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Breaking Down the 12 Brand Archetypes: Which One Fits Your Business?

Brand Archetypes

Brand Archetypes.

Which brand archetype could describe your company?

Do you feel it is like a hero, a creator, or a magician?

Archetypes are character traits that psychologists and scriptwriters use to describe patients or create more relatable characters that people love and relate to. 

Now, brands and companies also use these characteristics to differentiate their brands from others and not be perceived as another plain brand within a bunch of competitors.

Using an archetype defines a set of concrete characteristics that describe your brand personality so you can implement them in your overall marketing strategy, branding, and brand voice.

Every famous brand around the world may fall into the 12 brand archetypes. In this article, we will explain each of them, with examples of brands that embody this set of characteristics and how you can apply them to your brand depending on which resonates most with your company's identity.

Ready to find it out?

Let's get right into it!

What is an Archetype?

Before going into the business world, we should describe the term "archetype" as it has its routes in psychology.

Archetypes are a set of personalities that almost all humans can relate to or understand. They come from centuries of storytelling, where characters from different cultures worldwide always have the same characteristics. We have the archetype of "The Hero," the feeling that is trustworthy and fights for what is right; we have the shadow, or the rebel, a character that goes a little bit outside the law to accomplish their well-intentioned goals on the female side we have "The Mother," the one that protects and gives everything for their children; or "The Seducer," a character that is so unreachable and that enchants everybody with her looks and sensuality.

The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung introduced this theory to help patients identify which archetypes they were incarnating to understand themselves better.

Now, in a more business environment, you can also pick these traits and implement them in your brand, creating a deeper personality that seems more relatable and that everybody can understand on a "subconscious level."

Without disregarding the psychological aspect of business, taking time to understand your brand archetype can help you know who you are as a brand. You can be a digital agency, and that's it, a plain one, one out of the many in existence. Instead, suppose you feel you are a "Ruler" agency. In that case, it shows traits of superiority and competitivity, which gives a set of characteristics that can help you be a unique option for customers.

With all this introduction in mind, we can check out the 12 brand archetypes to see which fixes your brand better.

The 12 Brand Archetypes: Which one is yours?

This group of 12 personalities comes from Jung's theory but is adapted to a more straightforward business model. If you have been wondering what could make your brand unique, check them out to see which resonates most with your brand's personality.

The Creator.

The first personality, the creator, is the one that goes hand in hand with innovation and going beyond boundaries. Creator brands offer a product or service, which will be the tool customers will use to expand their creative sense in every direction they want. 

They want to empower users to think out of the box and express their creativity with the tools and services they give. A creator brand acts upon the need for innovation and reinterpretation.

  • Desire: Innovation, self-expression
  • Ideal Industries: Arts and design, information technology, marketing
  • Examples of brands with the Creative Archetype are Adobe, LEGO, Pinterest, Apple, Go Pro

Brand Archetype: The Creator.

Brand Archetype: The Creator.

How to Apply the Creator Archetype in Your Brand?

Suppose your ideal archetype is that of the creator. In that case, you are dealing with an audience that doesn't want traditional marketing but rather something that makes them feel like your brand will help them expand their creativity even further.

Creativity is freedom, expression of a range of feelings, and, of course, surprise.

You must exalt the creative capacity of your product or service in addition to providing users with handling that is intuitive and easy to get used to.

As an example, we can take graphic designers who, once they "marry" a design program, never abandon it again since they are already accustomed to its manageability.

In this case, if you want to continue engaging with them, you can add new assets that enhance the creative potential but only minor modifications to what has already been working. A wrong software update can cause a loyal customer to abandon you for another one that is easier to use.

The Sage

Jung called it "senex", which means old man in latin, but what is this archetype about?

The sage is an archetype that talks about a brand personality that seeks knowledge and wisdom and believes in its core that truth will set us free. These brands are highly motivated by cognitive fulfillment, independence, and truth. People behind these brands can be considered lifelong learners and thought leaders, but when taking a brand, they like to act more like a mentor. 

A sage brand doesn't look to change the world by itself but instead prefers to give the power to others to do so by seeking valuable information and sharing it.

  • Desire: Find the Truth, liberation
  • Ideal Industries: Media/news networks, universities, research foundations
  • Examples of Brands with the Sage archetype: Harvard, TED, Google, BBC, Discovery Channel, The Times

How to Apply the Sage Archetype in Your Brand?

In this case, your audience is quite different from creatives. Here, consumers want to expand their knowledge further, not based on the basics, but on the specialized.

Being an audience in search of more high-quality knowledge, it is with them that you can have the luxury of speaking with a more extensive vocabulary and specialized terminology.

