As marketers, we’re faced with the daunting task of deciphering brand strategy every day. That’s because every brand archetype has a unique personality and brand strategy that should be reflected in every brand touchpoint.
In this blog, we’ll be covering brand archetypes and how they can help your brand strategy. We’ll also dive into the 12 brand archetype personalities and how each archetype impacts your brand strategy.
What Are Brand Archetypes?
Brand archetypes are personas that companies can use to develop their brand voice and identity. They are based on universal personalities such as the explorer, the rebel, the hero, and so on. They allow companies to connect with their target audiences on an emotional level and help build a narrative for their brand.
Brand archetypes help brands access something deeper and richer in customer psyches, allowing them to tap into our inherent desires and motivations more easily. Consumers recognise and expect certain behaviours, motivations, and values from a given brand archetype, making them effective tools for branding. This helps strengthen the brand-customer bond and creates a sense of familiarity.
Examining the 12 Brand Archetypes and their branding strategy
Brand archetypes are representations of brands as personas based on the 12 key human desires and values, such as safety, power, and belonging. These can be found on the brand archetype wheel below:
The Outlaw Archetype
The outlaw archetype is characterised as representing strong, honest, and courageous values, driven by freedom and social change. This archetype encourages boldness, risk-taking, and fearlessness in the face of adversity. It is best suited for brands that value customer individuality and are looking to stand out from the crowd. These brands can be those that support a subculture or niche market, or those that are based on an idea or identity that goes against the status quo.
An example of such a brand would be Harley Davidson, which has been producing motorcycles with their unique sound and look for over 100 years. This brand is known for its toughness and rebellious spirit; it challenges the status quo in every message it produces.
The Magician Archetype
The magician archetype encourages people to transform their lives and spread magic. The goal of this archetype is to deliver transformative experiences and make dreams come true. As a brand archetype, the magician can be used to highlight the potential of the brand and its ability to solve problems. Disney, Red Bull, and Dyson are all great examples of brands that embody the magician archetype and use it to their advantage. In addition to highlighting the brand's capabilities, the magician archetype portrays a brand as having a unique outlook on life and being able to solve problems. This archetype can be successfully applied in different industries, such as entertainment, hospitality, health, and beauty.
The Hero Archetype
The Hero archetype is all about courage, ambition, and determination. It encourages brands to take risks and be bold in their approach. The hero uses their strength to challenge the status quo and inspire others to do the same. This archetype is often seen in the sports, outdoor, and equipment sector due to its bold and confident personality. Some of the most famous Hero Archetype brands are Nike, Adidas, Land Rover, and FedEx. They all have a strong brand identity built around their willingness to take risks and be bold in their efforts to create groundbreaking products and services for their customers.
The Lover Archetype
The Lover archetype is characterised in the market place by passion and emotion, focusing on the romantic side of a product or service. Customer familiarity with the brand is increased by focusing on intimate moments and sensations. The goal of the Lover archetype is to make customers feel desired, appreciated, and important. Such a focus on the romance of a brand can be seen in luxury goods, beauty products, and services such as manicure and hair styling.
Luxury brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Gucci excel at use of the Lover archetype to create an intimate connection with their target audience. They use their brand’s sensual appeal to appeal to their consumers’ desire for intimacy.
The Jester Archetype
The Jester archetype is a fun-loving character who encourages people to laugh and let go of stress. This archetype is best represented by a brand that focuses on connecting with its audience through happiness and laughter. Such brands should highlight the light-hearted and positive side of life with a playful and entertaining spirit. They can do so by highlighting quirky characters, jovial events, or quirky social media posts.
Jester brands are found in food, entertainment, and everyday home niches, which makes them an appealing option for brand identity creation. They are playful, unique, and memorable, which makes them a great fit for brand identity creation.
The Everyman Archetype
The Everyman archetype is the representation of the normal, everyday consumer. Brands that use this archetype focus on making consumers feel a sense of belonging, being down-to-earth, and promoting the message that it is okay to be normal. The everyman archetype values a sense of belonging, being relaxed and friendly to everyone, not wanting to stand out from the crowd, and providing everyday functionality. This archetype also helps brands demonstrate how they are different from competitors by showing how they understand and appreciate the needs of the everyday person.
