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What are brand archetypes?
Brand archetypes are universal symbols or characters that help create a brand identity and convey brand values as a persona. By definition, archetypes are recurring patterns or themes that exist across cultures and throughout time. In branding, archetypes provide a shorthand way to communicate the personality of a brand.
By understanding which brand archetype a company or product represents, customers can connect with the brand on a deeper level. There are 12 brand archetypes in total, each representing a different set of values and personality traits. The 12 brand archetypes are:
- The Innocent
- The Explorer
- The Rebel
- The Sage
- The Hero
- The Outlaw
- The Lover
- The Jester
- The Caregiver
- The Magician
- The Ruler
- The Creator
Brand archetypes are defined as the fundamental ways in which a brand can be expressed. In other words, brand archetypes are the building blocks of a brand that give it its unique identity and purpose.
For building extraordinary brands, it is essential to understand the different brand archetypes and how they can be used to meet challenges head-on in modern life.
There are 12 brand archetypes in total, each representing a different core desire that we all have. However, most brands will only use one or two archetypes in their branding strategy. The single archetype framework is the most commonly used brand archetype model.
It posits that a brand can only be expressed through a single brand archetype. However, a brand can also be expressed through multiple archetypes. This means that a brand can have different aspects to its identity. For example, a brand can be both heroic and trustworthy.
12 Brand Archetypes & their Examples
A heroic brand personality represents courage, strength, and determination. They are protectors and saviors. The Hero archetype wants to show how courageous and determined they are through their actions.
They take pride in knowing that their dedication and work ethic sets them apart from the competition. Facing challenges and learning from defeats or failures is key to success.
They inspire and empower. They allow people to see the potential for change and progress. For example, Nike is not just a company that sells trainers– they’re a brand that tells a story of success against all odds. This journey of triumph connects with people on an emotional level and encourages them to change and reach their full potential.
The Hero is incredibly altruistic, as they believe that their work holds great importance and can empower others. They take a great deal of pride in knowing that their actions positively affect those around them. Some of the popular Hero brand archetype examples are Nike, Superman, Red Cross, etc.
A brand that falls into the creator archetype is all about innovation and self-expression. These brands are risk-takers who challenge conventions and push boundaries to bring their unique vision to life.
The Creator is not afraid of change– they embrace it. They are always looking for new ways to improve and update their products or services. This brand archetype is all about forward momentum. For example, Apple is constantly coming out with new versions of its products, each one better than the last.
The Creator wants to be seen as an innovator and leader in their industry. They are passionate about their work and always looking for new ways to improve. Some of the popular Creator brand archetype examples are Apple, Adobe, and Lego.
A brand that falls into the lover archetype is all about passion, emotion, and connection. These brands believe in love– both giving and receiving it. They also create desire.
The Lover brand archetype is about making an emotional connection with its target market. They want to create a deep, meaningful bond that goes beyond simple transactions. For example, Tiffany & Co. isn’t just a jewelry store– it’s a brand that represents luxury, sophistication, and most importantly, love. Another example can be brands like Victoria’s Secret that create community by leveraging intrigue and desire.
The Lover brand archetype appeals to customers by evoking emotions. They want to be seen as romantic, caring, and passionate. Some of the popular Lover brand archetype examples are Tiffany & Co., Coca-Cola, and Harley-Davidson.
A brand that falls into the sage archetype is all about wisdom and knowledge. These brands are truth-seekers who want to help others learn and grow.
The Sage brand archetype is about sharing knowledge and helping others to grow and learn. They want to be seen as trustworthy and authoritative figures in their industry. For example, Harvard University isn’t just a school– it’s a brand that represents knowledge, prestige, and success.
The Sage is all about helping others to grow and advance their understanding. They build trust with co-workers and clients by being reliable sources of information. Some of the popular Sage brand archetype examples are Harvard University, Encyclopedia Britannica, and National Geographic.
A brand that falls into the caregiver archetype is all about kindness, compassion, protection, and a positive personality. These brands have a strong sense of duty and responsibility, and they want to help others in any way they can.
The Caregiver brand archetype is about being kind, compassionate, and helpful. They want to be seen as a brand that people can rely on in times of need. For example, The Red Cross is more than just an organization– it’s a brand that represents hope, care, and relief.
If you want to come across as a brand that is kind, compassionate, and helpful, the Caregiver archetype model is for you. Some of the popular Caregiver brand archetype examples are The Red Cross, Mother Teresa, and Save the Children.
A brand that falls into the magician archetype is all about mystery, wonder, and transformation. These brands want to make the impossible possible and they have a strong belief in the power of their products or services.
The Magician brands want to be seen as a brand that can change people’s lives for the better. For example, Disney isn’t just an entertainment company– it’s a brand that represents magic, hope, and happiness.
The Magician brand strategy strives to be viewed as a life-changing force for good; they aim to make the impossible, seem possible. Some of the popular Magician brand archetype examples are Disney, Harry Potter, and Virgin Group.
A brand that falls into the ruler archetype is all about power, control, authority, and a dominant personality. These brands want to be seen as leaders in their industry and they have a strong desire to achieve success.
The Ruler brand archetype creates a brand perception of being a leader and having a sense of control. They want to be seen as a brand that is powerful and successful. For example, Mercedes-Benz isn’t just a car company– it’s a brand that represents luxury, status, and power.
Brands that identify with the Ruler archetype want consumers to see them as a powerful force in their industry–a leader. They focus on success and control. Some of the popular Ruler brand archetype examples are Mercedes-Benz, IBM, and Microsoft.
