The Ultimate Guide To Brand Archetypes: Hack the Mind of Your Customers [Examples]

12 jungian archetypes map

There’s just something about the brands we connect with. We have an affinity with them that’s hard to put your finger on. It’s as if we know them. In some cases, it’s as if we love them.

What is it that attracts us to these brands? Why do we welcome them into our family or show loyalty towards them?

Is it awesome Ad copy, amazing brand identity design or some kind of trickery?

The answer? Brand Archetypes.

In this article, we’re going to show you how you can use them to hack the mind of your audience to create enduring connections.

For now, here is a snapshot of the 12 Jungian Archetypes we’ll be diving into.

Almost All Emotive Brands Build Their Personality Around A Similar Framework

Although all brands are businesses that we have a transactional relationship with (they give you something in exchange for your money), for some brands, we feel connection, loyalty and in some cases love.

The most loved brands connect with their audience on a deeper level than most brands. According to Netbase, Lego is the third most loved brand in Europe with 280,314 expressions of love towards it back in 2017. Business Insider’s article dives into the full list of 21.

No doubt you will have some fond memories of at least one or two of them.

Maybe you’re attached to your Macbook, your Air Max or your Heinz Baked beans.

brand archetypes heinz

It’s probably none of those things but I’ll bet you my last tin of beans you have a connection with a brand where the alternative just won’t cut it.

Almost all brands that you feel such a bond with are built with a solid alignment to an archetype, which are grounded in decades of psychological research and have their roots in Greek Mythology.

Psychologist Carl Jung who coined the term in the early 20th century was in good company. Though Carl and Sigmund fell out later on.

freud jung psychology university
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This Basic Human Emotion Gave Birth To The Archetype

We all have basic human desires. We aren’t taught to want or need them. We just do.

They are instinctive and primitive. I’m sure you can relate.

Here are the basic human desires that each match with a specific archetype;

  • LIBERATION > THE OUTLAW

  • POWER > THE MAGICIAN

  • MASTERY > THE HERO

  • INTIMACY > THE LOVER

  • ENJOYMENT > THE JESTER

  • BELONGING > THE EVERYMAN

  • SERVICE > THE CAREGIVER

  • CONTROL > THE RULER

  • INNOVATION > THE CREATOR

  • SAFETY > THE INNOCENT

  • UNDERSTANDING > THE SAGE

  • FREEDOM > THE EXPLORER

Your heart rate will increase for some more than others.

As we are all different, our desires are different. My core desire might be Innovation, while yours might be Freedom or Mastery.

When we consider that certain behaviours or personalities increase certain desires, we can understand why some personalities appeal to us more than others.

Enter Archetypes – The Masters At Evoking The Required Desire

Archetypes are the personification of these behaviours and provide a roadmap that enables you to more accurately appeal to a given desire with a specific personality.

There are two primary reasons you would want to align your brand with an archetype.

  1. Connection: Most brands today are in the coalface competing on features, benefits and price. If you don’t want your brand to become a commodity, you will need to make a deeper connection with your audience.
  2. Differentiation: When it comes to standing out in a crowd, differentiation strategies seem well worn, with latecomers to the party left with little to work with. Personalities, on the other hand, have infinite possibilities. They’re not only unique but can be extremely memorable.

This Is Why They Are So Unbelievably Effective

Through the use of story, art, religion, myths, Archetypes characterise universal patterns of behaviour that we all instinctively understand.

When you dive into these archetypes and the behaviour traits of each, you will probably recognise yourself, your family and your friends.

Whether it’s your funny uncle acting like The Jester at your grans birthday or your anti-establishment friend dropping conspiracy theories in the pub as The Outlaw, you will see these archetypal personalities time and again.

Although the behaviours of your uncle and friend are familiar through experience, the behaviour or archetypes whom you don’t have experience with will also be recognisable.

Why? Because they are pre-programmed into your subconscious.

subconscious mind archetypes

We don’t immediately think of an archetype character when we see the behaviour but it is an instinctive understanding and it feels familiar.

Because the understanding of these archetypes is instinctive, we are able to connect with (or avoid) others very quickly when we experience them.

