A key ingredient in building an influential brand is to be memorable. 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.
What are brand archetypes?
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.
Using brand archetypes to build an emotive brand
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.
The science behind archetypes why they work
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.
These basic human desires match with one of the brand archetype examples:
Before we dive into the rest of the article, Download my PDF on the 12 Brand Archetypes now to see more detailed characteristics of each archetype and which ones most fit your brand and personality.
- Power — The Magician brand archetype
- Mastery — The Hero brand archetype
- Liberation — The Outlaw
- Intimacy — The Lover
- Belonging — The Everyman
- Enjoyment — The Jester
- Service — The Caregiver brand archetype
- Innovation — The Creator
- Control — The Rule
- Safety — The Innocent
- Freedom — The Explorer
- Understanding — The Sage
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.
How archetypes evoke emotions in the 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.
#1 reason to use a brand archetype: Connecting with your buyer
Most companies compete on one or all three of these characteristics:
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.
#2. Gives you an easier way to differentiate yourself
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.
Why are brand archetypes so compelling?
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:
You can’t be all the things to all the people all the time.
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.
Choosing a brand archetype: Strategy
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.
How to choose the right archetype for your brand and audience
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.
How to position your brand to fit with your archetype
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.
Here are some common ways to approach positioning with your target audience when it comes to brand archetypes:
- We’re the same — Your brand provides a sense of belonging and familiarity.
- You can be me — You evoke a feeling of success in your audience.
- I’ll guide you — Your brand is trustworthy, reassuring, and leads the audience safely to their destination.
- You’re gonna be great — You inspire your audience to achieve their goals and truly believe in themselves. Your brand is motivational and encouraging.
How to apply your personality and archetype to your business
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.
- Identify your brand archetype’s overall view of life and use keywords to communicate it in your copy.
- Define your brand archetype’s opinions on the core issues relevant to your industry and niche.
- Use a particular tone of voice to capture your brand archetype’s point of view and opinions in your copy.
- Identify the specific vocabulary and word choices your brand archetype would use to convey personality and desire.
- Adapt your fonts, colors, and visuals to align with your archetype and visually represent it.
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.
Brand archetypes: Final thoughts and key takeaways
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.
Remember to get the Brand Archetypes PDF and download my Branding with Influence Guide. You’ll get the step-by-step instructions you need to fully realize your brand and its massive potential!