A brand that falls into the innocent archetype framework is all about purity, simplicity, and childlike wonder. These brands want to be seen as wholesome and innocent, and they have a strong belief in the goodness of people.
The Innocent brand archetype makes customers relate to being wholesome and pure. They want to be seen as a brand that is good and trustworthy. For example, Johnson & Johnson isn’t just a healthcare company– it’s a brand that represents care, concern, and protection.
The Innocent brand is about being simple and unsophisticated. They want to be seen as a kind, well-sourced company. Some of the popular Innocent brand archetype examples are Johnson & Johnson, Barbie, and Pillsbury.
A brand that falls into the jester archetype is all about fun, playfulness, and humor. These brands want to be seen as lighthearted and fun-loving, and they have a strong belief in the power of laughter.
The Jester brand archetype is about being playful and happy. They want to be seen as a fun brand. For example, Skittles isn’t just a candy company– it’s a brand that represents happiness, fun, and laughter.
The Jester intends to be seen as a fun, entertaining brand that brings happiness. Some of the popular Jester brand archetype examples are Skittles, LEGO, and Virgin Atlantic.
10. Everyman (aka Regular Guy)
A brand that falls into the everyman archetype is all about being relatable and down-to-earth. These brands want to be seen as regular guys (or girls), and they have a strong belief in the power of being down-to-earth.
Many companies want to emulate the norm and be like everyone else, but that’s not Old Navy. They’re a clothing company, sure– but they also represent being casual, comfortable, and approachable. In other words: they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Everyman brands are designed to make consumers feel like the company is just like them– normal and relatable. For example, some popular Everyman brand archetype examples include Old Navy, McDonald’s, and Walmart.
11. Rebel (aka Outlaw archetype)
A brand that falls into the rebel archetype is all about being rebellious and unconventional. These brands want to be seen as rebels, and they have a strong belief in the power of going against the grain. They do not like the status quo.
The Rebel brand archetype is about being different and standing out from the crowd. They want to be seen as a brand that is nonconformist and rebellious. For example, Harley-Davidson isn’t just a motorcycle company– it’s a brand that represents freedom, independence, and rebellion.
Brands like Harley-Davidson, Apple, and Nike have built their success on being different from the mainstream. Their rebellious attitude has appeal to those who want to express their individuality.
A brand that falls into the explorer archetype is all about adventure, discovery, and freedom. These brands want to be seen as brands that encourage exploration, and they have a strong belief in the power of adventure.
The Explorer brand archetype is about being curious and adventurous. They want to be seen as a brand that represents exploration and discovery. For example, Jeep isn’t just a car company– it’s a brand that represents adventure, freedom, and exploration.
The Explorer brand is about encouraging people to get out there and explore the world. Some of the popular Explorer brand archetype examples are Jeep, National Geographic, and Google.
Why brand archetypes are so effective?
When it comes to building emotive brands, brand archetypes play a very important role.
Brand archetypes are so effective because they help brands tap into the emotions that consumers feel. When a brand can make an emotional connection with consumers, they are much more likely to create a loyal customer base.
Brand archetypes also help brands to clearly define their brand identity and positioning. This clarity is essential for brands to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
It also lets brands tell their story in a way that is relatable and resonates with consumers. When a brand can tell its story authentically and engagingly, they are much more likely to connect with consumers on a deeper level.
How to determine your brand archetype?
There are a few different ways that you can determine your brand archetype
One way is to take our brand archetype quiz. This quiz will help you to understand which brand archetypes resonate most with your brand.
Another way is to look at the core values of your brand. What are the values that guide everything that you do? These values can be a good indication of which brand archetype your brand falls into.
Finally, you can also look at your brand history. What has been the driving force behind your brand up until this point? This can also give you some clues as to which brand archetype is most appropriate for your brand.
How to Create Your Brand Archetype?
The first step is to understand the 12 brand archetypes. We’ve listed them out below, along with a brief description of each one.
Once you have a good understanding of the brand archetypes, you need to determine which one best represents your brand. To do this, we recommend taking our brand archetype quiz.
Once you’ve determined your brand archetype, you need to start creating content that aligns with that archetype. This means creating a brand story, brand voice, and brand visuals that all reflect your chosen archetype.
In the end, you need to make sure that everything you do as a brand aligns with your brand archetype. This includes everything from the way you communicate with your customers to the products and services you offer.
Brand Archetype Quiz Example
1. Which of the following words best describes your brand?
If you selected option “d”, your brand personality will be Rebel type and so do the brand archetype.
2. What is the primary emotion that you want your brand to evoke?
If you chose option “d”, your brand will have an Explorer brand archetype.
3. What is the core value that guides everything you do as a brand?
If you selected option “d”, your brand will have a Sage archetype.
4. What is your brand’s mission?
a) To inspire people to be their best selves.
b) To help people live more fulfilling lives.
c) To make the world a better place.
d) To provide people with products and services that improve their lives.
If you selected option “c”, then your company is most likely a Hero brand.
5. What is the primary goal of your marketing efforts?
a) To build brand awareness.
b) To generate leads and sales.
c) To create brand loyalty.
d) To increase market share.
If you chose option “a”, your brand likely has the characteristics of the Innocent archetype.
After looking at all of the information, it’s clear that brand archetypes can be a helpful way to understand human nature and existing paradigms.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that they are just one tool in the vast toolbox of human psychology. They should be used in conjunction with other methods to get a full understanding of developing connections with your target audience.
What do you think? Do brand archetypes help brands connect with their audiences? Let us know in the comments below!
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