Because this recognition is pre-programmed into our brains, they are an extremely useful tool when defining the position of your brand and the personality traits that will resonate with your intended audience.

carl jung archatypal theory

I mean, I don’t like using superlatives but as the headline reads, it’s like a hack into the mind of your audience.

Seriously, any brand that wants more than transactional relationships with their audience, need to work with archetypes. It’s a no-brainer.

Archetypes Have Been Around How Long?

Now I don’t want this article to be a historical field guide, but their history shows they’re not some fad.

Archetypes are as old as the art of storytelling itself.

Plato, (The Greek philosopher) who was knocking about in Athens in 348 B.C. explored the idea of archetypes when he spoke of “forms of intuition” as the templates of intuitive understanding.

plato archetypes foundation

Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung coined the term “Archetypes” in the context of personality. He said we all have a “collective unconscious” that channel experiences and emotions, resulting in typical patterns of behaviour.

Carj Jung archetypes

In other words, we are born with the same instincts and unconscious understanding of behavioural patterns and we recognise them when we see them.

carl jung collective unconcious

In their 2001 book “The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes” Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson state that; “Archetypes are the heartbeat of a brand because they convey a meaning that makes customers relate to a product as if it actually were alive in some way, they have a relationship with it and care about it.”

hero and outlaw archetypes-branding

There’s A 95% Probability You’ve Been Seduced By An Archetype

As you can see, archetypes aren’t some pie-in-the-sky growth-hack. They’re legit with actual science to back them up.

We know that we have emotional connections to some brands despite the fact that our relationship is based on a transaction.

We also know that the reason we feel this way is based on the way these brands communicate with us and they do that by leveraging the science of archetypes.

You definitely don’t hear the term “Archetype” every day; yet they have likely influenced what’s sitting in your pocket, your gym bag or even your driveway.

gerald zaltman purchasing subconscious mind

According to Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman; a whopping 95% of our purchasing decisions are made in the subconscious mind. This means that brands with a strong archetypal personality that connects on an emotional level with their audience, have a massive advantage over their competition.

My Name is Maximus Decimus Meridius … And I’m an Archetype!

As you’ll see when we uncover the 12 Jungian Archetypes, each one is very familiar. As we covered already, this is partly to do with your intuition and partly to do with experience, culture and storytelling.

You see, long before branding and marketing experts got their mitts on archetypes, storytellers and filmmakers had been writing and creating some of the worlds most loved books and films with archetypal characters.

Here are a few examples.

The exploits of Indiana Jones as The Explorer.

archetype explorer indiana

The guiding wisdom of Yoda as The Sage in Star Wars.

archetype sage yoda

The rising from the ashes conquest of Maximus as The Hero in Gladiator.

archetype hero gladiator

All of these much-loved characters are built on archetypal foundations, as the storytellers knew about your intuitive instinct to connect with them quickly.

They are brought to life through story, where their personality can work to evoke an emotion within you, which allows you to form a connection with the character.

This is why you’re at the edge of your seat when Indy is in danger or why wish you had Yoda about to ask him some questions or why you celebrate Maximus’ bloody victory.

Traits or Personality? This is Where Less Experienced Brands Get It Wrong

If you don’t want to be just another business in the market competing on price, benefits and features, then you will need to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Your brand needs a real personality with a tone of voice.

Less experienced brands may pick a couple of traits that they think their audience will relate to. But archetypes are fully formed personalities with an outlook on life, an opinion on the world and firm beliefs that allow brands to connect as though they were human.

brand personality

In other words, if you want your audience to know who you are as a brand, your brand needs to know who it is.

Aligning your brand as tightly as possible to a single archetype will allow your brand personality feel all the more familiar to your audience and allow you to communicate with the consistency and humanity of a real person.

If You Want To Be Appeal To Everyone, Then Know This…

As the old adage goes “If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one”. Great brands are focussed.

You may be tempted to take traits from multiple archetypes to express your brand’s individualism but understand the consequences of a “confused brand”.

Referenced in the book “The Hero and The Outlaw” an analysis uncovered that brands with “tightly defined” archetypal identities rose in value by 97% more over six years than “confused brands” or brands with characteristics from many different archetypes.

confused brand archetypes

The moral of the story? Know who you are, know who your audience is and don’t try to please everyone.

