Brand archetypes are a powerful tool for helping you identify key attributes and ideals for your business. Having a clear archetype identified helps you to understand your target audience, create a more compelling brand story; and to connect with customers on a deeper level.
While the list is ever-growing and branching out into more niches, there are 12 main brand archetypes, as defined by Carl Jung. Let’s dive a little deeper, and see which you might be.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that while it’s likely your brand will fall largely under one archetype, it isn’t uncommon for brands to embody traits of 2, or even 3, archetypes. The main thing is that you are able to identify elements within archetypes that resonate with your brand - and similarly, the ones that don’t. This is how you can shape your approach towards everything, from brand awareness to customer journey.
The Innocent archetype is all about purity, optimism, and hope. Innocent brand archetypes focus on bringing solutions to the forefront, without focusing on problems. Think brands like Coca-Cola, Disney, and Dove. Brands that embody this archetype often use bright colors, simple designs, and positive messaging.
We all know an everyman. The Everyman archetype is relatable, down-to-earth, and approachable. Immediately, this archetype builds trustworthiness with people. Brands that embody this archetype often use humor, self-deprecation, and everyday imagery. Examples of Everyman brands include IKEA, Home Depot, and eBay.
Born to lead and inspire? This one’s for you. The Hero archetype is courageous, adventurous, and inspiring. Hero brands include Nike, BMW, and Duracell. They don’t shy away from going forth boldly, and striving to become the best. Hero brands are often the leaders or pioneers of their craft. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of strength, power, and victory.
Rebellious, non-conformist, and individualistic. Brands that embody Outlaw archetypes often provoke feelings of danger, excitement, and freedom. They embody the black sheep in society, and dare to do things differently. Examples of Outlaw brands include Harley-Davidson, Virgin, and Apple.
The Explorer archetype is curious, adventurous, and open-minded. They strive to show their consumers another side of life. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of travel, exploration, and discovery. Some Explorer brands at the forefront of our mind include National Geographic, Patagonia, and Jeep.
When we think of innovative, imaginative, and original? We think of Creator archetypes. Apple. Adobe. Lego. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of creativity, art, and design. The artists, poets, and deep thinkers in society.
The Ruler archetype is powerful, authoritative, and in control. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of wealth, status, and power - and appeal to those who have big dreams and don’t back down on making them reality. Examples of Ruler brands might include Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, and Calvin Klein.
The Magician archetype is mysterious, powerful, and transformative. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of magic, illusion, and transformation. Examples of Magician brands include David Copperfield, Harry Potter, and Apple.
Huh? The Lover? Yep, you heard right. We’re talking brands like Victoria's Secret, Chanel, and Haagen Dazs. The Lover archetype is passionate, romantic, and sensual - just like your dream partner. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of love, beauty, and desire.
Does your business focus on being nurturing, compassionate, and selfless? Perhaps you’re a Caregiver. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of family, friends, and community. They invoke feelings of kindness. There are some great examples of present-day and historic Caregiver brands, including Johnson & Johnson, Campbell's Soup, and UNICEF.
Humour has the ability to connect humans like nothing else. The Jester archetype is funny, irreverent, and playful. Brands that embody this archetype often use comedy, wit, and sarcasm. Examples of Jester brands include Old Spice, Ben & Jerry's, and M&Ms. The strength of the Jester is not taking themselves too seriously - and as such, appealing to audiences who are bored of polished, professional brands.
The Sage archetype - as it sounds - refers to brands that are wise, knowledgeable, and insightful. Brands that embody this archetype often use imagery of learning, wisdom, and understanding. Examples of Sage brands include Google, PBS, and Philips.
There is no one right way to choose your brand archetype. The best way to choose is to consider your target audience, your brand values, and your overall brand personality.
If you are targeting a young, optimistic audience, the Innocent archetype might be a good fit for your brand. If you are targeting a more mature, experienced audience, the Sage archetype might be a better fit.
Once you have chosen your brand archetype, you can use it to guide your marketing and branding efforts. You can use the imagery, messaging, and tone of voice associated with your archetype to create a more compelling brand experience for your customers.
Brand archetypes are a powerful tool that can help you to create a more compelling brand. By understanding the different archetypes and choosing the one that is right for your brand, you can connect with your target audience on a deeper level and build a stronger brand identity.
Do you now know which brand archetype your brand is?