There’s just something about great brands that foster an affinity for them. But it’s tough to figure out exactly what it is that makes them so, well, memorable.
Is it great copy? Yeah, that’s part of it for sure.
What about eye-catching logos and colors? Hmm, I suppose that has something to do with it.
But ultimately, there’s something behind these attributes that pull it all together, resulting in a memorable, influential brand.
Okay, how do you give something nebulous like brand a personality? If this is something you’re struggling with, brand archetypes can help.
Giving your brand a personality will help you build connections with your audience and foster loyalty with them for repeat revenue.
Let’s break it down.
Brand archetypes are ways of presenting a brand that gives it a personality. Your brand archetype represents patterns of ideas, values, behaviors, messages, and consistent ways of thinking.
Brand archetypes give your company a persona, making it more relatable to your audience.
Look, you don’t (and can’t) be all the things to all the people.
The primary benefit of using a brand archetype is that it enables you to pick your best lane, stay in it, and win the race.
Choosing from one of the 12 brand archetypes helps you maintain consistency across all marketing channels. In addition, you can communicate your unique personality and values through a consistent brand archetype.
Using a brand archetype to build an influential brand with staying power keeps you from falling into the trap of trying to be someone else — someone you’re not.
You can stay true to who you are and remain in your zone of genius when you harness the power of the brand archetype.
The Innocent is all about Happiness. They strive to be good, could be naive, and companies with strong values that are reliable are a good match for this archetype.
Some examples are Dove and, Coca Cola.
The Sage is all about intelligence. They are a trusted source, can be opinionated, and help people better understand the world with practical information.
Some examples are Google and PBS.
The Explorer is all about exploration. They are adventurous, might not fit into the mainstream, and are big risk-takers.
Some examples would be Red Bull and Jeep.
The Outlaw is all about breaking rules. They are rebellious and wild, known to take it too far sometimes, and are change agents.
Some examples are Virgin and Harley Davidson.
The Magician is all about Imagination. They make dreams come true, are imaginative, could take risks that lead to bad outcomes, and help people transform their world.
Some examples are Disney, The Wizard of Oz, and Dyson.
The Hero is all about Mastery. They improve the world, are courageous, can be considered arrogant, and make a positive impact on the world.
Some examples are Nike, BMW, and Duracell
The Lover is all about Love. They create intimacy and inspire love, are very romantic, could be too selfless, and help people feel appreciated.
Some examples are Victorias Secret and Godiva.
The Jester is all about Joy. They bring joy to the world, have a sense of humor, could be seen as disrespectful, and help people be more impulsive and have a good time.
Some examples are Ben & Jerry’s and IKEA, and M&M’s.
The Everyman is all about Connection. They want to belong, are very down to earth, could lack distinct identity, and give others a sense of belonging.
Some examples are Target and Lynx.
The Caregiver is all about Caring. They are nurturing, sometimes can be taken advantage of, and help people care for others.
Some examples are Johnson & Johnson and Campbells.
The Ruler is all about Control. They like control, are very organized, can be authoritative, and help people become more stable and secure in a chaotic world.
Some examples are Rolex, Luis Vuitton, and Microsoft.
The Creator is all about Creation. They are artistic and entrepreneurial, could be a perfectionist, and help customers create with a faster imagination.
Some examples would be Crayola, Lego, and Apple.
Don’t overthink or over rationalize this exercise, it’s meant to give you an honest view of your strengths and understand your role in creating a deep connection with your target audience.
True, the relationship your business has with a customer is ultimately transactional. But with some companies, you probably feel a connection with them. You feel loyal. When you talk about this brand, maybe you even use the word love!
Think about the crazy loyalty Ford fans have and how straight-up angry they can get comparing their beloved Ford truck to a Chevy or Dodge vehicle.
Or Mac vs. Windows fanatics.
Without a doubt, I bet you’ve got some fond memories of a brand that you feel an intense loyalty toward. An alternative just won’t do.
There’s a science behind this that the most memorable and influential brands use to build a loyal customer base. It’s got to do with Jungian psychology and Greek myths. It was Carl Jung who initially coined the term archetype.
Humans run on basic desires. It’s the whole nurture vs. nature thing. Those base desires are nature in action, and no one taught us to want these things. They’re instinctual.
So why should you spend time trying to determine your brand archetype anyway? Because bottom line, everyone’s core desires will be different.
For example, one entrepreneur may value service and safety, while another may prefer freedom and innovation. You might value and want certain things, but it’s important to remember that some personalities and their unique characteristics, driven by their core desires, will be more appealing than others.
You’ve got to consider what values in the list above you most desire and how that can translate into a personality that would appeal to your target audience.
Archetypes are an effective vehicle for getting you from bland to BRAND. You use an archetype to personify your values and unique behaviors, so your business is more appealing to your target audience and the specific desires they have too.
There are two main reasons why you’d want to fit your brand under the broader umbrella of an archetype.
If that’s your jam, then you aren’t really standing out from your competitors. Your brand essentially becomes just another commodity. Picking from one of the brand archetypes and sticking with it will help you forge a deeper connection with your customers.
