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Ever wonder how those big brands get in your head and stay there? It’s not magic; it’s archetypes. Brand archetypes are the template or persona that a brand adopts to become memorable, trusted and loved.
So, let’s explore how popular brands like Disney and Tesla activated these archetypes to build dedicated fanbases and how you can apply these archetypes to any brand to boost loyalty and bottom-line results.
Archetypes are universal symbols that tap into our collective unconsciousness. Brand archetypes give brands personality. They help make abstract ideas concrete and help consumers connect with a brand on an emotional level. When you see yourself in a brand’s archetype, it feels like they really “get” you. You feel seen and valued as a customer.
Related: Scaleup Archetypes: The Key to Managing Professional Conflicts and Unlocking Company-Wide Success
12 Common brand archetypes
The archetypes here represent some of the most compelling and resonant options but don’t feel limited to these. The archetype that’s right for you might be a combination of these or something altogether new.
- The Innovator is constantly pushing the envelope, coming up with radical new ideas and products. It’s innovative yet risky.
- The Creator is passionately crafting premium, handmade goods. It’s all about quality and authenticity.
- The Explorer seeks adventure and is constantly discovering new horizons. It loves to travel, culture and transformation.
- The Helper is there to make your life easier, happier and more fulfilling. It’s supportive yet non-judgmental.
- The Rebel doesn’t follow the rules and marches to the beat of its drummer. It’s anti-establishment and counter-cultural.
- The Saint is morally upright and moral and has a purpose beyond profit. It’s idealistic and ethical and makes a positive impact.
- The Sage is wise beyond its years, offering insights and illuminating life’s essential questions. It’s wise and thoughtful.
- The Jester doesn’t take itself too seriously. It loves to make people smile, laugh and lighten the mood. It’s playful, fun-loving and whimsical.
- The Hero is courageous, strong yet caring. It saves the day, fights the good fight, and makes people feel safe. It’s noble, righteous and self-sacrificing.
- The Outsider is an outsider looking in. It’s unconventional, subversive and aims to change the status quo. It’s rebellious, irreverent, yet visionary.
- The Everyman is down-to-earth, unpretentious and relatable. It’s the brand next door. It is trustworthy, dependable yet unassuming.
- The Wizard is magical and mystical and ignites people’s sense of wonder. It taps into the imagination, fantasy and spectacle. The wizard is dreamy yet imaginative.
Related: 6 Archetypes That Form a Great Team
Key benefits of articulating brand archetypes
Having a clear sense of your brand archetypes really helps ensure that all your messaging and marketing efforts stay on the same page. Here are the key benefits.
Guiding through positioning. An archetype helps frame how you want to position your brand in the marketplace. Do you want to be seen as the revolutionary, the visionary, the artisan, etc? Choose an archetype that aligns with the experience and perceptions you want to cultivate.
Creating consistency. With a defined archetype, you can ensure all brand messaging, marketing materials, customer experiences and products/services reflect that archetype. Consistency strengthens your brand identity.
Inspiring resonant marketing. Archetypes inspire creative and compelling marketing as you bring the archetype to life. Rather than generic marketing, archetype-aligned marketing will resonate more deeply with your key audiences.
Provoking emotional connections. Strong archetypes tap into something primal – they provoke an emotional, not just rational, connection with your audiences. People connect with brands whose archetypes they find inspiring or aspirational.
Guiding cultural evolution. As culture and needs shift over time, a well-chosen archetype allows you to evolve while staying true to the essence of your brand. You change with the times but remain recognizable.
How to identify the right archetype for your brand?
Once you figure that out, everything else falls into place. Here are some tips:
Take some time to reflect on your brand’s core values and personality. What attributes and qualities do you want people to associate with your brand? Think about the emotions you want to evoke and the experiences you want to create. This will help determine the archetype that best captures your brand spirit.
Conduct research to gain insights into your target customers and key brand perceptions. Look for archetypes that your customers and critics already associate with your brand. There may be an emerging archetype that you can formalize.
Consider your brand’s key benefits and what problems you’re solving. What archetype would customers look to for that kind of solution? For example, the Sage archetype may be good for an advice or education brand.
Think like a storyteller. Put a face and character to your brand. Envision what kind of person your ideal customer seeks to be or aspires to. That can lead you to the perfect archetype.
Think in opposites. Contrast different archetypes to find the one that is most unlike your brand. Then you can shape your archetype to be the opposite of that contrast. This helps ensure your archetype is unique.
Get input from your team and key stakeholders. Bring different perspectives together to evaluate archetype options and choose one that everyone feels represents the brand authentically.
Pick an archetype that inspires your team and fuels passion. If the archetype resonates internally, that passion will come through in your brand’s marketing, products and customer experiences. Your employees can help bring the archetype to life.
Don’t feel like you have to fit your brand into just one archetype – many successful brands straddle multiple archetypes. The key is to choose archetypes that resonate most with your brand’s vision and values and reflect the experience you want to create for your customers. Build your brand’s story, imagery and messaging around those archetypes, and you’ll forge a deep, meaningful connection with your audience. Know your archetype, and your customers will know you!
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