Even so, there may be people who are not "scientists" or specialists in a topic but still want to learn, so it is also good that you are somewhat approachable.

Share essential data with truthful facts, but if you can avoid sounding super bombastic, you can expand your audience a little more.

The Caregiver

The Caregiver archetype is one that we can associate with the Mother one. Brands in this style consider themselves altruists, meaning their ultimate goal is to make others feel safe and secure and defend those less fortunate.

Among some of its goals, this archetype seeks to provide reassurance, service, advice, listening, and an open heart to support the welfare of others. 

  • Desire: Care, protect and nurture
  • Ideal industries: Healthcare, education, hospitals, non-profits
  • Examples of Brands with the Caregiver archetype: Pampers, Unicef, Johnson & Johnson, NHS

Brand Archetype: The Caregiver.

Brand Archetype: The Caregiver.

How to Apply the Caregiver Archetype in Your Brand?

Regarding caregivers, your audience goes between two extremes: first, those who need help with daily tasks or raising their children, and on the other hand, those who are in urgent need.

The messages for both are different, but in the end, the most important thing is that they feel you have their back.

In your brand's packaging, branding, and message, they should feel as if they are talking to "a maternal or paternal figure." It would help if you made them feel that they, as customers, are the most important thing.

Emotional elements are essential to be able to better connect with your audience.

The Innocent

The innocent is this archetype that seeks to transmit peace and joy without complications; brands that choose this characteristic aim to provide comfort outside debates or conflicts. They are a brand that encourages you and has the philosophy of always seeing the glass half full. These brands rely on honesty, good virtues, and simplicity rather than innovation. This archetype can often appeal to nostalgia to connect with better times.

  • Desire: Love, peace, and happiness
  • Ideal Industries: Skincare/beauty, natural/organic products
  • Examples of Brands with the Innocent archetype are Ivory, Dove, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen

Brand Archetype: The Innocent.

Brand Archetype: The Innocent.

How to Apply the Innocent Archetype in Your Brand?

If this is the right archetype for your brand, then the first thing you should do is put honesty at the forefront of your communication. But we are not talking about "constructive" honesty, as if you would judge your clients and give "honest" opinions about their looks or work. We are referring to a type of friendly honesty with a positive message.

These clients look for good, straight-to-the-point service from you, nothing pretentious or complicated jargon. Bring them easy solutions.

The Jester

If your brand is Jester, it's easy to describe it as the life of the party.

However, this goes far beyond jokes and good times. A brand associated with the Jester seeks to shed light in dark times. It's that friend who makes you smile when you've had a bad day and helps you get rid of all the chaos of work and everyday life.

Going to a more social side, jester brands are also those that, fulfilling the role of "jester," mock or make fun of brands or people in power, making jokes about the ironies and incongruities in those social spheres.

This is perhaps why many people empathize with the Jester since they feel both are on the same level.

  • Desire: Enjoy life and have fun
  • Ideal industries: entertainment, beverage brands, confectionery
  • Examples of Brands with the Jester archetype: Nickelodeon, M&Ms, Geico, Old Spice, Budweiser

How to Apply the Jester Archetype in Your Brand?

If the jester is your ideal archetype, you have two ways to approach it, but we assure you that it is one of the most fun to wear.

If your brand has the spark to promote itself through comedy timing, rest assured that people will connect positively with you. We all like to laugh, and sometimes, commercials with a good comedic hook stay much longer in people's memories than others that only have a commercial and solemn approach.

On the one hand, this archetype goes well with everything related to entertainment, so your idea will always be to convey a good mood to your audience.

On the other hand, you can take the most rebellious side of comedy and make fun of figures of power and even the brand itself. Laughing at yourself is a symbol of security in the brand since the brand knows how to deal with "its failures" without hiding them but using them as an enhancer.

The Magician

Magicians are these brands that seek to provide a new experience. They want to give something unique to their audience, to create experiences that will forever remain etched in their memory. In this case, they seek to gather all the knowledge they can, but instead of sharing it with their audience so that they can expand it, they keep it to themselves and then give their consumers something that impresses them. 

On the other hand, with such deep knowledge of topics, magicians can also be trusted advisors, which moves them to a more professional field.

  • Desire: Make dreams come true
  • Ideal Industries: Beauty, entertainment, relaxation, health, and wellness
  • Examples of Brands with the Magician archetype: Disney

 How to Apply the Magician Archetype in Your Brand?

The Magician moves quite well in two poles that can be seen as opposite: advice and entertainment experiences.

On the one hand, let's touch on the issue of advice. You see, nowadays, it is quite popular to see all these gurus or professionals in their area offering courses that will "magically" take viewers from a deplorable situation to direct success.

