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Developing Brand Identity: What Are the 12 Brand Archetypes

Most of we humans thrive only when we feel understood.

We oft take quizzes that help us understand how the outside world perceives us. Thus, we connect with the archetypes created by the quiz makers and find that we are not alone.

When this knowledge of psychology is applied to brand identity and marketing strategy, it gives businesses soul and competitive advantage.

One of the simplest ways to convey a relatable brand identity is by using brand archetypes.

How Businesses Can Use Brand Archetypes

Simon Sinek once said:

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

However, expressing your “why” is not always simple. Brand marketing strategy and brand development aim to set comprehensive guidelines businesses can follow.

It’s oft best to start with the well-known storytelling terms used to describe what different characters represented – brand archetypes, developed by Carl Jung.

Each archetype corresponds with a psychographic group; they manifest the motivations behind the actions people take.

12 Brand Archetypes to Base Your Brand Identity On

1. The Lover

The Lover archetype is fueled by the desire to connect; it wants to be irresistible and loved. We oft see this archetype in the fashion industry.

Consider Chanel as an example. The brand wants to be craved, and its customers want to be admired for embodying the spirit of Chanel by purchasing it.

2. The Innocent

The Innocent is unsullied, pure. It knows of no tragedies; everything is black and white. Optimism abounds.

Coca Cola is a prime example of the Innocent archetype. The brand sparks joy with their messaging, and invokes the strongest emotions in families and youth – both emotional and sentimental psychographic groups.

3. The Sage

The Sage values knowledge above anything else. This archetype believes that those who pursue the truth and find answers through empirical evidence will know great honor.

Consider Google. The knowledge of truth fuels all of their projects. They attract customers who value the same: scholars, technologists, marketers.

4. The Everyman

The Everyman brand identity stands for everything and nothing in particular. Therefore, it has the perfect ability of blending in with many different psychographic groups.

Taco Bell is the classic example of the Everyman archetype. It speaks to no one in particular, but it speaks to everyone’s desire to enjoy delicious food.

5. The Jester

Brands embodying the Jester archetype often strive for more; they are performative. They value showmanship, and so do their customers.

Consider Red Bull. They attract thrill seekers, daredevils, and pretenders who daydream about adventure while drinking Red Bull.

RELATED: The Strongest Foundation for Building Your Brand

6. The Magician

Brands who embody the Magician archetype inspire. They transform the lives of their customers. These brands capture, and they enchant. After all, everyone dreams of doing great things.

Consider Tesla; which customer hasn’t felt as though their life had changed after purchasing their visionary cars?

7. The Explorer

The Explorer is bound by no convention. Therefore, brands which embody this archetype run from boredom right into the arms of freedom.

National Geographic may be the first brand which embodied The Explorer. When their audience consumes their content, they feel as though they are mere steps away from becoming the next Indiana Jones. 

8. The Hero

The Hero always wants to prove itself to the world and become even stronger.

Nike is the prime example. By positioning itself as the underdog that won, Nike manages to capture the hearts of customers who have always wanted to overcome obstacles.

9. The Outlaw

The Outlaw brands are driven by challenging the status quo and changing the world. The only thing they fear is being powerless, and they are joyous in celebrating their freedom.

An Outlaw brand like Harley Davidson has always been capable of attracting consumers who want to break conventions.

10. The Caregiver

Unlike the Lover, which wants to be desired, the Caregiver wants to nurture and assist. It aims to protect its customers from danger and is strongly motivated by altruism.

Johnson & Johnson not only cares about their customers, but their brand frequently incorporates the Caregiver brand messaging. They are altruists and show it by participating in charities.

11. The Creator

Brands who embody the Creator archetype make their customers’ dreams come true. Therefore, this brand is oft seen in creative and IT industries.

You don’t have to look further from Pinterest. It brings the ideas of the world to its customers so they can make their visions come true.

12. The Ruler

The Ruler is the primordial leader archetype. Brands embodying this archetype don’t run from responsibility. They accept it; they take control.

Consider Microsoft. Their achievements cannot be doubted and despite all obstacles, they successfully move forward and pave the way for numerous other brands.

Which Archetype Does Your Business Embody?

The story of your business is much bigger than the products you sell. Choose to adopt an archetype that suits your vision and your customers will relate to you on a much deeper level.

It all starts with branding.

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