If you think about any story you've ever read or any movie you've ever watched, there are typical characters we encounter. There's the Hero, the Jester, the Wise Sage, and many more. We're familiar with these characters and intuitively understand who they are - and we can harness that very same power for your brand.
We're here to give you the 101 on what brand archetypes are, which ones best describe your brand, and how you can use them to make your brand feel super relatable and familiar in your audience’s eyes.
In all kinds of storytelling, we see these repeatable character archetypes that help us understand, relate and connect with them.
It's an idea that's been explored throughout history, all the way back to 348 BC with the Greek philosopher Plato who talked about templates of intuitive understanding. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung is credited with coining brand archetypes and more recently, a book called The Hero and The Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes was published by Margaret Mark & Carol S. Pearson. It's been around for a hot minute!
Because these archetypes are so universally recognised throughout history, around the world and across generations, they’re incredibly useful for creating a unique brand voice that your audience understands and connects with.
They can also help differentiate you from other brands. If your brand archetype is different from others in your industry, you’ll stand out in the crowd. It’s a great tool for stopping your audience in their tracks and connecting with them when they see who you are.
The person you go to for understanding, wisdom and knowledge. They believe that education is the path to wisdom and that wisdom is where you’ll find your answers. They want to understand the world and share that knowledge with other people.
A powerful brand that believes anything can happen. They believe in transformation, magical moments, and that the impossible can be possible. Their voice will be full of magic, awe, wonder and possibility.
A brave brand that values mastery. They believe in making the world a better place and that they can do that with grit and determination because where there’s a will, there’s a way. They inspire and empower audiences to believe in their ambition and succeed.
If they can dream it, they can make it happen. If they can imagine it, it can be created. This archetype is all about innovation. They see potential, ideas, imagination and originality everywhere. Their mission is to create new, exceptional, exciting and inspiring things and encourage others to do the same.
A selfless and kind brand all about service to other people. They want to love their neighbour as they love themselves and believe that everybody deserves care and support. They’re protective, caring and warm - the person you’d go to if you want to feel comforted!
A rebellious brand that challenges the status quo. They’re rule breakers driven by empowering and encouraging people to revolt or act on revenge. They have a gritty, sassy, attitude-filled voice.
This is an emotive brand all about intimacy, desire, pleasure, passion and closeness. They make people feel special, desirable, connected and beautiful.
As you can imagine, this brand is funny as heck. It’s all about having fun, laughing, living in the moment and letting your hair down. They’re not serious at all and bring joy to everybody around them.
Commanding, powerful, and all about control, success and excellence. They want to be the best of the best, the crème de la crème. It’s a very luxurious, glamorous and wealthy brand.
This is a sweet brand about safety, simplicity, youthfulness and happiness. It’s positive, optimistic, honest and pure. They want to make sure everybody’s happy and see the best in everybody.
Someone who cannot be fenced in and cannot be stopped. They’re always trying new things, getting out into the world, getting out of their comfort zone, taking risks and challenging themselves. They value the journey and sharing that experience with others.
Your brand may be one of these archetypes, a combination of 2 or 3 of them, or even transitioning from one to the other. If you’re a combination of 2 or more archetypes, it’s helpful to give weighting to each part so you know what percentage of your brand is which archetype.
There are two main parts to figuring out your brand archetype:
The best part of brand archetypes is that they help you to better connect with your audience, so think about who your audience is and what they WANT to connect with.
Vague as it is to say - you’ll know it when you find it. You should really resonate with the brand archetype you choose. It should feel like you, sound like you, and feel relatable and authentic to you. Basically, it should all-around feel pretty darn good.
Your brand archetype can be powerful in so many ways. You can use it to guide all these parts of your business and more:
Anything and everything that relates to your brand personality can be informed by your brand archetype because essentially, they’re the same thing!
Now that you have your 101 to brand archetypes, it’s time to go ahead and think about which one is just unquestionably yours. We can’t wait to see you creating and sharing the story of your brand’s character!
April 27, 2022