Brand Archetypes: How to Define Your Brand?

Originally introduced in 2001 by Carol S. Pearson and Margaret Mark in the book “The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes,” they still remain a popular way of analyzing and building brands.

What are these brand archetypes, anyway? Simply put, they are universal, sometimes caricatured psychological patterns embedded in our minds and the minds of customers. They originate from history, supported by human experiences and cultural heritage.

Imagine a lineup of characters whose task is to convey to you the values of a particular brand, its goals, and its core message. For a better understanding, let’s take a look at a few examples:

  1. Magician:
  • Strives to share beliefs with people in a somewhat mystical way.
  • Captivates others with incredible charisma, providing them with a journey full of magical moments.
  • Aims to fulfill the dreams of its audience, with the only limitation being its imagination.
  • Examples: Disney, Tesla, MAC

2. Creator:

  • Expresses itself, proving its competence through incredible expression and innovation.
  • Desires to make groundbreaking discoveries at any cost, marked by great successes.
  • Passionate about unique and unparalleled things, valuing originality and uniqueness.
  • Enjoys sharing inventions with others, explaining in a fascinating way the journey to their creation.
  • Examples: Apple, Lego, Ikea

3. Ruler:

  • Emphasizes the importance of control and impeccable organization to avoid unwanted chaos.
  • Distinguished by great expression and elegance, perceived as dominating and uncompromising.
  • The main goal is to achieve success and ensure prosperity for its “subjects.”
  • Examples: Mercedes-Benz, Louis Vuitton

4. Caregiver:

  • Displays a kind of parental instinct, wanting to watch over and support those under its care.
  • Communicates with tenderness, understanding, and subtlety, believing in equality and meeting everyone’s needs.
  • Willing to sacrifice for the greater good.
  • Examples: Nivea, Colgate

This list could go on for quite a while… But why do we need these archetypes?

Well, they help brands communicate, build relationships, and establish trust among customers. Imagine your brand as a character in a magical story – what would you like to convey to people? Perhaps you want to be associated with a respected Sage, sharing wisdom? Or maybe you prefer to be a just Warrior, confronting injustice and fighting for good?

Okay, we have a general outline, but how do you choose the right archetype for your brand?

This, of course, depends on your product, service, and goals. But remember – authenticity is key. You probably don’t want your brand to be like an uncomfortable outfit that you wear only on special occasions. The archetype should align with the identity, values, and what the brand truly represents.

Also, pay attention to the emotions you want to evoke in your customers. Do you intend to inspire them, provide a sense of security, or perhaps stimulate them to take action?

Archetypes are essential in building that emotional bridge between the brand and the consumer.

So, dear entrepreneurs, don’t be afraid to explore archetypes – they might hold the key to your business’s success.

Mateusz Rozynek