Although some magicians may be smoke peddlers, there is no doubt that there are actual "professional magicians" who give their clients the necessary tools to get from point A to point B in a realistic and achievable way.

The Magician, in this case, is the mark that has the answers that the other needs to improve their situation.

On the other hand, in entertainment, magic can be expressed in these experiences that change people's lives. But not extreme adventures; we are talking more about fun experiences like a resort, a hotel, an amusement park, or any other. In the same way, these businesses take the viewer out of their everyday routine and take them to a magical place where everything stops for a moment.

The Ruler

The Ruler company is all about power and control. Rather than being a competitor, this type of business sets itself as a top one. Now, this higher position is something the company earned through hard work and leadership; they don't take it by conquest. Rulers must demonstrate their expertise and develop strong leadership skills to achieve this goal. Great confidence, trustworthiness, and stable personalities are some of their most common traits.

Being at the top, these companies will defend their position no matter what.

  • Desire: Power
  • Ideal industries: Finance, luxury products, hotels, formal wear
  • Examples of Brands with the Ruler archetype are Microsoft, Rolls Royce, Rolex,

How to Apply the Ruler Archetype in Your Brand?

As a Ruler brand, your goal is to make your customers feel welcome to "the court" or royalty of your brand. These types of brands seek to stand out with the luxurious quality of their products and services and sell their audience the idea of power through their products.

Having a Gucci or a Rolex gives a plus to anyone who wears it; it makes them look powerful and confident.

As a brand, you must sell that aspirational image that many people want to reach.

The Hero

The Hero brand seeks to inspire its consumers by triumphing good over evil. For this, these brands are greatly inspired by figures or role models in which buyers can project themselves. When brands like Nike or Adidas look for Messi or Cristiano, the message that reaches consumers is that they, too, could be like their heroes by purchasing these items.

The Hero model is based a lot on hard work; as a result, everyone can become as great as the heroes they admire.

  • Desire: Inspire
  • Ideal Industries: Sports apparel, sports equipment
  • Examples of Brands with the Hero archetype are Nike, Adidas, Gatorade, FedEx

How to Apply the Hero Archetype in Your Brand?

Nike's slogan summarizes the core idea of what you should do as a Hero brand. In the campaign "Just Do It," the brand wants to inspire people to take action on their goals. They always show tired and sweaty people fighting to the limit to reach that ultimate goal, of course, with Nike's shoes.

The idea of marketing to this audience is to inspire them to be their best selves constantly. This is why using high athletes and successful people shows people that they could also be like them.

The Everyman

The Everyman is the most relatable archetype since this brand rejects any pretension and prefers to communicate with its audience closely, as equals. An Everyman brand will seek to include the entire community, ensuring that everyone can belong in a safe place. We usually associate it with these companies that sell a little bit of everything at a reasonable price, like 7/11 or Walmart. These brands do not seek to stand out, but their philosophy of remaining more relatable makes them more comfortable for people.

The downside of this archetype is that you need to generate a sense of community and comfort with your brand, so, like every man, you could easily be discarded or forgotten.

  • Desire: Connection with others
  • Ideal Industries: Home/family life, comfort foods, daily apparel
  • Examples of Brands with the Everyman archetype are Target, Gap, eBay, Walmart, Ikea

How to Apply the Everyman Archetype in Your Brand?

With this archetype, the approach you want to adopt is a more relaxed one, or in its best case, something down to earth. Society constantly pushes everyone to be their best version; if you don't believe us, ask the ruler and the hero.

With this approach, the best thing you can do is accept all your users as they are since they need a comfortable place to access. Visualize the image of a user going to a convenience store in pajamas; no one inside judges him. This feeling is what you should convey: a comfortable space to be.

Although in this type of business, we do not recommend the typical message of "we are better than these," what can help you stay competitive is to offer the highest quality services at more affordable prices.

The Rebel

The Rebel is a figure many admire due to its ability to go against the status quo.

In a brand scene, this doesn't go with going against the system or being anarchist but more with the feeling of breaking the paradigms of its niche and going beyond what others don't dare to do.

The Rebel, also known as the Outlaw, is happy to take risks to create something unique and inspiring. They perceive themselves as free thinkers. They don't seek to adapt to trends and fashions and often make a cult-likesome following, inspiring extreme brand loyalty amongst a more petite and closer audience.

  • Desire: Liberation, Revolution
  • Ideal Industries: Body art, automobile, alternative clothing
  • Examples of Brands with the Outlaw Archetype are Harley Davidson, MTV, Uber, Diesel

How to Apply the Rebel Archetype in Your Brand?

