How to pick your brand archetype?

Roger Attlee
Posted on
August 12, 2020

Great brands have the ability to create meaningful connections with the people they interact with. Whenever people see logos or any touch points for that matter, It triggers an emotional reaction that reminds them just how much the brand in question is important to them. 

So how do brand achieve this? How do they create such strong bonds between them and consumers while others remain shrouded in obscurity? 

While there are many elements to master in order to build a great brand, the personality that your brand portrays will play an immense role in winning over new customers. The best brands in the world use a strategic approach to developing a personality (or Archetype) that resonates with their audience, and one of the best tools to accomplish this is Jung’s 12 Archetypes.

What are Brand Archetypes:

Brand Archetypes were developed by psychoanalyst, Carl Jung in order to categorize universal personality traits. These traits are defined as familiar characters or situations that transcends time, place, culture, gender and age. Through stores, art, myths, and religion, archetypes have evolved to characterize specific, but universal patterns of behaviour that humans beings can easily understand. 

In fact, the results of his research stated that humans use these universal personality traits, to more easily understand complex concepts and make sense of the world they live in. In total, Jung identified 12 universal archetypes and organized them into what we call the “Brand Archetype Wheel”. Read more about that here.

By identifying and aligning with specific archetypes, a brand can create a strong and consistent identity that resonates with its target audience and evokes specific emotions and associations. This can help to build stronger connections with customers and increase brand loyalty.
The Brand Archetype Map

How to pick and use your archetype:

So, how do you decide what archetype your brand belongs to and what personality traits it should adopt?  First, you’ll have to become familiar with the archetypes, Check our our interactive brand archetype toolkit.

Once you become familiar with the 12 archetypes, the real work starts. Most organizations will find that there’s more than one archetype in their brand’s personality. However, the easiest solution is to choose one single “character” that’s most attuned to your business. 

Here are 3 steps you can follow to find your archetype:

Start from within your company:

The most important thing to know when choosing a personality is that it needs to be a true representation of your brand. Start by analyzing your company culture and values, and purpose. A few questions you can use for this exercise are:

  • What values guide your company?
  • What’s the purpose of your company’s existence? (Your Why)
  • Find your why?
  • How do you want to make your customers feel when they interact with your brand?
  • What are your company’s greatest strengths?

Define your personality:

Once you have a better grasp of what your business stands for, you can spend some time answering questions that will help you define your archetype:

  • People feel __________ when they think about my brand
  • Our brand feels strongly about __________
  • If my brand was a popular character, it would be ___________________
  • If our brand has a drawback, it would be ______________
  • As a brand, we are looking to achieve ____________________

Understand the environment you operate in:

Before choosing your archetype(s), you’ll also need to understand your industry and your competitors. In most sectors, there are a handful of brand archetypes that are likely to be common, as well as some that just don’t fit. While it’s not necessary to stick to your status quo, it’s worth thinking about how your archetype will fit in your industry.

Furthermore, keep an eye on your competitors to see what archetypes they use. If a certain archetype is being over-used, you might have an opportunity to differentiate yourself in the market by choosing another route. 

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