The word Archetype has a Greek origin and is born out of two words - archein, which means "original or old"; and typos, which means "pattern, model or type. Brand Archetypes help you define your brand personality using established behavioral patterns or categories. They help you to distill your brand into realizing its over-powering goal something that stands out from the rest and tells a story that your audience wants to listen to, again and again. Your brand archetype would carve a human figure out of the values and purpose you endeavor to achieve - someone your audience can love and cherish exactly the way feel for a character of a Hollywood flick.
As human beings, we instantly connect with those who are like us and have shared values. You must have experienced this in all life situations right from your childhood days up until now. The people you connect with have some trait that you admire or take inspiration from.
A Brand Archetype helps your audience to resonate with shared values and passion. It helps you to attract the right audience to your business who then convert into customers and evangelists - those who believe in the personality that your brand represents and are happy to stand by it.
Seth Godin, in his book: ‘Tribes-We need you to lead us’ show how we all have the opportunity to create a movement rather than just ‘sheepwalk’ and follow the rest. A Brand Archetype is meant to help you to come across as a unique personality that builds and leads a community.
“Exceptional firms have always been good at aligning their purpose with their execution, and as a result have enjoyed category leadership in sales and profits.” John Kotter and James Heskett
Simon Sinek in his book, ‘Start with Why’ insists on understanding the larger purpose of your business.
“People don’t buy what you do or how you do it, they buy why you do it,” he says.
Your Brand Archetype helps you to create an indelible impression of your ‘Why’ in the subconscious of your audience. It’s something that then works as a guiding factor for your overall marketing strategy.
Psychologist Carl Gustav Jung theorized 12 personality archetypes based on fundamental human motivations. Although every personality type is a mix of characteristics each is dominated by one trait that stands out the most.
These personality types bring out a larger purpose and are, therefore, popularly used to define a brand archetype. Jung defined four cardinal orientations that are key human motivations: ego-fulfillment, freedom, socialness, and order - he prophesied that these define the 12 personality archetype. On the basis of these orientations, he derived the purpose of each personality type, giving it a distinct identity.
His theory is popularly used to define the 12 brand archetypes and their larger purpose.
This personality aims to be happy and dreams of a utopian world. The symbol of innocence is Winnie-the-pooh - the friendly thoughtful character is always ready to help those around him. The overall purpose of this character is to spread happiness through rare qualities of honesty/integrity, and the goodness - to see the goodness in everything around. If you look at campaigns from a brand like Dove, you’ll surely see a reflection of this archetype. Take a look at this commercial.
The guy/girl next door is always looking to connect with everyone around and creating a sense of equality and belongingness. The symbol of this archetype is Ash Ketchum of the Pokemon series. There is nothing glorious about this personality type except for its deep sense of belongingness with everyone around. The motive of being more social with those around will always dominate maintaining the distinctiveness of this archetype. You’ll find brands representing this archetype tend to find joys in everyday life, in their communication of course:
A Hero is a Hero because of his relentless valor and courage to take on the impossible and a stand as the winner. A Hero epitomizes greatness and justice always ready for new challenges. The Symbol of this archetype is Superman - always there when you need him. The purpose of a Hero is to improve the world with this competence and courage. Here is the ultimate example of this archetype:
The priestly types will always be there for help - selfless, they create a much-needed balance in an otherwise evil world dominated by greed and hunger for more. Their core desire is to protect and care for others and get inner satisfaction from their acts. They are known for their compassion and need to be generous. Bodyshop is beauty brand that fits into this archetype perfectly. Take a look at this example:
Explorers live with an inherent purpose of freedom, wandering, and of finding joy in diversity. They are on a constant quest to discover something new, something they have never observed before. This archetype is represented by ‘Dora the Explorer’ who’s on an unending quest to seek new pastures - that being her sole motive. This video from Jeep says it all:
If rules are created to be followed then rebels are definitely exceptional. The personality type was born to revolt and lead a revolution, abhorring the tiniest regulation, they’re wild and disruptive. The rebel does not believe in the social order and finds joy in breaking rules and creating one’s own. Joe Camel is one character that immediately comes to mind when you think about this brand archetype. Now take a look at this video from Diesel:
When this one’s around you can expect love to be in the air, like you can literally breathe it. Their core purpose is to be loved and to get intimate, remember Johnny Bravo? You can tell them from their looks and the way they walk, talk and look out opportunities to be in love, to find eternal romance.
Take a look at this example from Axe:
The creator lives to invent, imagine and create things that don’t exist. The larger motivation of the creator to stand out and hog limelight and appreciation from everyone. The creator could be the artist or the scientist looking make this world a better place through her unique ideas. Dexter from Dexter’s lab is a great example of this archetype. A brand that fits perfectly into this archetype is Oreo. Take a look at this video:
The personality provides light hearted entertainment to the world. The personality type hates everything boring and livens up every situation with his jokes, tricks or any other way that delights everyone around. A cartoon character that fits well into this archetype is Goofy - always up to something that captivates your attention, brings a smile to your face.
Whenever I see a Lay’s commercial, I say they so fit into this archetype. Have a look at this ad and I you’ll feel the same way too:
Have you wondered what makes you assimilate knowledge? Yes, hunger for knowledge comes from the curiosity of understanding this world and the way it works, better. This personality type is known to be passionate about research, thinking, planning and teaching. These people are scholars with a larger life purpose of seeking the truth. One historical character that comes close being a Sage is Ms. Teach from Cow and Chicken.
A brand that endeavors to collect and knowledge, Google definitely works very well to fit into this archetype.
A magician is known to make things happen through strong intuitive powers. Their primary motive is to help those around them to realize their dreams. Do you remember the Blackstone, Master Magician comic book series? Blackstone was based on real-life character- a magician who used to investigate and fight crime using his magical powers.
Take a look at this example from Lynx For Men:
The purpose of a ruler is and has always been to protect the community and ensure the general well-being of people. The ruler has inherent qualities of being a leader - someone who is followed by the tribe. The ruler takes responsibility and therefore, has authority in his territory. The character Mufasa from the movie Lion King best represents this archetype.
This commercial showcases how Mercedes Benz fits so well into this archetype:
Some brands have truly hit the bullseye while defining who they are and their archetype. Have you done it yet or as accurately?
“The law of attraction is this: You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.”
The first step in getting your archetype is to get to know yourself - delve into why you are doing, what you are doing. When you know your larger aspiration you’ll be utterly close to know about your business’s vision and mission. See which archetype your foresight the most - then give it wings through some kick-ass stories.