As we outlined in last week’s post, archetypes are universal characters that have existed for thousands of years, tracing back to Ancient Greece.
The best known and most loved is The Hero; that courageous girl or boy who overcomes the odds to improve their world. Whether it’s David’s defeat of Goliath in the Bible or Katniss Everdeen’s triumph in the Hunger Games, The Hero has appeared in human stories for millennia.
The Magician is also instinctively familiar. Think of Merlin or Willy Wonka, that mysterious persona who can conjure up something from nothing; transforming ideas into reality, almost magically.
Archetypes are useful in branding because they help to create likeable and relatable personalities. In today’s oversupplied world, your brand personality is often your biggest competitive advantage. This is why giants such as Guinness, Nike and Innocent Drinks have consciously applied the theory of archetypes to express and grow their brands.
Understanding which archetype your brand represents can also give you clarity on the role you want to play in people’s lives and the story you want to tell about who you are and what you stand for.
In our work with clients we use dozens of different archetypes (using this incredible card deck and resource) but for simplicity’s sake we’re just going to focus on the core 12 in this series. Do you see your company in any of these descriptions?
ARE YOU A CREATOR BRAND?
Innovative and creative, Creator brands epitomize creative expression in all its forms. Often this manifests itself in giving their customers the tools they need create, reinvent and reinterpret.
ARE YOU A CAREGIVER BRAND?
Caregiver brands are motivated by nurturing and caring for others. They epitomise remaining calm in a crisis, friendship and optimism.
ARE YOU A RULER BRAND?
Infused with a sense of status and achievement, Ruler brands represent power and wealth. Their mission is the leadership of successful and prosperous communities.
ARE YOU A JESTER BRAND?
Boldly original and mischevious, a Jester brand’s purpose is to lower the tone and lighten the atmosphere. They combine wicked intellect with humour, to challenge convention in ways others brands cannot.
ARE YOU A CITIZEN BRAND?
Citizen brands are driven by fairness, integrity, belonging and responsibility to the community. They act as a peer, not as a leader and want everyone to feel equal.
ARE YOU A LOVER BRAND?
Lover brands embody beauty, rich sensory experiences and the good things in life. They celebrate the physical joys of being human, fostering intimacy and bliss.
ARE YOU A HERO BRAND?
The universal archetype of the Hero epitomises overcoming great challenges to improve the world. Hero brands celebrate strength, courage, goodness and triumph over adversity.
ARE YOU A REBEL BRAND?
Rebel brands are rule breakers. They challenge the status-quo, expose and overturn what isn’t working. Action-orientated, they bring a fresh perspectives, new outlooks and aspirational change.
ARE YOU A MAGICIAN BRAND?
Driven to understand the fundamental laws of the universe in order to improve people’s lives for the better, Magician brands are all about transformation. The way in which they transform ideas into reality can seem almost magical.
ARE YOU AN INNOCENT BRAND?
Innocent brands are eternal optimists, pure, virtuous and guileless. They desire to spread their optimism, to purify and simplify life. They believe paradise on earth is truly possible.
ARE YOU AN EXPLORER BRAND?
Explorer brands are innovative and ambitious. They seek out the new, pushing boundaries and delighting in unexpected discoveries, embracing a “no limit” philosophy.
ARE YOU A SAGE BRAND?
Sage brands are deep fonts of knowledge that others turn to for trusted advice, information and wisdom. Diligent researchers, they devour information in a discriminating way, wanting to seek and share the truth.
Did you identify with any of these characters?
Most businesses are actually a mix of different archetypes, or they embody just a few characteristics of two or three. This is not a prescriptive science! But it is an extremely useful brand positioning exercise to go through, to help you pinpoint who you are, why your customers might choose to work with you over the competition and how you can express your personality more authentically in all you do.
Please join me over the next few weeks as I introduce you to the core 12 archetypes in more detail and show you how to use them to develop a likeable brand personality and a distinctive tone of voice.
Sign up on the right and we’ll be sure to keep you updated. Not just on Archetypes but other creative ways to bottle your brilliance and build your brand.