What’s Your Brand Archetype?

How to Improve Communication and Attract Ideal Customers

According to Jung, archetypes are universal patterns of behaviors that, once discovered, can help people better understand themselves and how they relate to others. In their book, The Hero and the Outlaw Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson had the idea to apply this to brands in order to improve how brands communicate with customers.

During our design process, we talk a lot about brand story and I find this a useful exercise to gain perspective and develop a brand in a consistent way. Plus it’s fun!


Innocent_Dreamer_Romantic_Brand_Archetype

The Innocent

also know as The Dreamer, The Romantic

Motto: We create happiness
Brand promise: Simple, pure, trustworthy and safe

At best: Honest, enthusiastic and optimistic
Possible pitfalls: Overly simplistic, boring, puerile

Customers connect with your brand because it promises joy and wholesomeness. Keep the tone optimistic and straight-forward.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear heavy-handed or negative.

Brands include: Coke, Dove, McDonald's


Hero_Warrior_Rescuer_Brand_Archetype

THE HERO

also known as The Warrior, The Rescuer

Motto: We triumph
Brand promise: Victory, superiority, power and advantage

At best: Brave, determined, and efficient
Possible pitfalls: Arrogance, overly-aggressive, and ruthless

Customers connect with your brand because it promises quality and superiority. Keep the tone confident and motivated.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear uncertain or uninspired.

Brands include: Nike, FedEx, Duracell


Friend_Everyman_GirlNextDoor_Brand_Archetype

The Friend

Also known as The Everyman, The Girl/Guy Next Door

Motto: Come as you are
Brand Promise: Dependability, trust and familiarity

At best: Friendly, empathetic and down-to-earth
Possible pitfalls: Boring, undifferentiated, mediocre

Customers connect with your brand because it promises a sense of belonging and acceptance. Keep the tone conversational and familiar.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear elitist or superficial.

Brands include: Levi’s, Budweiser, IKEA


Nurturer_Helper_Parent_Brand_Archetype

The Nurturer

also known as The Helper, The Parent

Motto: We rise by lifting others
Brand promise: Care, safety and support

At best: Helpful, compassionate, and generous
Possible pitfalls: Patronizing, overly didactic and codependent

Customers connect with your brand because it promises protection and emotional warmth. Keep the tone personal and caring.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear ironic or driven by business goals.

Brands include: Volvo, Pampers, Campbell’s


Creator_Maker_Artist_Brand_Archetype

The Creator

also known as The Maker, The Artist

Motto: The world is a canvas to the imagination
Brand promise: Imagination, self-expression, and creativity

At best: Original, visionary, and game-changing
Possible pitfalls: Self-centered, being unrelatable, and pretentious

Customers connect with your brand because it promises an innovative and transformational experience. Keep the tone inspirational and daring.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear mundane or inauthentic.

Brands include: Apple, Lego, Adobe


Explorer_Seeker_Wanderer_Brand_Archetype

The Explorer

also known as The Seeker, The Wanderer

Motto: It’s a big world out there. Go explore!
Brand promise: Independence, self-actualization and discovery

At best: Non-conformist, spiritual, and motivating
Possible pitfalls: Aimless, self-indulgent, and hedonistic

Customers connect with your brand because it promises freedom and a path of personal growth. Keep the tone bold and ambitious.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear overly concerned with the status quo or everyday routine.

Brands include: North Face, Jeep, GoPro


Rebel_Outlaw_Maverick_Brand_Archetype

The Rebel

also known as The Outlaw, The Maverick

Motto: Life is a game with rules, learn how to break them.
Brand promise: Revolution, honesty and rejecting convention

At best: Unorthodox, raw, and free-spirited
Possible pitfalls: Destructive, nihilistic, and purely for shock-value

Customers connect with your brand because it promises an alternative to mainstream culture and a subversion of the status quo. Keep the tone audacious and edgy.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear conventional or concerned with other’s opinions.

Brands include: Harley Davidson, MTV, Virgin


Lover_Sensualist_Seducer_Brand Archetypes

The Lover

also known as The Sensualist, The Seducer

Motto: The heart never lies.
Brand promise: Sharing passions, appeal to the senses, being loved

At best: Attractive, sensual, and sexy
Possible pitfalls: Needy, people-pleasing, and inauthentic

Customers connect with your brand because it promises an intimate, spell-binding experience. Keep the tone personal and affectionate.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear aloof or indifferent.

Brands include: Victoria’s Secret, Häagen-Dazs, Calvin Klein


Magician_Transformer_Visionary_Brand_Archetypes

The Magician

also known as The Transformer, The Visionary

Motto: Make your own magic
Brand promise: Understanding the universe, building a better future

At best: Transformational, thoughtful, and independent
Possible pitfalls: Manipulative and disconnected from reality

Customers connect with your brand because it promises transformation based on knowledge, experience and imagination. Keep the tone expansive and inspirational.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear status-quo or to be splitting hairs.

Brands include: Disney, Lululemon, TED


Leader_Executive_Ruler_Brand_Archetype

The Leader

also known as The Executive, The Ruler

Motto: Dare to Lead.
Brand promise: Power, authority, and stability

At best: Confident, decisive, and strong
Possible pitfalls: Overbearing, aggressive, inflexible

Customers connect with your brand because it promises strength, luxury and leadership. Keep the tone dignified and aspirational.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear indecisive or unprofessional.

Brands include: American Express, Rolex, Hugo Boss


Entertainer_Jester_Comedian_Brand_Archetype

The Entertainer

also known as The Jester, The Comedian

Motto: Life is to be enjoyed
Brand promise: Joy, humor, enthusiasm

At best: Fun, playful, and self-deprecating
Possible pitfalls: Frivolous, irresponsible, mean-spirited

Customers connect with your brand because it entertains, lightens things up and helps them enjoy the moment. Keep the tone light and teasing.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear to take yourself too seriously or becoming overly contemplative.

Brands include: Priceline, M&Ms, Old Spice


Sage_Teacher_Scholar_Brand_Archetype

The Sage

also known as The Scholar, The Teacher

Motto: If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.
Brand promise: Wisdom, truth, and reflection

At best: Knowledgable, articulate, and informative
Possible pitfalls: Aloof, pedantic, and detached

Customers connect with your brand because it educates and challenges them. Keep the tone intellectual and open-minded.

It will feel out of character if you suddenly appear to dumb down or become patronizing.

Brands include: National Geographic, Google, New York Times


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