It’ll also help you stand out from the competition who’s too busy trying to compete on the typical Big Three.
This brings me to the next point.
There are an estimated 12 to 24 million online businesses in the world. More are established and added to Google each day. Every possible way you can think of to differentiate your company has been considered and executed.
But personalities, however, give you endless possibilities for differentiation.
Infusing your brand with a personality through an archetype makes it easier for you to stand out in a crowded marketplace and leave a memorable impression with members of your target audience.
Brand archetypes let you hack into your audience’s mind through storytelling, and the emotions stories evoke. In addition, archetypes help characterize universal behavior patterns that everyone understands subconsciously.
Through archetypes, you’ll recognize the behavior traits you see in yourself, your loved ones, and your customers. Even behaviors that you don’t necessarily have experience with will be recognizable because your subconscious recognizes them.
It could be your kind, caring mom acting like the stereotypical Caregiver archetype at Christmas dinner. Or your curmudgeonly uncle dropping conspiracy theories like the Outlaw on Facebook.
You might not immediately think of an archetypal character when you see certain behavior patterns and clusters. But you understand it because it feels familiar, and it’s instinctual.
You already know how to recognize and connect with people whose behaviors you resonate with and those you don’t resonate with so you can avoid them. So do the people in your target audience.
Because people understand archetypes subconsciously, it makes them the perfect tool for defining and positioning your brand, so it speaks to the people you most want to reach.
95% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. So you’ve got to hack your target customer’s subconscious to get them to buy! Archetypes make it much easier for you to do that.
Before you pick your brand archetype, don’t mix and match!
I say this a lot, but Imma say it again:
If you do that, you end up with a confusing brand that’s off putting for buyers.
You might be tempted to mix and match different characteristics from several brand archetypes, thinking you’ll end up with a Michelangelo masterpiece of a brand archetype.
But really, you’ll just end up with Frankenstein’s monster.
Give your brand sharp, defined edges and personality. Know who you are and who your audience is, so you can tightly define your brand archetype and resonate with the right people.
A brand archetype will represent your company and your target customer. The key is to figure out your ideal customer’s personality and then choose a brand archetype they’d find most appealing, and that speaks to an innate desire within them.
For example, let’s say your ideal customer is more of an Everyman archetype. But you want your unique brand to appeal to the Outlaw in them. In that case, you’d want to align your brand more with the Outlaw archetype to speak to the desire they have to be more rebellious and independent.
Chances are, your industry has a typical personality that target customers expect. For example, a healthcare company would most likely align with the Caregiver archetype.
True, differentiation is a crucial aspect to building an influential brand with staying power. But communicating with your target audience as the Jester or Magician archetype (if you’re a medical business) would probably go over like a lead balloon.
Okay, I’m gonna sound like I’m contradicting myself there. But stay with me. This is where an archetypical mix can come into play.
You need a core archetype to represent the majority of your personality. But you can also mix in an influencer archetype 9or secondary archetype) to cover the rest of your personality. Think a 70/30 spread.
The 30% that represents your influencer personality can help differentiate your brand from the competition.
For example, say your target audience expects a Caregiver brand personality. You can have 70% of your brand personality fit into that Caregiver archetype. But leave the rest, 30%, for differentiation. Maybe the Magician archetype or the Jester could work for you if you go with an archetypal mix.
It all depends on your business goals and what speaks the most to your customer.
I want to be crystal clear here. Brand archetypes aren’t for mirroring your audience member’s personality. Instead, brand archetypes are meant to evoke and speak to a specific desire your ideal customer has and use it to define your personality.
So yes, you need to consider your target buyer’s personality. But you also need to think about the primary motivation the target buyer has when they first come across your brand.
Often, that primary motivation is an emotionally charged one. And emotions are everything in branding.
Once you’ve chosen your core archetype and/or archetypal mix, you’ll want to fully flesh it out before investing in copy and visuals.
Once you’ve solidified precisely who your brand will be and how it will speak to people, apply your brand archetype to all of your brand communication going forward.
When it comes to brand archetypes, the more detail, the better.
Thinking of all the little things and how your brand personality would respond will bring it to life and make it more vivid and memorable. Giving your brand human characteristics makes it come alive with your target customer.
If you’ve been struggling with building a brand with influence, choosing an archetype will expedite the branding process and give you a blueprint for showing up and communicating with your customers.
There’s one thing all successful people have in common — it’s a bad azz mindset. If you want to become more competitive and stand out from the crowded online business world, you’ve got to take the bull by the horns and brand with conviction.
So, be bold and take chances. Choose a brand archetype that will give your business the sharp, defined edge it needs to stand head and shoulders above the internet noise.
We get it. You’re unique, passionate, and committed to excellence. But, translating all that awesomeness online? It can be overwhelming. That’s where our Branding with Influence Guide comes in. It’s a DIY powerhouse that helps you articulate your brand’s magic, making it as brilliant online as it is in real life.
Stand out, make an impact, and be unforgettable. Let’s make your brand shine!