Try listening to your audience more, and your archetype will be more effective.

Hang On…Who is the Archetype? My Customer or my Brand?

As archetypes represent all personalities then they are both your customer and your brand.

The trick is to identify your customer’s personality, then align your brand with the archetype that would most appeal to a desire within your customer (They are often the same but not always).

For example; your audience might be “The Everyman” but you want your brand to appeal to “The Explorer” within them. In This case your brand should be more aligned with “The Explorer” Archetype and use personality and communication to evoke their desire to explore.

We’ll dive into some more strategy a little further down.

Here Are The 12 Archetypes [+ Infographic]

Ok, but I hate to disappoint you because you already know them. (Get it? Archetypes…? Unconcious Understa… nevermind).

Here are the infographics in full if you’d like to save them.

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The Outlaw Archetype

iconic fox archetypes outlaw-1

The Outlaw Personality

The Outlaw has a desire for revolution partly to change the world for the better and partly for the anarchy involved. They have a disdain for rules, regulation and conformity that would remove any form of their freedom of choice (or anyone else’s). They are good at the core but anger is part of their motivation, which can become the dominant force. Without a fight, they are lost.

iconic fox archetypes outlaw-2

The Outlaw Connection Strategy

To appeal to an outlaw you need to prove to them first that you see the world as they do. Status Quo and Conformity are the common enemy and showing disdain for either will go a long way to resonating. Encouraging, facilitating or empowering revolution on the other hand, will make you an instant family (or gang) member. Formal communication should be avoided and your language and tone should be laced with grit and attitude.

The Outlaw Industries And Categories

Automobile (Motorcycles)

Destruction Tools

Alternative Apparel

Body Art

The Outlaw Brand In Action – Harley Davidson

The Magician Archetype

iconic fox archetypes magician

The Magician Personality

The Magician strives to make dreams come true through somewhat mystical ways. They have the ability to take people on a journey of transformation through the experience of a magical moment. They believe that we are limited only by imagination and defy the common belief of the laws of reality to lead us to a better future. Magicians have a thirst for knowledge though they don’t willingly share it, rather they use it to show their vision.

iconic fox archetypes magician

The Magician Connection Strategy

The Magician archetype rarely fits a buyer persona but appeals to different personas with their ability to transform. Brands that provide a product or service that take their customers on a transformational journey (Lost to found, Insecurity to security, Worn out to refreshed), could well consider the Magician Archetype as the personality to connect with their audience.

The Magician Industries And Categories

Entertainment

Beauty

Relaxation / Well-Being

Health

The Magician Brand In Action – Disney

The Hero Archetype

iconic fox archetypes hero

The Hero Personality

The Hero’s main motivation is to prove their worth through courage and determination.

They work hard in order to have the skills they deem requirements and take pride that their work rate sets them apart from the rest.

They need to meet challenges head-on and carry defeats or failures until they are corrected.

The Hero wants to save the day to prove their worth to themselves but also so the world knows of their ability.

iconic fox archetypes hero

The Hero Connection Strategy

To appeal to a hero you should inspire them and make them feel empowered to succeed and achieve.

They see themselves as upstanding citizens and the bully’s nemesis and they stand up for what’s right.

Hero’s want to rise to their ambitions and brands that can acknowledge those ambitions and encourage the challenge will connect with them.

A Hero wants to be inspired by the possibility to achieve and gratification that comes with it.

The Hero Industries And Categories

Sportswear

Sports Equipment

Outdoor / Tactical Equipment

Emergency Trade Services (Plumbing, Electricity, Locksmiths, Mechanic)

The Hero Brand In Action – Nike

This piece is particularly heroic and Nike went all in on not just their archetype “The Hero”, but their belief system. In doing so, (when all the dust settles), they will have changed their iconic swoosh, for many, into a symbol for what they believe. They didn’t just tell people to risk it all for what they believe, they led by example…. and just did it.

The Lover Archetype

iconic fox archetypes lover

The Lover Personality

The lover desires to be desired. The experience of Intimacy, closeness and sensual pleasure are what the lover seeks and will use the means they have to achieve it. They are motivated to become more physically and emotionally appealing to increase their capacity to attract others.

