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Brand Identity: The Power of Brand Archetypes

There is something special about the brands we connect with. Why do you connect with some brands better than others? How can you use a brand archetype as a part of your marketing strategy, developing a strong brand persona that will help you connect with your target market? Building a brand archetype is one of the most important types of branding.

What Is a Brand Archetype?

If you have connected with certain characters on a movie screen better than others, this is because these fictional characters have been written according to paradigms that have been broadly defined. Therefore, you have an easier time understanding their actions.

A brand archetype can be viewed in the same manner. This is a way of presenting specific portions of a brand, including its:

  • Symbology
  • Messages
  • Behaviors
  • Values

Essentially, you are trying to turn your brand into a persona. Therefore, you will make it more recognizable to your specific target market. Of course, there are different types of brand archetypes out there. You need to make sure that you construct an archetype that is relatable to your target market

How Is a Brand Archetype Used in Marketing?

Brand archetypes are chosen to enhance the story of your specific brand. Your archetype is going to tie to just about every marketing decision that you make. This includes digital marketing, direct mail marketing, and plenty of other forms of advertising. Furthermore, a strong brand archetype will also help you stand out from your competitors. If you have a strong brand archetype, you are going to leave a lasting impression on potential consumers.

The 12 Types of Brand Archetypes

There are twelve broad categories of brand archetypes that you may use in your marketing campaigns. These include:

  1. The Sage: The sage believes that education is the path to wisdom. Wisdom will provide people with the answers they seek. This brand voice should be assured, knowledgeable, and guiding. The BBC and Google are examples of this brand archetype.
  2. The Explorer: The Explorer is always looking to learn something new. This brand voice should be daring, exciting, and fearless. There is only one life, so live it to the fullest. The North Face and Patagonia are examples of this brand archetype.
  3. The Innocent: The innocent brand archetype believes that life is simple, elegant, and honest. This brand voice should be optimistic and humble. The best things in life are unaltered and fewer. Dove and Aveeno are prominent examples of this brand archetype.
  4. The Outlaw: The outlaw is a brand archetype that it's disruptive, combative, and rebellious. In your marketing campaigns, an outlaw is going to be someone who does not settle for the status quo. Examples of brands that take on this Persona include Virgin Galactic and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
  5. The Magician: The magician is a brand archetype that believes that anything that can happen, will happen. The voice of this brand is mystical, reassuring, and informed. Furthermore, the magician is someone who is optimistic. Tomorrow can be brighter than today. Disney is the most prominent example.
  6. The Creator: The creator believes that as long as it can be imagined, it can come to life. This brand voice is daring, inspirational, and provocative. The creator sees potential everywhere and is prominent among Apple, Microsoft, and Lego.
  7. The Ruler: The ruler believes in a commanding, articulate, and refined style. Everyone should be rewarded for their achievements. Rolex and Mercedes-Benz take on this brand archetype.
  8. The Hero: The hero believes that as long as there is a will, there's a way. This brand voice is brave, honest, and candid. The hero believes that the world can be made better. Nike and Adidas are prominent examples of this brand archetype.
  9. The Lover: The lover is an intimate brand. The voice of this brand should be soothing, sensual, and empathetic. This brand archetype is prominent among beauty companies of such as Victoria's Secret and Chanel.
  10. The Caregiver: The caregiver believes that everyone deserves care and everyone should try to make the world a better place. This brand voice should be reassuring, caring, and warm. The WWF and UNICEF are prominent brand archetypes with this voice.
  11. The Jester: The Jester is a brand archetype that seeks to inject joy into every situation. This brand voice should be optimistic, fun, and playful. The jester encourages everyone to let their hair hang down and live life to the fullest every day. Old Spice and Dollar Shave Club voice this brand archetype.
  12. The Everyman: The everyman is a voice that is humble, authentic, and friendly. The everyman seeks to treat everyone with honesty and friendliness. Target and Ikea do great jobs of portraying this brand archetype.

Think about which of these brand archetypes best reflects your target market. Then, seek to demonstrate the qualities of this brand archetype in your marketing campaigns.

Shanna Mueller

by Shanna Mueller, Marketing & Brand Strategist

Shanna Mueller, Marketing and Brand Strategist, manages social media and digital marketing strategy and is the gatekeeper to all things related to brand integrity and development. A former creative brand strategist and news producer, she is a seasoned storyteller. She has a fine arts degree and brings over 15 years of managing and developing brands from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. She finds inspiration in art, music, and human psychology to help wield the power of authentic storytelling and genuine content creation. When she is not researching and nerd-ing out on the latest marketing, pop culture, and social trends, she spends her time moonlighting as a local philanthropist, amateur coffee critique, and photographer.

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