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Have you ever wondered how these big brands get into your head and stay there? It’s not magic; they are archetypes. Brand archetypes are the template or persona that a brand adopts to become memorable, trustworthy, and popular.
So let’s look at how popular brands like Disney and Tesla have activated these archetypes to build engaged fan bases, and how you can apply these archetypes to any brand to increase loyalty and the bottom line.
Archetypes are universal symbols that tap into our collective unconscious. Brand archetypes give brands personality. They help flesh out abstract ideas and help consumers connect with a brand on an emotional level. When you see yourself in the archetype of a brand, you feel like they really “get” you. You feel seen and valued as a customer.
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12 common brand archetypes
The archetypes listed here represent some of the most compelling and resonant options, but don’t feel limited to them. The archetype that suits you could be a combination of these or something entirely new.
- The innovator constantly pushes the limits and comes up with radically new ideas and products. It’s innovative, yet risky.
- The Creator is passionate about creating quality, handcrafted goods. It’s about quality and authenticity.
- The researcher seeks adventure and constantly discovers new horizons. He loves travel, culture and transformation.
- The helper is there to make your life easier, happier and more fulfilling. It’s supportive, yet nonjudgmental.
- The rebel breaks the rules and marches to the beat of his drummer. It’s anti-establishment and countercultural.
- The saints is morally upright and moral and has a purpose beyond profit. It is idealistic and ethical and has a positive impact.
- The sage is wise beyond his years, offers insights and illuminates the essential questions of life. It’s wise and thoughtful.
- The fool doesn’t take itself too seriously. It loves to make people smile and laugh and lighten the mood. It’s playful, fun-loving and whimsical.
- The hero is brave, strong and yet caring. It saves the day, fights the good fight, and makes people feel safe. It is noble, just and self-sacrificing.
- The outsider is an outsider looking inside. It is unconventional, subversive and aims to change the status quo. It is rebellious, irreverent and yet visionary.
- The every man is down to earth, unpretentious and personable. It’s the brand next door. It is trustworthy, dependable, yet humble.
- The magician is magical and mystical and arouses the amazement of people. It uses the imagination, fantasy and spectacle. The magician is dreamy yet imaginative.
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Key Benefits of Articulating Brand Archetypes
Having a clear sense of your brand archetypes really helps keep all of your messaging and marketing efforts on the same page. Here are the key benefits.
Positioning leadership. An archetype helps define how you want to position your brand in the marketplace. Would you like to be seen as a revolutionary, visionary, craftsman, etc.? Choose an archetype that fits the experiences and perceptions you wish to cultivate.
create consistency. With a defined archetype, you can ensure that all brand messaging, marketing materials, customer experiences, and products/services reflect that archetype. Consistency strengthens your brand identity.
Inspirational, resonant marketing. Archetypes inspire creative and compelling marketing when you bring the archetype to life. Instead of generic marketing, archetype-oriented marketing will resonate more with your key audiences.
Creating emotional connections. Strong archetypes unlock something primal – they create an emotional connection with your audience, not just a rational one. People connect with brands whose archetypes they find inspiring or aspirational.
leadership of cultural development. As culture and needs change over time, a well-chosen archetype will allow you to evolve while staying true to the essence of your brand. They move with the times, but remain recognizable.
How do you identify the right archetype for your brand?
Once you figure that out, everything else will fall into place. Here are some tips:
Take some time to reflect on your brand’s core values and personality. What characteristics and qualities should people associate with your brand? Think about the emotions you want to evoke and the experiences you want to create. This will help you determine the archetype that best captures your brand spirit.
Conduct research to gain insights into your target customers and key brand perceptions. Look for archetypes that your customers and critics already associate with your brand. An archetype may emerge that you can formalize.
Consider your brand’s key benefits and what problems you’re solving. What archetype would customers look for for such a solution? For example, the Sage archetype might work well for a consulting or educational brand.
Think like a storyteller. Give your brand a face and character. Imagine what kind of person your ideal customer wants or aspires to be. This can lead you to the perfect archetype.
Think in opposites. Compare different archetypes to find the one that least resembles your brand. Then you can shape your archetype to represent the opposite of that contrast. This ensures that your archetype is unique.
Get input from your team and key stakeholders. Bring different perspectives together to evaluate archetypal options and choose one that each believes authentically represents the brand.
Choose an archetype that inspires and inspires passion in your team. If the archetype resonates internally, that passion will be reflected in your brand’s marketing, products, and customer experience. Your collaborators can help bring the archetype to life.
Don’t think that you only have to fit your brand into one archetype – many successful brands span multiple archetypes. The key is to choose archetypes that best align with your brand’s vision and values, and reflect the experience you want to create for your customers. Build your brand’s story, imagery, and messaging around these archetypes, and you’ll create a deep, meaningful connection with your audience. Know your archetype and your customers will know you!