Every brand needs a story, a way to stand out, connect to their audience and a special something that’s going to separate them from the rest. Everybody wants their empire to be better than the next and to leave a lasting impression. But how are you as a business going to stand out if you don’t know what makes you different? A simpler term for this is what we like to call a “Brand Archetype”.
A Brand Archetype is another name for your brand’s personality and choosing the appropriate archetype will set the tone for your brand by embodying specific traits, values, and goals. It’s going to help you build strong relationships with your customers and set a foundation of trust between you and potential clients by staying authentic and consistent with your archetype.
Why do Archetypes matter you might ask?
They are a way of humanising your brand and disabling that fine line between ‘in your face’ sales pitches, and transforming it into something or someone people can relate more to.
Different Archetypes are quite commonly found in movies and stories. They are those essential characters that make a plot what it is and take you on a journey from beginning to end. When you think of Captain America, Simba, Harry Potter and Nemo, what do they all have in common? They are all heroes of the story. They are usually confident, ready for anything and on a mission to save the day. Another typical character in many stories is the “Mentor”. Think Mr Miyagi, Mary Poppins, and Dumbledore. All these characters are usually experienced, trustworthy role models who are wise and full of knowledge.
Just like in all these iconic stories, there are several different personalities your brand can take on in real life. So, don’t worry, if you aren’t quite sure which one you might be just yet, we’ve put together 12 of the most common brand Archetypes.
The Ruler likes to take control, set the path for others, and usually wants to create respected brands and establish class and exclusiveness.
Traits: Leader, responsible, organised, role model, administrator.
Weakness: Could be overly controlling, possibly intimidating, lack a standard connection.
Marketing Strategy: Help people become more organised, create stability and security in a messy world, set high standards.
Example: Microsoft, Barclays, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Louis Vuitton.
The Outlaw is usually risky, doesn’t adhere to the rules and likes to stand out. They also want to shock, disrupt and eat the forbidden fruit.
Traits: Rebellious, reckless, endearing, cool.
Weakness: Could take it too far and possibly be taken the wrong way.
Marketing Strategy: Revolution, allow people to stray away from the norm, appeals to the inner rebel of the customer.
Example: Harley-Davidson, Virgin, Diesel.
The Hero wants to save the day and prove themselves. They want to work harder than most and make the world a better place. They see their work as empowering and essential.
Traits: Bold, confident, honourable, courageous, strong.
Weakness: Can be excessively conceited and reserved, fears weakness and vulnerability.
Marketing Strategy: Make a positive mark, be a problem solver and inspire others to do the same.
Example: Nike, BMW, Duracell, Adidas, Red Cross.
The Magician is one who wants to make dreams come true and make problems disappear. They like to be persistent and have dreams that some might see as impossible.
Traits: Charismatic, mysterious, imaginative, visionary.
Weakness: unforeseen negative consequences.
Marketing Strategy: Inspire change, make magical moments, deliver mystery, turning problems into solutions.
Example: Disney, Sony, Mastercard, Apple, Dyson, XBOX.
The Explorer usually is outgoing and brave, and they have a yearning for adventure and discovery. They enjoy new experiences and don’t like being fenced in.
Traits: Independent thinkers, restless, ambitious, pioneering.
Weakness: Fear of conforming and being trapped.
Marketing Strategy: Celebrate the journey, risk-taking, authenticity, exciting.
Example: Jeep, Red Bull, The Body shop, NASA, The North Face.
The Sage believes that the truth is what will set you free. They are driven by the desire to make the world a better place by finding out truth and knowledge and sharing that with the world.
Traits: Wise, Intelligence, Thoughtful, mentor, trustworthy.
Weakness: Can come across sounding too smart, fear of ignorance and being deceived.
Marketing Strategy: Help people understand the world, provide practical information.
Example: Google, TED, Phillips, BBC, Discovery Channel.
The Innocent type likes to be carefree and simple; when somebody needs somebody to turn to, the Innocent is there for a refresh and positive mindset. They are optimistic and traditional.
Traits: Pure, optimistic, moral, loyal, simple, honest.
Weakness: Can be naïve, and they fear doing something wrong or provoking punishment.
Marketing Strategy: strong values, seen as trustworthy and reliable, linked to morality.
Example: Dove, Aveeno, Coca-cola.
The Creator is usually an artistic personality or a builder. They are imaginative and have a passion for self-expression. They have a vision of how the world should, and they crave authenticity and freedom.
Traits: Artistic, creative, entrepreneur, inventor.
Weakness: Can be a perfectionist and sometimes impractical. Fears being mediocre.
Marketing Strategy: Celebrates the creative process and helps people be expressive and creative.
Example: Adobe, GoPro, Apple, Lego, Crayola.
Caregivers are nurturing and helpful, they share a common passion with the Hero to make the world a better place. They are selfless and driven to protect and care.
Traits: Compassionate, givers, maternal, selfless, generous.
Weakness: To be exploited or to be taken advantage of. They fear ingratitude.
Marketing Strategy: To help people look after themselves. They like to make people feel safe and be supportive.
Example: Heinz, Unicef, WWF, Johnson & Johnson.
The everyman is usually the “guy next door”, approachable and relatable they are just an ordinary person.
Traits: Down to earth, Humble, comfortable, authentic, faithful.
Weakness: might blend in too much, fears standing out and being rejected.
Marketing Strategy: gives a sense of belonging, likes to be relatable, brings reliability and comfort.
Example: Ford, eBay, Target, IKEA, Wendy’s, Budweiser.
The jester is the class clown, they like to spread joy to people by using humour and fun, and they also want to live life in the moment.
Traits: Sense of humour, Light hearted, mischievous, fun, entertainer.
Weakness: Can be seen as disrespectful, and they can fear boredom and being boring.
Marketing Strategy: Help people see the lighter side of things, make people laugh.
Example: Ben & Jerry’s, M&M’s, Cadbury.
The lover taps into the essential human need, intimacy. They connect people emotionally and provide sensuous experiences.
Traits: Passionate, intimate, romantic, warm, committed.
Weakness: Can be seen as selfless and hard to relate to. Fears being alone and unwanted.
Marketing Strategy: Help others feel appreciated and belong. They build relationships and connect people.
Example: Victoria Secret, Cosmopolitan, Chanel, Alfa Romeo.
But what if my brand fits more than one archetype?
That’s ok! Just like people, we can’t be pigeon-holed into one type of personality. We’re weird and wonderful creatures with many traits. However, when it comes to your brand, it’s best to pick one main archetype that sets the underlying tone for your business communications and marketing. Why? Well, imagine trying to buy something from a schizophrenic sales guy, you wouldn’t know whether you were coming or going. By sticking with one clear tone of voice, you can build a strong rapport with your audience, make them get to know you and feel comfortable to buy from or work with you.
Our expert marketing team can help you pinpoint your brand’s archetype, build a stronger brand and develop a connection with your audience.