(Haven’t read out our introduction to the 12 core brand archetypes yet? It’s here)
The Hero - in his many guises as Warrior, Champion, Athlete or Soldier - is a dominant force across the legend and mythology of all ancient and modern cultures. He spans the ages from the demi-gods of ancient Greece right up to Batman, Superman and assorted other caped crusaders.
The inimitable Bonnie Tyler neatly sums up the archetype when she laments upon her quest for a perfect man:
“Where’s the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
And what’s he gotta be like, Bonnie?
“He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight!”
As Bonnie always told us the Hero celebrates strength, courage, goodness and triumph over adversity. This archetype tends to be adopted as a brand personality by brands whose focus is on enabling their customers to achieve, often within the realm of fitness or sport. The ‘enemy’ is often portrayed as laziness or weakness.
The Hero in a Nutshell
Mission: To prove worth through courageous or difficult action.
Values: Self-sacrifice. Courage. Strength. Stamina. Focus.
Personality attributes: Motivated. Self-confident. Determined. Direct. Disciplined.
Brand examples: Nike. British Army Reserves (TA). FedEx. Snickers. Gatorade.
Characters: Follow the link to our Pinterest Board of Hero characters from TV, film and literature.
How can we express our Hero archetype?
1) Be direct- use tough, short, punchy verbs and motivational, self-confident language.
2) Be concise, accurate and logical.
3) Speak to the ego of the customer, and build them up; they should feel that the brand resonates with them because they are a success.
How have other brands expressed this archetype?
Did you know that Nike was originally called ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’? They renamed themselves after the Greek goddess of victory in the late 1970s. Then a decade later, they coined their iconic ‘Just Do It’ strapline - a Hero’s war-cry if ever there was one!
Nike embody the ‘empowering to achieve’ mission of hero branding. Their campaigns consistently focus on the consumer as the hero of their own story, triumphing over the universally relatable enemy of their own laziness and being inspired to push themselves further and harder.
Their ‘Possibilities’ advert expresses this most strongly, as well as following a simplified form of the ‘hero’s journey’ myth. The characters all start off with modest sporting achievements like riding a bike or running a mile, and then go on to achieve outlandlish and unexpected feats such as riding an elephant.
(Click here to watch the ‘Possibilities’ advert.)
Nike is also famous for the links it creates with its athletes- starting with Michael Jordan and including football superstar Ronaldo and the England Rugby team. Just as the ancient warriors were worshiped for their physical prowess, Nike tap into our continuing societal admiration for the strength and discipline of the famous athlete by aligning their brand with them.
(For the Nike ‘success is earned’ ad, click here)
Not sure if your brand is a Hero? Don’t forget that your brand personality is probably a mix of two or three archetypes. We’ve been exploring them for a few weeks now and are going to be continuing the series over the next few. So do please 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.