As a Rebel brand, you must show people that you are a real outlaw, which means going against authority, conformity, and, among all things, the ultimate enemy, the mainstream. Adding some spice to your marketing strategies and avoiding standard campaigns is always good. Avoid formal language at all costs; instead, add some attitude. Make your brand look like a rock star with power, adrenaline, and style.

The Explorer

Explorers and Rebels are similar but with different approaches.

An explorer is not conformist and always wants to go beyond their boundaries. Nonetheless, they do not want to go "against the system"; instead, they want to go beyond the horizon to find new adventures and experiences and reach new goals. We can describe them as brave and bold brands continuously searching for the new challenge.

  • Desire: Freedom
  • Deal industries: 4x4 Automobiles, adventure travel, outdoor apparel, and camping equipment
  • Brands: NASA, Jeep, The North Face, Subaru, National Geographic

How to Apply the Explorer Archetype in Your Brand?

When we talk about consumers of exploratory brands, the ideal prototype is a person who hates being locked up in their house and begs to go outside and see the whole world. These people hate the status quo and office life. However, their idea is not to go against it but to find an escape from monotony.

That is why your brand must encourage them to go in search of that new adventure and let them know that with the help of your products or services, they will be able to visit all these places with the necessary dose of adrenaline and excitement but still be safe.

The Lover

Brands that consider themselves Lovers point to this passionate emotion that moves the world in many ways. Your primary motivation is desire, and your goal is to be more appealing to your audience.

The topic of love can cover all social relationships, ranging from family, friendship, and couples. In this aspect, brands aim to make these relationships more solid, generating this feeling of peace and harmony that comes with love.

Also, this brand can go for a "sensual" vibe without going over the edge of the obscene by seducing its audience. A clear example of this is how perfume brands grab gorgeous celebrities to attract their audience, and thus, in the same way as the Hero does, generate a desire for admiration in the audience.

  • Desire: Connection and Intimacy
  • Ideal Industries: Fragrance, cosmetics, wine, luxury food, and travel
  • Brands: Victoria’s Secret, Godiva, Anne Summers, Alfa Romeo, Chanel

Brand Archetype: The Lover.

How to Apply the Lover Archetype in Your Brand?

With a Lover archetype, your goal is to either give love to your audience or that they wish to give love to you.

On the other hand, if you aim to improve overall relationships, your idea should be to give compelling, empathetic, and tender messages to your audience. For example, if you are a resort, give them a warm welcome and offer an experience that makes them feel at home. Aim for delivering experiences that will make them have a good time.

On the other hand, more on the perfumes and cosmetics aspects, the idea is to show precious people. A somehow unachievable standard, like Angelina Jolie, shows your products as the key to achieving this hypnotic and beautiful look. As you set high standards, people can look up to your brand as platonic love, making it more attractive.

Final Thoughts

Choosing an archetype that is more in line with your mission and vision as a brand gives you guidelines to create a much more solid personality and, above all, one that your audience can connect with.

With these twelve options, you can evaluate with your team which ones are most similar to you or which ones are different from your competition to differentiate yourself from them once and for all.

Ultimately, this psychological tool can help you understand your brand in greater depth, how it behaves, and why it does things.

With these bases, you can have an appropriate branding and strategy to help you better meet your professional goals.

If you want more advice on digital businesses or are looking for a way to boost your digital marketing strategies, our team of professionals will be happy to help you. Contact us!

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions 

How can identifying my business's brand archetype improve my marketing strategy?

Identifying your business's brand archetype is a fundamental step in crafting a marketing strategy that resonates deeply with your audience. This process allows you to tailor your messaging, visuals, and overall brand persona in a way that aligns with universal themes and psychological patterns. By adopting a clear archetype, businesses can create more meaningful connections with their customers, fostering loyalty and differentiation in a crowded marketplace. For instance, a brand that successfully embodies the "Caregiver" archetype, like many of Codedesign's healthcare and wellness clients, taps into a deep-rooted desire among consumers for nurturing and support, thereby enhancing their market appeal and customer retention rates.

Are some brand archetypes more successful in specific industries than others?

Absolutely, certain brand archetypes naturally align with the expectations and values of specific industries. For example, the "Explorer" archetype, with its emphasis on freedom and adventure, is particularly effective in the travel and outdoor sectors. This alignment is not coincidental but rather stems from the archetype's core attributes resonating with the inherent desires and aspirations of the industry's target audience. Codedesign's success with travel and leisure clients can often be attributed to leveraging this archetype, helping these brands to stand out by appealing to the adventurers at heart.

Can a business embody more than one brand archetype?