They fear being unnoticed, unloved and unwanted and because their passionate desires cloud their judgement, they can easily be misled. Even when Lovers achieve all their desires, they are still fearful of loss.

iconic fox archetypes lover

The Lover Connection Strategy

To appeal to a Lover you need to make them feel attractive or stir their passionate desires for connection and intimacy. Because of their attraction to sensory pleasure, communication and messaging should use sensual language and tone. Imagery and tone of voice are especially important for The Lover archetype.

Brands appealing to Lover personalities can leverage their audiences desire for sensual pleasure through sight, sound, smell or touch. The colour red is especially appealing to The Lover.

The Lover Industries And Categories

Fragrance

Cosmetics

Wine

Indulgent Food

Indulgent Travel

The Lover Brand In Action – Alfa Romeo

The Jester Archetype

iconic fox Atchetypes infographic

The Jester Personality

The Jester is all about having fun and living life in the moment. They not only love having fun themselves, they see it as their duty to be a ray of sunshine in everyone’s life around them.

They are optimists and can’t be kept down long due to their ability to see the good in every situation. Jesters are young at heart and continue their child-like nature long after their friends have grown up and become serious.

iconic fox archetypes jester

The Jester Connection Strategy

Like Magicians, Jesters are rarely a buyer persona but can be a perfect archetype for brands in the business of entertaining or wanting to associate themselves with good times.

Regardless of archetype and personality, everyone likes to laugh and provided the context and the timing is right, the Jester personality can be a memorable and loving point of differentiation.

As the Jester Archetype your brand should highlight the light-hearted and positive side of life with a playful and entertaining spirit. Brands that are able to connect with their audience through happiness and laughter can become much-loved brands.

The Jester Industries And Categories

Confectionary

Professional Services

Beer / Larger

Child Services

The Jester Brand In Action – Dollar Shave Club

The Everyman Archetype

iconic fox archetypes everyman

The Everyman Personality

The Everyman above all wants simply to belong. They tend to blend into society as ‘everybody” and don’t like to stand out in the crowd. They’re friendly and easy to talk without being overly funny or overly rude or overly loud.

They lend their trust easily though they fear being rejected. They are relatively positive and strive to fit into the group. They tend to have a liking for most things without being overly passionate about one. The Everyman can be quite liked but can also be easily forgotten.

iconic fox archetypes everyman

The Everyman Connection Strategy

To appeal to an Everyman you need to make them feel a sense of belonging. Brands that revolve around everyday activities might use this archetype with the message that it’s ok to be normal.

Home or family life brands fit this archetype perfectly while elitist positioning or “we’re better” messaging would be a turn-off. Appealing to an Everyman requires honest, humble, friendly and down to earth communication that doesn’t exclude.

The Everyman Industries And Categories

Home / Family Life

Comfort Foods

Everyday Apparel

Automobile (Family / Everyday)

The Everyman Brand In Action – The Gap

The Caregiver Archetype

iconic fox archetypes caregiver

The Caregiver Personality

The Caregiver is a selfless personality who is driven by the desire to protect and care for others, especially those in need. They are often maternity figures and take those who are in need of care, under their wing until they are stronger to take care of themselves.

This personality is personified perfectly by the nursing profession and though they like their effort to be recognised don’t like being patronised. Caregivers are not just reactive, they are also preventative and tend to be in and around an event of harm, before or after.

iconic fox archetypes caregiver

The Caregiver Connection Strategy

The Caregiver archetype is a perfect fit for brands that help those in need. The people such brands help are often vulnerable and sensitive and require a soft touch. Warm, thoughtful, generous and motherly approach offers a feeling of safety that will appeal to their needs.

A Caregiver brands aim is to make their customers feel secure, protected and cared for. Caregiver brands may need to appeal to wider audiences as they often require external input in order provide care for those in need. In such a case, educational and conscience evoking messages may be the key.

