Harry Potter was the hero, Merry + Pippin were the jesters, Yoda was the sage, Edward Cullen was the rebel. We’ve seen the archetypes of stories over and over again but have you ever thought how they apply to your brand? The business you are building fits into a story, one where you are helping your customers get to their happily ever after. So what persona do you take on and how can you utilize that connect with your customer? That my friend is the secret to using archetypes in business.
It was a few years ago that I stumbled upon a book called Archetypes in Branding. I purchased it because I was starting out in marketing and I honestly loved the visuals that it came with. Never did I realized the power that these ideas would hold for my own business and the businesses of my clients.
Now, 6 years later, I use this marketing tool and the beautiful cards that come with it as a game for my clients to get clear on who they are and who their clients are. Because in the end, we’re both just characters in a bigger story. While my set-up works with 60-archetypes I thought we could start with the 12 most common and well-known archetypes to get you started. After all, simplicity is key. These archetypes include:
The Innocent: Looking for happiness, wants to experience joy and to do things right. They are often described as the dreamer, traditional, or a mystic. Brands that fit this archetype include: Annie’s, Coke, Method home and personal care products.
The Everyman: Looks for everyone to connect and be seen as equal. They have a deep desire to belong. They’re often described as the faithful, useful and supportive. Brands that fit this archetype include: Trader Joe’s + Craigslist.
The Hero: This Archetype is all about self-sacrifice. They are experts in what they do and always looking to learn more in order to hit their goals. Brands that fit this archetype include: Nike + U.S Army (NOTE: this archetype hits home for almost everyone as we are closely aligned with the Heroes journey.)
The Caregiver: This persona is un-selfish and devoted to taking care of others. Just think of the main caregivers in your life. They are described as saintly, a parent, patient, and empathetic. Brands that fit this archetype include: Dove + Amnesty International
The Explorer: Looking for powerful new experiences that stretch your personal growth and lead you away from boredom. They’re often described as the seeker, having wanderlust, brave and self-sufficient. Brands that fit this archetype include: Patagonia, Mountain Bradley + REI
The Rebel: The rebel is the conscious voice screaming that they’ve had enough. They look for creative solutions to create change and want to overrun what is no longer working. They’re often described as risk-takers, brave, honest and a misfit. Brands that fit this archetype include: MTV + Apple
The Lover: Appreciates beauty and collaboration. They focus on emotions and love a sensory and sensual experience. They focus on connecting with the self and with others. They’re often described as faithful, passionate, spiritual and expansive. Brands that fit this archetype include: Chanel + Haagen Dazs
The Artist: They make the ordinary extraordinary. They are often the loner, deep in their head figuring out their next masterpiece. They’re described as creative, focused, expressive and inspired. Brands that fit this archetype include: Lego, Peak Designs, Adobe
The Jester: Living in the moment the Jester is the life of the party. They are funny and turn heads, the bring smiles to people’s faces and they bring the truth to the surface. Described as original, present to the moment, and the trickster. Brands that fit this archetype include: Geico + Old Spice
The Sage: The one you go to to find the truth. The sage has great wisdom to share and help you find the right path. They take all the information into account to make a wise decision while still being skeptical. They’re often described as truth-seekers, wise, intelligent, and thoughtful. Brands that fit this archetype include: Harvard + Google
The Magician: Looks to understand the world so that they can make dreams into reality. They look at the world in a whole new way and believe that anything is possible. They’re described as dynamic, influential, charismatic, and awe-inspiriting. Brands that fit this archetype include: Polaroid + Disney
The Ruler: Believes that power is everything. They drive the vision and pursue challenges. The Ruler is realistic and looking to create structure and organization. They’re described as confident, commanding, powerful, and leaders. Brands that fit this archetype include: Rolls-Royce + British Airways
In understanding the archetypes in business (both who you are and who you’re client is) you can get really clear on your marketing and how you are adding value to people’s lives. They say that you can never know too much about yourself; that personal development is never-ending. I believe the same is true about your brand. Identify your brand archetype and dive in deep with your understanding of them. Learn what they’re strengths and weaknesses are so that you are aware of your own and can build your brand with that in mind. Whether you’re an individual brand or a large brand, figuring out your archetype will serve you in the long run. And if you’re ready to really go deep with this and build out your brand and client profiles, invest in a marketing audit where we’ll do this together.