While a business can exhibit traits from multiple archetypes, for clarity and effectiveness in marketing communications, it is generally recommended to prioritize one primary archetype. This focus ensures a consistent and coherent brand identity that customers can easily recognize and connect with. However, it's not uncommon for brands, especially those with a diverse range of products or services, to blend elements from a secondary archetype to enrich their brand narrative without diluting their core identity. Codedesign, for example, often advises clients to integrate complementary archetypes strategically, enhancing their appeal without compromising their primary brand essence.

How do I determine which brand archetype best fits my company?

Determining the most fitting brand archetype for your company involves a deep dive into your brand’s core values, mission, and the emotional experiences you aim to deliver to your customers. This process typically starts with an introspective analysis of what your brand stands for, followed by research into your target audience's preferences and values. Tools such as surveys, focus groups, and market analysis can provide invaluable insights into the psychological motivations that drive your customers. Codedesign frequently conducts comprehensive workshops and data analytics sessions to assist clients in uncovering the archetype that best embodies their brand ethos and resonates with their target demographics.

Can my business's brand archetype change over time?

Yes, a business's brand archetype can evolve over time in response to significant shifts in market dynamics, consumer expectations, or the brand's own strategic direction. This evolution, however, should be approached with caution and strategic foresight to ensure that changes reinforce the brand's identity and strengthen customer relationships rather than confusing or alienating the existing audience. Codedesign has guided brands through such transitions, ensuring that any evolution in archetype is purposeful, coherent, and aligned with the brand's long-term vision.

How do brand archetypes influence consumer perception and behavior?

Brand archetypes exert a profound influence on consumer perception and behavior by tapping into universal stories and characters that people are innately drawn to. This connection fosters a deeper emotional engagement with the brand, shaping consumer expectations and experiences. For instance, a brand that effectively embodies the "Hero" archetype can inspire consumers to overcome challenges, implicitly associating the brand with qualities of strength and resilience. This psychological alignment not only enhances brand affinity but also motivates consumer behavior towards loyalty and advocacy, as evidenced by the positive outcomes seen by Codedesign’s clients who align their marketing strategies with their archetypical narratives.

What are the most common mistakes businesses make when applying their brand archetype to their marketing?

One of the most common mistakes businesses make is inconsistently applying their brand archetype across all marketing channels, leading to a disjointed brand experience. Another error is choosing an archetype based solely on industry trends rather than genuine alignment with the brand's core identity and values, which can result in inauthentic messaging that fails to resonate with the target audience. Additionally, failing to evolve the archetype's expression to keep pace with changing market conditions or audience expectations can render a brand's messaging obsolete. Codedesign emphasizes the importance of consistency, authenticity, and adaptability in archetype-based marketing to avoid these pitfalls.

How do I align my branding and marketing materials with my chosen archetype?

Aligning your branding and marketing materials with your chosen archetype involves a comprehensive strategy that encompasses visual design, tone of voice, messaging, and content. Each element should reflect the characteristics, values, and emotional tone of your archetype, creating a cohesive and immersive brand experience. For example, a brand adopting the "Creator" archetype should emphasize innovation and imagination in its visuals and messaging, inspiring customers to see themselves as co-creators or innovators. Codedesign works closely with clients to ensure that every touchpoint, from website design to social media content, is harmonized with the brand's archetypal identity, enhancing brand cohesion and recognition.

What's the relationship between brand archetypes and brand storytelling?

Brand archetypes and brand storytelling are intrinsically linked, as archetypes provide a foundational narrative framework that guides storytelling efforts. This framework offers universal themes and character traits that stories can be built upon, making brand narratives more relatable and emotionally compelling. For instance, a brand that identifies with the "Sage" archetype can weave stories that highlight wisdom, knowledge, and the pursuit of truth, resonating with consumers who value insight and enlightenment. Codedesign leverages this relationship to craft stories that not only entertain but also reinforce the brand's archetype, deepening the emotional and psychological connection with the audience.

How can small businesses leverage their brand archetype to compete with larger corporations?

Small businesses can leverage their brand archetype to carve out a unique niche and foster a strong, loyal community by emphasizing their distinct brand personality and values that resonate on a personal level with consumers. By focusing on a well-defined archetype, small businesses can create highly targeted and emotionally engaging marketing strategies that larger corporations, with their broader target markets, may not be able to replicate as effectively. This strategic focus enables small businesses to stand out, offering consumers a clear and compelling reason to choose them over more generic alternatives. Codedesign has seen firsthand how small businesses can punch above their weight by harnessing the power of their brand archetype, using it to tell stories that appeal directly to the hearts and minds of their ideal customers.

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