The everyman archetype is seen in everyday brands such as casual clothing, home decor, and food. These brands showcase how they are different from other companies by focusing on creating products that are functional and affordable for every day use.
The Caregiver Archetype
The Caregiver archetype reflects a selfless personality that wants to care for and protect its customers. It is characterised by compassion, empathy, and selflessness. This archetype is often used by brands that want to create a sense of safety and security for their customers. Brands that use the archetype must use values of warmth, generosity, and nurturing to provide consumers with feelings of safety and comfort. The Caregiver archetype is especially useful for brand identity when creating messaging around community or encouraging brand loyalty through generosity.
Johnson & Johnson is a good example of a brand that uses the caregiver archetype in its branding strategy. The company uses this archetype in its advertising materials to highlight its focus on healthcare services for the benefit of the community as a whole. By using the caregiver archetype in its branding strategy, Johnson & Johnson demonstrates its commitment to providing essential health services through service-oriented and socially responsible business practices.
The Ruler Archetype
The Ruler brand archetype is associated with strong power, control, and mastery. They are typically focused on being the “go-to” in their industry and are unafraid to take risks in order to achieve their goals. This archetype projects an air of confidence, reliability, and success. As a result, brand messaging should focus on leadership, ambition, and authority. Clients of Ruler brands are willing to pay a premium for products that will make them look more successful than others. These brands use leading influencers and successful celebrities in their advertising campaigns to communicate their authority in the market.
The Creator Archetype
The Creator archetype is based around a vision of how the world should be, and creators seek to create products that bring this vision to life. Important elements of the Creator Archetype include innovation, authenticity, creativity, and the fusion of technology and artistry. When applying this archetype to a brand, it's important to focus on innovation, use outside-the-box thinking, and create an impression of authenticity. This archetype encourages customers to take ownership of the brand and be part of its evolution.
Creators like Apple, Adobe, and Lego are all excellent examples of brands that embody the Creator archetype. These companies have created innovative products and services that give their customers the tools to create something unique.
The Innocent Archetype
The Innocent archetype is based on simplicity, childlike wonder, and positivity. They must earn customer trust through honest, genuine messaging and symbols. This archetype works to evoke feelings of nostalgia and contentment in customers.
The Innocent archetype is often used by brands that want to convey innocence, safety, and security. Brands portraying this archetype focus on organic or natural ingredients, such as beauty, skincare, and food. They are typically aimed at customers with a higher spend budget who are looking for quality products that are produced with care and integrity.
The Sage Archetype
The sage archetype is defined by knowledge, truth, and wisdom. It is characterised by an intellectual and analytical approach to problem-solving and decision-making, and it appeals to its customers by appealing to their intelligence. Sage brands must use factual information, and not oversimplify complex ideas. Instead, they should use facts and data to support their claims. This can help create an emotional connection with their customers, as it demonstrates a deep understanding of their needs and wants.
The sage archetype can be seen in many iconic brand examples, including Google, Hubspot, and IBM. These companies use facts and data to support their claims and are trusted sources of information for their customers. By using the sage archetype in their branding strategy, these brands demonstrate a commitment to the intellectual status quo and show a serious commitment to delivering quality services.
The Explorer Archetype
The explorer archetype is a branding strategy that taps into the desire for traveling and exploring new places and worlds. Explorer brands often present themselves as adventurous and risk-taking, which can help them appeal to people who want to take risks and take on new challenges in their lives. These brands promote freedom by encouraging their customers to explore their passions. For example, The North Face brand promotes outdoor adventure and presents its products as a tool for exploration. Instead of focusing on the destination, explorer brands encourage their customers to focus on the journey and enjoy the adventure of exploring new places and discovering something new and exciting. This archetype allows brands to create an emotional connection with their customers by inspiring them to venture off the beaten path and explore beyond what is currently known.
How to define and create your own brand archetype
It’s important to note that brand archetype does not mean ‘a brand’s identity.’ Instead, it is a strategy for how brand strategy can be built around an archetype. In other words, archetype is a generic term used to define brand strategy and brand messaging. Each archetype has its own strengths, weaknesses, and target market that must be understood while creating brand strategy. The 12 brand archetype examples mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more brand archetype examples that you can look up and use for your brand strategy. They’re sure to help you create a brand identity that resonates with your target audience!
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