The Caregiver Industries And Categories

Health & Aged Care

Not-for-profits

Hospitals

Education

The Caregiver Brand In Action – Unicef

The Ruler Archetype

iconic fox archetypes ruler 1

The Ruler Personality

The Ruler desires control above all else and is a dominant personality. They are authoritative in their communication and in their actions and carry a sense of intimidation. Their goal is for prosperity and success and for that prosperity to trickle down to those that are loyal to his rule. They are confident, responsible and in control of their lives and expect the same from others. Rulers see themselves at the top of the food chain and aggressively defend that position.

iconic fox archetypes ruler

The Ruler Connection Strategy

To appeal to a Ruler you must re-affirm their sense of power, control and respect. Rulers want to feel a sense of superiority. That they are part of an exclusive V.I.P. club. Appealing to the masses will not get the Rulers attention and would more likely turn them off. Ruler brands must provide their customers with a sense re-affirmation that they are at the top of the ladder of success and are part of an exclusive club.

The Ruler Industries And Categories

Automotive (Luxury)

Watch Manufacturers

Hotels

Formal Wear Apparel

(Any Brands Providing Luxury or High Quality)

The Ruler Brand In Action – Mercedes-Benz

The Creator Archetype

iconic fox archetypes creator

The Creator Personality

The Creator has a desire to create something new and exceptional, that wasn’t previously there, and has enduring value. They need to express themselves with their individual talent and strive to bring their vision to life through that expression. Creators believe that if you imagine it, it can be created but are often stifled by their own desire for perfection.

iconic fox archetypes creator

The Creator Connection Strategy

To appeal to a creator you must celebrate the creative process while inspiring self-expression. Brands that provide the means or tools to express themselves creatively with freedom of choices would be well positioned with the Creator Archetype. Their communication should stir the desire for the creative process and inspire their customers to express their nature to the best of their ability. Creator brands leverage their audiences’ imagination and their desire to create and innovate.

The Creator Industries And Categories

Arts

Design

Information Technology

Marketing

Writing

The Creator Brand In Action – Lego

The Innocent Archetype

iconic fox archetypes innocent-1

The Innocent Personality

The innocent is a positive personality with an optimistic outlook on life. They crave safety but ultimately, they want themselves and everyone else to be happy.

They are honest and pure and have no ill-will towards anybody. They don’t hold grudges and believe everyone has the divine right to be who they truly are.

They see beauty in everyone and have a knack to see inner beauty that others don’t.

iconic fox archetypes innocent-2

The Innocent Connection Strategy

To appeal to an innocent, you need to earn their trust with simple, honest and most importantly, positive communication. Negative or guilt based communication is a complete turnoff. They need to associate your brand with safety and will feel a connection when their inner beauty is recognised.

The Innocent Industries And Categories

Beauty & Skin Products

Organic

Cleaning

Fresh Food

(Anything you put in or on the body)

The Innocent Brand In Action – Dove

The Sage Archetype

iconic fox archetypes sage

The Sage Personality

The Sage is a seeker of truth, knowledge and wisdom. Their drive comes from the desire to not only understand the world, but to then share that understanding with others. They are life-long learners and enjoy expressing their knowledge with philosophical conversations. They are more likely to pass on their wisdom to someone who can use it to change the world, rather than change the world with it themselves.

iconic fox archetypes sage

The Sage Connection Strategy

To appeal to a sage you need to pay homage to their intelligence as you communicate. Higher level vocabulary with layered or philosophical meaning will be acknowledged and appreciated while over simplified or dumbed down messages will not. They expect factual and well-researched information, which should be watertight to avoid challenges.

The Sage Industries And Categories

Media and News Networks

Schools and Universities

Educational Businesses

Consultancies

Search Engines (Google, Bing)

The Sage Brand In Action – Google

The Explorer Archetype

iconic fox archetypes explorer-1

The Explorer Personality

The explorer has a palpable inner drive to push themselves outside their comfort and conformity of everyday life; into the rugged environment they feel at home in. They are brave, adventurous and love a challenge. The challenges are more about understanding themselves more than proving to others and they are on an everlasting journey of discovery.

iconic fox archetypes explorer-2

The Explorer Connection Strategy

To appeal to an explorer, you need to challenge them. Challenging the confines of modern life will also allow you to resonate with them quickly. You should promote the outdoors and the unknown as the land of the free and challenge them to explore it, with your brand of course. Modern society is the common enemy in which many explorers live. A stand against such conforms can go a long way to resonating with the explorer and evoking their desires.

