given person or a place. It works exactly the same with brands. We like some of them and have slightly colder feelings towards the others. Everybody has their favorite brand, even though we do not know their products that well.

Why are brand archetypes important?

Brand archetypes can significantly help you in image building and advertising activities. What role does brand archetype play in branding?

  •     They allow you to predict the potential recipients’ behavior and reactions during the first contact with the brand and in the future – with the first one being more important.
  •     Thanks to them, it is much easier to determine the method of communication or the sale form which will be the most appropriate.
  •     They help in creating the right team. As a business owner or marketing director, you will know whether it is better to invest in the work of a graphic designer or an illustrator. Deciding whether a  copywriter should create technical or humorous content will be easier.
  •     A well matched archetype makes the brand recognizable and has a real impact on customers’ decisions.
  •     They help in building a strong customer community.

How to use brand archetypes?

How to use archetypes to build a brand? Start with the most important question: “who is my brand?”. Treat it as a person. Brands should be defined by the exact same categories as humans, namely by the set of distinguishing features, values and their visual form. We can say that the equivalent of human appearance is, for example, a brand’s logo, colors appearing on its channels of communication or icons that are associated with it. It might seem funny to you, but the brand archetype colors really matter. However, visual identification is not everything. Just as a person has some character traits, a brand will be associated with some emotions, behaviors and actions. So before you move on to choosing an archetype, be sure to look at your brand as a human and ask yourself the following questions:

  •       What is the brand like?
  •       What does it look like?
  •       How does it speak?
  •       How does it gesture?
  •       What values does it support?
  •       What are its characteristics?
  •       What makes it unique?
  •       What message does it convey?
  •       What emotions does it evoke?

Different categories – brand archetypes examples

Now you know how brand archetypes are characterized and why it is worth using them in marketing. So what archetypes are there? Mark and Pears have created 12 brand archetypes, which have been grouped according to their motives. They were of course created on the basis of 12 Jungian archetypes.

Stabilization and control

●        The Creator brand archetype

It is a creative, entrepreneurial and innovative brand. It is characterized by an unconventional approach to communication, original mission and the need to create something valuable. LEGO fits this description perfectly.

●        The Caregiver brand archetype

A caring, supportive and altruistic brand. Its main mission is to help. The best example here is Pampers.

●        The Ruler brand archetype

A brand leader who takes responsibility for itself, business and society. An authority that cannot be questioned. It controls everything and helps others succeed. Rolex, Mercedes-Benz and other luxury brands belong to this archetype.

Belonging and pleasure

●        The Jester brand archetype

A funny, teasing, joyful, sometimes even mocking brand. Its mission? Having fun, putting smiles on people’s faces and offering pleasure! One of such brands is Danio, whose brand hero is a funny creature called The Grumbler.

●        The Everyman archetype 

A down-to-earth, by no means selfish, similar to an empathetic community member brand. Wants to be perceived as a regular member of the society. In this category, you will most often find companies related to the products or services we use and need every day, such as VISA.

●        The Lover brand archetype

This archetype is embodied by sensual, emotional and attractive brands. Sensual pleasure is the main mission. Examples? Channel and Durex.

The pursuit of mastery

●        The Hero brand archetype

A brand that is characterized by courage, high competence, efficiency, and tenacity. Its goal is to fight for a better world. It can be both a non-profit organization, such as UNICEF, or a sales brand, like Nike.

●        The Outlaw brand archetype

An uncompromising and liberated brand. If breaking taboos, shocking communication and freedom are the features that distinguish your business, then your brand is a rebel. Best examples here are Jack Daniel’s and Harley-Davidson.

●        The Magician brand archetype

This brand is characterized by wisdom and ingenuity. It is often described as a visionary because it does not only plan to achieve the impossible, but actually succeeds. Tesla embodies all of these qualities.

Freedom and fulfillment

●        The Innocent brand archetype

A sincere, optimistic brand wearing its heart on the sleeve. It pursues happiness and wants to spread it further. The best example here is Disney.

●        The Explorer brand archetype

It is a bold, independent and open-minded brand that wants to discover the world and is always open to new challenges. Jeep fits these characteristics perfectly.

●        The Sage brand archetype

This is the last of the marketing archetypes. Brands that belong to this group prioritize intellect, diligence and constant search for truth. Their mission is to encourage people to perceive the world analytically and be guided by intelligence. No brand fits this description better than National Geographic.

It is also worth emphasizing the fact that a brand can be attributed to more than one archetype, since some of the values are closely related or do not contradict each other.

Now you know everything about the importance of archetypes in branding! If you need help with branding, check out our blog for articles about the branding questionnaire and the brand development process. Have a look at our corporate branding services as well!

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