Understanding the power of brand archetypes will help you in deciding on what type of archetype to use to be able to connect with your audience. Choosing the right archetype helps in building your brand properly and boost it for success
What are brand archetypes?
Brand archetypes are defined as brand identities that represent brand images. They are brand personalities that directly or indirectly promise certain benefits to customers.
An archetype is a person, place, or thing that serves as an example or model of your brand. In marketing terms, archetypes are similar to stereotypes with some significant distinctions.
According to Joe Pulizzi, brand archetypes are brand personalities and brand images that directly or indirectly promise certain benefits to customers. Furthermore, brand archetypes should follow brand stories which are the brand's life cycle involving the brand's birth, growth, maturity, and decline.
What are the brand archetypes used for?
Brand archetypes are used for brand messaging, marketing communications, and brand positioning. You can use brand archetypes in:
- Your brand messaging to frame your brand stories, as the brand's unique selling proposition (USP). In other words, brand archetypes are used to create and communicate a distinctive value proposition for your brand. The most important thing to keep in mind when creating brand archetypes is that brand messaging should not be overly complicated.
- Your brand image to make sure your brand is consistent and cohesive with its brand archetype. For example, a brand in the rebel archetype will feature an anti-establishment attitude which will be reflected in its marketing communications: fonts, colors and text formats used will be bold and edgy.
- Your brand identity refers to how your brand is perceived by the public, as well as its personality traits (i.e brand associations). For example, a brand archetype is a hero archetype that will have qualities such as positive, active, and confidence. Brand archetypes must be consistent with brand identity as brand identity is the ultimate reflection of the brand archetype.
- Your brand experience (i.e brand personality). This refers to how consumers interact with customers, employees, and the brand itself. For example, a brand in the explorer archetype will be characterized by its adventurousness and sense of fun through its products, marketing communications, or customer service representatives.
Why are brand archetypes such powerful tools?
Brand archetypes are considered powerful tools because they help brands speak to their target audience in a better way and also build brand equity. Brand archetypes give brand owners the chance to visualize the image of their brand as people engage with it.
This is concurred by experts and brand practitioners, who state that brand archetypes are important; they offer brand owners a tool to get a glimpse of their brand's personality. Thus, brand archetype helps brand managers develop marketing strategies for their brands.
What are Carl Jung's 12 brand archetypes?
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology. In his youth, he experienced brand marketing which led him to do brand research and brand development. His brand archetypes focus on twelve different brand images that brands can have and portray depending on what they stand for.
Jung's brand archetype approach has been used by many practitioners internationally. The brand archetypes that have been identified are listed below:
The outlaw is a brand that does not follow brand conventions. It defies brand image norms rather than conforming to them. The brand is uniquely different and can stand out from the competition because of its uniqueness. The outlaw, according to Jung, is an excellent brand archetype for a brand new brand that wants to be different and unique. Or for a brand that wants to embrace its uniqueness instead of conforming to brand stereotypes.
The archetype hero, as explained by Jung, is a brand that has the characteristics of a hero. The brand helps deliver hope to people and it can be one with which people identify. A brand must have an image that inspires trust from its customers for this brand archetype to work well.
As Jung explained, "the basic idea is that everyone admires the hero because he gives him something he lacks, namely strength and determination on the one hand and purity on the other."
Jung claimed that the Innocent brand has the "advantage of being good." This brand archetype can be likened to a brand with an image that is unsullied by any negative perception. A brand must have this innocent and pure brand archetype to gain trust from customers.
This brand archetype may also represent purity, as Jung stated: "The advantage of being good again is that you have no enemies."
This brand archetype goes out into the world, to look for what has not yet been found. This brand will serve as a pioneer brand and will seek out new opportunities, without being concerned about established rules. According to Jung: "that's why it's so suitable for brand archetypes which are first of all adventurers. This brand archetype goes out into the depths of nature, to meet the wonderful, magical creatures and to create something new in science."
This brand archetype is represented by Nike's brand. The brand has put itself at the forefront on several occasions; this brand truly represents the exploration of unknown territories.
Jung said that the Creator archetype brand makes up the brand's continuous need to create. The brand needs to reinvent itself and is continuously exploring brand-new ideas. When a brand uses this archetype, it should involve the brand's whole team in the creative process--that way, they will be able to see their input reflected in the brand strategy.
This brand archetype is represented by the Converse brand. This brand always comes up with creative ideas that other brands have not yet tried out nor will they do in the future.
The everyman archetype is described by Jung as a brand that represents the brand's relationship and its connection to the brand’s consumer. Jung said that "the brand fantasy is a collective one." Thus, the brand should be relatable and connect with its consumers at all times.
The brand has to come up with ideas for different audience segments, but not divide them into separate brands. Instead, every brand should find ways to connect with its users in brand fantasy.
Jung said brand fantasy is "the brand expressed through the unconscious, and this collective brand image is manifested in myths, fairy tales, or dreams." He explains that brand images are found within those deep-rooted images of our hearts and minds – including human nature and our inner character. Branding calls for brand narratives to be closer to brand fantasy.
The ruler archetype, as Jung explained, is "a personified concept of fatherhood: a perfect father who will always take care of us."
An example of the ruler archetype brand is Apple, with its simplified brand narrative: "the brand will lead you to become a better person; as if you had reached enlightenment and are now ready to live in the most beautiful place on earth."
The Sage brand archetype, on the other hand, is more of a brand fantasy. This brand archetype "lives in the realm of human potentialities… [and] has an intuitive understanding of the ultimate meaning and purpose of things." This is when a brand "opens your mind to possibilities beyond what you can see with your eyes."