The Explorer Industries And Categories

Extreme Sports

Outdoor Equipment

Automotive (SUV Category)

Adventure Travel

The Explorer Brand In Action – The North Face

Archetype Branding is Chess, Not Checkers… A Differentiation Strategy Is Key

Without a doubt, you recognise these archetypes or more specifically their personalities. But how do you choose which one to apply to your brand?

Your industry will often have a typical personality that your audience would expect. The healthcare sector would be The Caregiver as an example.

Although differentiation is key to a strategic brand (here are 10 ways to differentiate), communication to would-be healthcare customers, as an Outlaw or a Jester wouldn’t go down well would it?

This is where the Archetypal Mix comes in.

You need a core archetype that will represent a minimum of 70% of your brand personality (any less, your personality will be confusing and you’ll struggle to connect with your audience through familiarity).

The other 30% is your influencer archetype, which is left to spend on differentiation. But don’t let this 30% burn a hole in your pocket. Use it when you must and spend it wisely.

archetypal mix

Your core archetype may need to be aligned with your industry archetype (depending on your sector). If so, you need to get creative with your remaining 30%.

If you can go against the grain of your industry with your core archetype (eg. if you’re not a Caregiver in the Health space etc), you have an opportunity to make some real noise in your sector.

Remember, you want to differentiate your brand not blend in. If you’re just going to jump into a flock of flamingos with pink feathers then we won’t be able to see you will we?

flamingo flock differentiate

When The Outlaw Became The Creator

It’s possible for a brand to break through to their audience as one archetype but to develop a closer alignment to another as it evolves.

Apple is a perfect example of a brand breaking through with one and developing with another.

In 1984, Microsoft dominated the personal computer market. They were very much then, and still remain, a “Ruler” brand.

Apple came to the market with their anti-regime “1984” ad, and with it, a message to the world that they were “The Outlaw” that wanted to right the wrongs of their industry.

Apple ran many more “Outlaw” campaigns, including the hugely successful “I’m a Mac vs I’m a PC”, which signified who best represented their audience; Younger users that wanted more choice and had creative tendencies. This piece by referral candy outline how Apple continue to break the mould.

In 1997, Steve Jobs inspired Apples’ “Think Different” campaign, which celebrated Icons that had changed the world, including creative geniuses such as Bob Dylan, Thomas Eddison and Pablo Picasso.

Apple aligned themselves with creatives, encouraged their audience to “Change the World” through their creativity, and provided a tool of self-expression to do so, and so the became a “Creator” brand.

Here, Neil Patel dives into what we can learn from Apple’s Marketing.

Archetypes Are Masters At Evoking Your Desires

Archetypes in branding are not simply about mirroring the personality of your audience.

It’s about identifying the desire that you want your brand to evoke and using that desire to define your personality.

So before defining your archetype based purely on your audiences’ personality, consider the primary motivation and the desire you want your archetype to evoke, and develop your brand archetype with that desire at the core. Emotion in branding, as always, is the key.

Brand archetypes speak to your customer’s primary motivations which are often emotionally charged.

Emotional connection with Brands

Knowing what you want to mean to your audience is key to taking that position in their mind. Here are some of the most common positional approaches.

  • We are the same:
    Your personality reassures your audience that they are the same as you. You provide a sense of belonging and togetherness.

  • You can be me:
    Your personality represents everything your audience aspires to be. Through the alignment of your brand your audience feel like they have arrived at their idea of success.

  • I can guide you:
    Your personality represents safety, like a lighthouse in a stormy sea. You need to acknowledge the predicament but reassure them you know the path to safety. You are trustworthy and steadfast.

  • You can be great:
    Your personality inspires your audience to believe in themselves so they can achieve what they want in life. Your communication and personality is motivating.

Great, But How Do I Apply This To My Brand?

Simply developing a brand personality with the Archetypal framework will put you streets ahead of your competition.

Once you have your Archetype in place, you need to flesh it out before applying it to your brand visuals and communication.

  1. Using the characteristics of your brand archetype, define its opinions on issues related to your market and the wider industry.

