What is a Brand Archetype?

Brand personalities can be classified as archetypes. Here's a little more about them.

By Cat HowPosted in Ideas

Successful brands have a strong sense of identity, one that mirrors the hopes and aspirations of their customers.

In our design agency we always think of a brand as a person with a specific point-of-view. This position helps your brand communicate comfortably, and confidently, with its customer base. How people connect to your brand and whatever meaning they assign to it is due to this personality, or point-of-view.

We use lots of strategic tools when developing brand strategy and creating a brand identity which speaks from this point of view. But the tool that helps us the most in this process is the brand archetype wheel.

Brand personalities can be classified as archetypes. We use a Jungian brand archetype wheel to work out what personality types your target audience are likely to have. This helps us create an identity and strategy for your business that matches and appeals to those types.

Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist who developed the idea of an archetype (taken from the ancient Greek ‘arche’, meaning ‘origin’ and referring to an original model) as a way of explaining unconscious, universal idea patterns. Put simply, Jung believed that archetypes are identifiable behaviours that are instantly recognised by others.

When we develop a brand identity, we place a brand on the brand archetype wheel. It can sit in one or several of the sectors, and can be a blend - just like humans can be a blend of characteristics too. The power of a good brand archetype is in getting the subtlety of these blends - for example Audi can be seen as a creator, innovator and sage. Leveraging these different parts

At the top level there are four desired states: Independence, Change, Belonging and Structure.

Within these desired states are 12 archetypes: Innocent, Explorer, Sage, Magician, Rebel, Hero, Lover, Entertainer, Everyman, Creator, Ruler and Caregiver. Below is a little more about them.

Independence: yearn for the ideal

Innocent - safety
An Innocent archetype seeks optimism and certainty. It is often associated with brands who are associated with health and cleanliness. Innocent is a famous Innocent archetype - which actually used its archetype as its brand name.

Explorer - freedom
An Explorer archetype seeks to find its own way, and is ambitious, confident and pioneering. Jeep and North Face are famous Explorer brands.

Sage - understanding and wisdom
A Sage archetype seeks to discover the truth. It values knowledge, intelligence, wisdom and understanding. The Economist or The Guardian are famous Sage brands.

Change: yearn to leave their mark

Magician - belief (or suspending thereof)
A Magician archetype seeks drama, imagination and change. A Magician brand values magical experiences or novel moments. Disney is a classic Magician brand archetype.

Rebel - liberation
A Rebel archetype wants to break the rules. It seeks freedom and a disruption to the status quo. Brew Dog and Harley Davidson are both famous Rebel archetypes brands.

Hero - mastery
A Hero archetype is focused on courage, discipline and focus. Hero brands enable people to do their best, and to challenge their own limits. Nike is a famous Hero brand archetype.

Belonging: yearn to connect with others

Lover - intimacy
A Lover archetype seeks intimacy, commitment and romance. It values beauty, friendship and love. Chanel is a famous Lover archetype.

Entertainer - enjoyment
An Entertainer archetype seeks enjoyment and fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously and values playfulness and happiness. Skittles are a famous Entertainer archetype.

Everyman - belonging
An Everyman archetype seeks to connect with others, and is community-focused. It values equality, democracy and realism. Everyman brands have products which are used everyday. Heinz, Tetley and Ford are famous Everyman brand archetypes.

Structure: yearn to provide structure

Creator - innovation
A Creator archetype seeks to create something valuable, giving form to a vision. Audi and Lego are famous Creator archetypes.

Ruler - control

A Ruler archetype seeks leadership and responsibility and is often ideal for a brand which has a high-status product. Mercedes and Hugo Boss are Ruler archetypes.

Caregiver - service
A Caregiver archetype is protective, generous, compassionate and consistent. Volvo and Dove are famous Caregiver archetypes.

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