Jung believed that brand fantasies have a very important role in our lives: "brand fantasies are meant for the general public to live out their frustrations and longings for something better for themselves… there is a brand archetype for every brand."
The brand jester archetype entertains and amuses the brand market. It never shows brand inhibition or self-consciousness, it's always a relaxed and easy-going, and exceptional loving life. Jung further explained that the jester archetype "helps the brand to come out of the innate seriousness and moroseness that would inhibit brand fantasy."
When brand jester is present, the brand feels relieved. They are also vicariously amused by brand jester's behavior (e.g., The Nature Company). This brand archetype can also enhance the brand market's inner brand fantasies and brand dreams.
The lover brand archetype can create emotional brand connections with the brand market. It gives and receives in an equal measure while keeping the brand promise of quality products and services. Jung said that brand lover has the brand "entirely in their power and could hardly be any more dependent if brand became brand's slave."
In today's brand world, brand archetype lover fulfills brand's deepest desires for love, affection, and care. It makes the brand feel safe to express brand feelings of tenderness.
Jung said that the caregiver brand archetype represents selfless brand love that gives the brand hope and a better brand future. The caregiver allows the brand to grow, it enables brand growth by providing care through actions such as nurturing the brand's skills and strengths or improving working conditions.
The magician archetype is the brand influencing other brand characters and how they should act. He can create brand adventures that add more meaningfulness and purpose to the brand world. The magician, according to Jung stands for a brand that wants to break down existing structures to help people become better brand humans. Out with the old inflexible structures, in with more flexible brand values that enrich brand humanity.
How to Build Exceptional Brands Through the Power of Archetypes?
You can use the above-mentioned brand archetypes to help you build exceptional brands, as brand archetypes can be used to define brand character traits, choose brand name and brand identity elements, as well as create brand stories and narratives for brand communications strategy.
Brand experience is created through the power of brand archetypes because when people identify themselves with these archetypes, brand experiences become more believable and, therefore, brand messages can be better received.
This brand experience is created through brand stories and brand narratives. The brand story is a brand's history of events that affected its development, while brand narrative represents how customers unfold this story during their brand interactions (irrespectively from digital or non-digital communications), including thoughts, perceptions, and emotions.
Some brand archetypes examples
Brand archetypes can be identified in some of the most powerful brands, these are:
Coca-cola is representative of the archetype brand explorer because brand creativity is at the brand's foundation since it offers an alternative to sugary sodas. This brand's brand story dates back more than 125 years, the brand was born in Georgia, USA and it represents a refreshing drink made from coca leaves and cola nuts.
An example of the archetype brand ruler is BMW, it has a brand personality of "exclusive" and brand story told by brand ambassadors such as James Bond. To purchase a car BMW is to invest in design, performance, and comfort with the ultimate brand experience in mind.
Google is the example of the brand archetype explorer. The brand's story is centered on a desire to make the world's information universally accessible and useful. Google has brand ambassadors like the Android operating system which makes it easier for everyone to use Google. This brand archetype imagines, designs, builds and expands the possibilities of what can be achieved online today and in the future.
Carl Jung's brand archetypes are powerful brand tools, which can be used for brand creation and brand strategy development. Brands based on archetypes are believed to better connect with people's unconscious minds.
The brand archetype is a key element of brand experience that uses brand stories and brand narratives (inherently linked to brand values) to deliver a strong brand message.
As such, it is recommended that brand archetypes be used throughout the brand creation and brand strategy development process, helping you to create a stronger brand uniqueness.
The brand archetype can also be used as an ongoing brand management tool (after the brand is created) to help develop brand experience, engagement, and ultimately sales.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Brand archetypes were first introduced in 1921 by Carl Jung and then later developed further by brand consulting experts Boland et al. Below are some frequently asked questions regarding brand archetypes:
What are the 12 brand archetypes?
The 12 brand archetypes are the following: hero, outlaw, innocent, explorer, creator, everyman, ruler, sage, jester, lover, caregiver, and magician. These 12 archetypes are made up of brand attributes and should be included in your branding strategy. The brand attributes are the things that help differentiate a brand from other products or services in the market. Some brand attribute examples include style, trust, excitement, sincerity, etc.
Extensive brand research should be conducted to identify the brand archetype that fits best with your brand. This brand archetype can then be used as a management and marketing tool to improve brand experience, engagement, and ultimately, sales.
Who created the 12 brand archetypes?
Carl Jung was the one who devised brand archetypes. Jung created the brand archetypes to categorize brand personalities.
Brand archetypes help brand managers and brand owners figure out what kind of personality their brand has and which archetype fits best with their brand. You as a marketer can use brand archetypes to create an engaging brand experience for your customers.
How many archetypes should a brand have?
A brand should have at least one brand archetype. According to a study by Millward Brown, only 35% of the brand have one brand archetype. Every brand should have at least one brand archetype because it helps with brand positioning and brand strategy creation but also most importantly brand experience design.
What are brand archetypes used for?
Brand archetypes or personality archetypes are used for brand positioning and brand experience design. Brand archetypes are a brand's inner nature, the brand's personality that is often shared with other brands in the same industry or sector of industry. They also help you to define your brand attributes and values which help further brand strategy creation.
When would you use brand archetypes?
You should use archetypes brand at the branding strategy creation stage and brand experience design stage. Brand archetypes help you in brand positioning as they define what your brand is about, they also give you a hint on what kind of brand attributes you should aim to establish for your brand.
Creating personality archetypes helps create a higher level purpose for your brand which will benefit all stages of brand strategy creation. Brand archetypes will also help brand experience design as they define your brand attributes which brand associations may be linked to.
You will benefit from the brand archetype if you are starting with a brand strategy for a new brand or want to refresh/revamp an existing brand.