  2. Using keywords, identify its attitude towards life.

  3. Adopt a tone of voice and writing style that captures these opinions and attitudes.

  4. Identify the vocabulary that your brand will use keeping the desires your brand is evoking in mind.

  5. Expand your vocabulary with synonyms and capture this in your brand guidelines.

  6. Adapt your brand visuals, colours, typography and images to represent this personality visually.

  7. Apply your vocabulary, opinions, attitudes and tone of voice to all of your brand communication.

Remember, as with a story, the more detail there is in your brand personality, the more vivid and memorable it will be.

Develop your personality on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains in line with who your audience is and the desires it is working to evoke.

When your brand look, feel, tone, attitude, opinions and vocabulary are aligned and are all working together to evoke the desires it satisfies, you will have a brand with a humanistic and memorable personality that your audience will find easy to care for.

Download The Brand Archetype Framework Checklist

Brands that make emotional connections with their audience have personality built on an archetypal framework. Follow these four steps to help your brand find out who it is.

BRAND ARCHETYPE CHECKLIST

We all connect with personalities,
not features or benefits
Follow the 4-Step Process to give your brand a personality with opinions and attitude that your audience will remember.
Download
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Once Your Character is Defined… Your Story Begins

Once you have an archetype in place, you now have the foundation and character for a brand story.

Aristotle knew a thing or two and he reckoned human beings are hardwired for story.

aristotle brand storytelling

The science of Neural Coupling backs that up (This Ted video on Neural Coupling and storytelling by Uri Hasson is an absolute eye-opener). It turns out we are 22 times more likely to remember a story than fact. Although that’s enlightening, something about it doesn’t feel surprising.

neural coupling storytelling

This is because story activates a much deeper part of the brain than simple fact sharing. More than that, our brainwaves when listening to a story, match the brainwaves of the storyteller. The term “we’re on the same wavelength” was made for storytelling.

brain patterns storytelling

Archetypes are about your brand knowing who it is and being able to communicate with a consistent personality and tone of voice as a character in the life of your audience.

But what is a character without a story?

If you describe Indiana Jones to someone, they might seem interested in his character, but if you read them “The Temple of Doom”, you’ll take them on a journey where they’ll fall in love with the character.

People don’t want information; they want to be taken on a journey.

So, as you develop your archetypal brand character, you can begin to weave a story around it.

  • Where did it come from?
  • Where is it going?
  • What will happen along the way?

Use this detail to build your brand character, personality and story. Add to it as you go and tell chapters of the story along the way.

Where your character takes your audience is entirely up to you.

temple of doom explorer archetype

Conclusion

Brand archetypes are not a new concept but they are an underutilised one, especially in the smaller business space.

That’s refreshing to know. Not much is underutilised these days.

With so much noise in any market, it is only brands that connect on a human level that garner any kind of affection.

There is no better way to connect on a human level than with a human personality and there’s no better way to develop a human personality than using an archetypal framework developed to evoke human desires.

Brand Archetypes are a tool that can help you differentiate your brand, give it a depth of personality and use it to truly connect with your audience so they begin to feel something for you.

An effective Brand Story is intriguing and an opportunity to be truly authentic.

If your brand is lacking direction, identity or human connection with your audience then it’s not appealing to their desires.

Identify what it is you want your audience to feel, map the archetype that will appeal best and develop a real personality to give your brand conviction.

Make sure you know who your brand is, what it stands for and where it’s going.

Brands that know where they’re going, inspire people to follow.

Over To You

If you’ve gotten all the way through this article, then congratulations. You’re now armed with some powerful knowledge to help you build a brand with emotional connection.

Now it’s over to you.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

How are you connecting with your audience?

Where do you stand on branding with emotion through personality?

2018-09-12T23:02:18+00:00 By |

About the Author:

Stephen is a passionate Brand Creator and Founder of Iconic Fox Brand Agency. With a background in both financial markets and design, he is well positioned on brand strategy and creative and is passionate about both. Stephen has been featured on Marketo, Hubspot, Inside Small Business, Creative Bloq and more for his expertise on brand strategy and creative. He's also a friendly chap so if there's something you want to know about brand, he'd be happy to get into it with you

20 Comments

  1. Kirsten Back May 30, 2018 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Thanks for leaving the link on my blog. This is a well researched, written and totally inspiring article. Thank you! I’m looking forward to diving into this topic a lot more.

