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Using brand archetypes to drive business growth

There is much debate about the value and merits of brand archetypes as a tool to develop brands. I find brand archetypes a useful tool for targeting personality and the positioning of a brand in a marketplace.


Brand archetypes originated in Plato’s concept of ideals and patterns. Mid-1900’s Carl Jung took Plato’s thinking a step further and developed “psychological archetypes”. Jung further elaborated - “archetypes are forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth”.

“Characteristic patterns that pre-exist in the collective psyche of the human race that repeat themselves eternally in the psyche of individual human beings and determine the basic ways that we perceive and function as psychological beings."

Carl Jung.


A Brand meaning constitutes its most irreplaceable asset, what your mean to your customers and in the market drives expectation, interactions, the price you can charge, and engagement.

To be meaningful, different and salient is essential to building brand power in any market. A brand's identity must be delivered consistently and form a pattern of expectation.

Brand archetypes act as a guiding star for people to engage with and to signpost the type of business they are dealing with, they deliver familiarity, aspiration, likemindedness, ’s motivations, effective representation and comfort.



The Innocent craves safety and looks at things from a glass half full. The main themes for this archetype are happiness, trust, and purity. Food brands often focus on this archetype - Consider Hello Fresh.

The Explorer craves freedom. With this archetype, it's all about what's daring and exciting. Think of outdoor and adventure brands which as NorthFace, but also holiday companies often have this archetype, in the B2B space events companies can thrive under this archetype.

The Outlaw craves liberation. They believe in the saying, "Rules are made to be broken." The main themes for this archetype are rebellion and disruption this is an archetype for challenger brands - take Monzo, Tide and Virgin - all breaking the rules in the finance sector.

The Magician makes the unexpected happen. They believe anything can happen if you work at it and stove to thrill and delight. You'll also find this often in technology and media brands.

The Hero craves mastery. They don't back down from a challenge and display courage, honesty, and bravery – a common archetype in sportswear brands, in B2B look at Sage's positioning.

The Lover craves intimacy and focuses heavily on the senses. Popular lover archetypes are found in indulgent brands like chocolate, wine, fragrance, and cosmetics. Consider Magnum's positioning in the ice cream market.

The Jester craves enjoyment. They bring fun to the party every time, and they're not afraid of a little mischief. Haribo is a great example

The Everyman craves belonging. They are warm, friendly, and humble. This is perhaps the most flexible archetype and you can see it in a variety of industries, Netflix is a good example.

The Caregiver craves service. The main theme of this archetype is altruism. Non-profit and sustainability brands depict this archetype often, however more and more corporate brand like Patagonia or Volvo is taking on this archetype.

The Ruler craves control. They value organisation, power, and status. You'll often notice this archetype in financial service businesses and luxury brands.

The Creator looks to innovate and make new possibilities happen. They're bold, creative, and aren't afraid to try new things. Brands like Apple and Dyson are examples of this archetype.


1. Start by looking at customer feedback

What are your customers saying about your business? Ask your customers what they like about your business and why they choose your product or services.

2. Then look to your vision, values and mission

If you don't have these in place think about what values are important to your business and note down 4 -5 core values - make sure these are actionable and think about why they are true. They look to consolidate your vision - what do you want your business to deliver to the world past profits? If you need help getting to your vision and mission Think Collectiv can help.

3. Look at your sector and competitors

The industry you're in may inform how easy it is for you to define your archetype. For instance, if you're a baking company, your archetype can easily tie back to the "Creator" archetype, as that's all about making, crafting and creating. Or if you're an accounting business, the "Sage" is a natural fit. However this needs careful consideration.


So you have selected an archetype - now you need to use it as a consistent guiding star across all you do - this is not just about your personality:

1. Build on emotion

We know through research that emotional appeal works to create brand memorability which builds selection and preference and profits - using your archetype to create and develop your story and build emotive meaning. That's why archetypes can be so successful -- they're tied to emotion.

2. Start with your customer/key audience

While your brand archetype is directed in part by your company vision, your audience play the starring role in this process.

You must ask the question -What archetype represents them? How do they want to be seen? What sort of company do they want to deal with? How is the archetype making them feel? How do we want them to respond?

We are essentially trying to build an emotional connection that will keep customers sticker to you and foster deeper interest and understanding of your business. Asking these questions will help you shape a meaningfully different brand position using archetypes as a core tool.

3. Build an engaging story

With emotions and your audience in mind, you need to start with their needs and main points and build your story around the problems you solve for customers as a business.

Recently Think Collectiv worked with a global finance business and their archetype was defined through research as Magician and Caregiver - they make things happen and improve the situation across the whole business in the long term - this led to a story around delivering whole business health and creating improvements across all teams and departments by interlinking better practices and by fostering and sharing transparent processes. This tapped into the emotion of improvement, visibility and making bigger things happen that we found in finance teams across businesses.


Brands think the story is about them:

The consumer is the main character, the brand is a supporting role. Focus on your customers needs, pain points an personas.

Focusing on one archetype:

The archetype is dynamic and can change, often a brand is 2-3 archetypes. I normally build 1 primary archetype and 1 -2 secondary archetypes - this gives focus.

Confusing a brand’s archetype to its personality:

Your archetype is not your personality - A standpoint that allows people to relate to the brand. Your archetype is sustained over time. Your brand personality is external behavioural traits characteristics, attitudes, & styles - these can change over time.


If your company looking to build equity from your brand, you might be a start-up or a large business going through a merger or needing a rebranding process, you may look to reconsider which brand archetype fits your business the best. Think Collectiv can help, we deliver a number of services to help you create business value from your brand.

Get in touch to find out more

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