What If You Haven’t Found Your Brand Archetype Yet? The Final Part Of Our Series

Brand personality archetypes

(This is the last installment of our brand archetypes series. Skip to the end to refresh your memory on all twelve archetypes)

Over the last few weeks we’ve been digging into the twelve core archetypes and sharing stories from the brands and businesses that have used them to make deeper connections with their customers.

As we said at the start, we love archetypes because they just work.

These twelve core characters can be traced as far back to Ancient Greece and found right across the globe. They are a part of the global consciousness, so when you use them in your branding it makes you feel instinctively and emotionally familiar.

Using archetypal branding helps your customers to make an instant connection with your brand personality and helps everyone who works with you to stay on-brand.

They give you a shared value system and common language. When you use them consciously they can help to build consistency, which is the cornerstone of brand positioning.

But this is not an exact or prescriptive science.

So if you have been following our archetypes series with a critical eye and wondering how one character can possibly sum your business up; the answer is that it can’t.

You are a collection of unique individuals, so you shouldn’t limit your brand personality to a choice of twelve.

We encourage you to develop your own unique brand values, personality and language but to use the archetypes as a starting point.

One strategy that has worked for our clients is to identify two archetypes that sum them up.

Perhaps you’re a natural born Creator with the wicked sense of humour of a Jester? Or an Explorer with the idealistic hope of the Innocent? Or a Magician with the confidence and authority of a Ruler?

Or perhaps you’re an archetype unique to itself? If you’re not sure, we’d love to help you uncover it and find new, interesting and unique ways of expressing it in all you do.

Here are those twelve core archetypes again for inspiration:

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.

Caregiver brands are motivated by nurturing and caring for others. They epitomize remaining calm in a crisis, friendship and optimism.

Infused with a sense of status and achievement, Ruler brands represent power and wealth. Their mission is the leadership of successful and prosperous communities.

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.

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.

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.

The universal archetype of the Hero epitomises overcoming great challenges to improve the world. Hero brands celebrate strength, courage, goodness and triumph over adversity.

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.

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.

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.

Explorer brands are innovative and ambitious. They seek out the new, pushing boundaries and delighting in unexpected discoveries, embracing a “no limit” philosophy.

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.

For further reading, we highly recommend…

  • The seminal book on the subject, Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson’s The Hero and The Outlaw: buy it from Amazon

  • Branding expert Neil Gains’s superb, highly visual series inspired by Mark and Pearson’s work on his ‘Inspector Insight’ blog. We owe him a substantial hat-tip for helping to kick-start the thinking for our own posts: Inspector Insight

  • This toolkit which covers 60 archetypes and comes with accompanying cards. It is a favourite Inkspiller brand workshop exercise: Archetypes in Branding

  • Taking Kaye Putnam’s ‘Brandality’ quiz which will help you discover which archetype you are, and provide you with some useful content on how to express it: Brandality

  • …And Cerries Mooney’s test, which is also designed to enable you to figure out your personal brand archetype: Cerries Moony

  • Sally Hogshead’s famous ‘Fascinate’ system has now been extended to brands with plenty of stories and tips on using your brand personality to fascinate customers: How to Fascinate




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