  2. Romario Eichlig June 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    As writer and content creator myself, I need to congratulate you for this awesome piece of writing.

    Great work, Stephen. I expect to see more form you.

  3. Robert Chew June 5, 2018 at 5:07 am - Reply

    Well done, Stephen! I enjoyed reading your article. Looking forward to more outstanding stuff.

  4. Favour June 5, 2018 at 7:47 am - Reply

    The huge deluge of knowledge you shared here is mind-blowing.

    Thanks Stephen.

    • Stephen Houraghan June 5, 2018 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it… Many weeks of research but a topic that deserves a bit of coverage. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Quite a chunk of information.

  5. Reza Gharaei June 5, 2018 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Well done Stephen! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  6. Valerie June 9, 2018 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    Hi Stephen. This is truly beautifully presented and the theory makes sense, but when I look at the imagery, it’s kind of striking that while you’re talking about stereotypes and archetypes, you link the female imagery to passive, stereotypical roles. That seems confining to me as a marketer and consumer — I relate to the hero and joker and the explorer, and if brands use iconography that’s relatable to all consumers, versus expecting the Wonder Women and the Betty Whites and the Lara Crofts out there (or the men who are carers like doctors and devoted sons and lovers like Mr. Darcy and Lancelot) to identify with defaults, that’s a missed opportunity. It would be great if you could integrate some gender mix of both types in the imagery to remind brands to go outside the box and remember this. Just a thought. Again, this is visually fantastic!

    • Stephen Houraghan June 18, 2018 at 8:01 am - Reply

      Hi Valerie – Thanks for your input, glad you enjoyed it. I would say the visuals presented were representative more of the iconic brands the fall within those archetypes more so than individual male or female characters. In the Hero infographic, the visuals are represented by a fire fighter, though in the Nike examples, a woman represents the hero. The greats brands are the masters of the Archetype

  7. Djuana Stoakley June 12, 2018 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Fantastic article! Very clear description of how archetypes apply to today’s brands. Love the addition of color palette examples.

  8. don bates June 13, 2018 at 1:58 am - Reply

    This is an amazingly, thrillingly inspirational guide for anyone who wants to make things happen with words, images, ideas and insights. I recommend that everyone in the communication professions watch it before they sit down to create a proposal or campaign or message to move people to better things. Bravo Stephen Houraghan..

    Don Bates
    PR/marketing writing instructor
    New York University

    • Stephen Houraghan June 13, 2018 at 4:19 am - Reply

      Thank you very much for your kind words Don. It means a lot coming from someone of your stature and experience.

  9. Drew Geldart June 13, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Great piece of writing. Often writers shy away from going deep and really getting into the dirty work of demonstrating examples in detail and providing decent How To guides. Well done. You have a finance background though I didn’t see financial institutions come up in your list of sector alignments for each archetype. Which archetype do you see FI’s commonly using and do you have an example of an outlier FI that has done it well?

    Thanks
    Drew

    • Stephen Houraghan June 18, 2018 at 7:52 am - Reply

      Hi Drew, thanks for your feedback. I find when I read, examples help me put the pieces together because of the context so obviously I’m not the only one. It’s a good question. When it comes to money, and people outlaying their hard-earned dollars, trust is the cornerstone of the relationships. They want a steady ship so for me, The Sage has to be the main consideration for the core Archetype. Individually, once the personality meets the minimum expectations of the audience, a brand can look to differentiate. Virgin Money (more so because of their parent brand and founding father Richard Branson) are seen as an Outlaw because they challenge the status quo of the industry. From memory, ING did this well when they arrived on the scene. Your priority needs to be trust. After that, the position you want to take (and who your audience is) should influence your differentiator.

  10. Peter Vianden June 15, 2018 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Thanks a lot Stephen, for this amazing elaboration. It’s not only fun to read and watch, it’s the evidence and the insights that kept me reading. Thanks for creating and sharing this. Appreciated!

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