USING ARCHETYPES TO BUILD A BETTER BRAND
Ever wonder why it is we feel so attracted to certain brands? Like there is just something that connects us to them? Like we know them?
It's not their pretty products, their perfectly curated Instagram feed or their amazing websites...
It's their brand... more importantly... their BRAND ARCHETYPE.
What are Brand Archetypes?
A brand archetype is a universally recognizable and innately understood personality that a brand embodies. They represent a pattern of characteristics, values, attitudes and behaviors that are consistent across time, generations and culture.
Famous psychologist, Carl Jung theorized that certain characteristics or archetypes have alluring personalities that connect with us deeply at the core of our human psyche. Just like people, brand's have personalities that evoke emotional responses.
Jung, who developed the concept of the "Collective Unconscious", referred to the structure of the unconscious mind which contains memories and impulses of which we are unaware. Our unconscious mind contains universal mental images, or archetypes, that we have inherited from our past experiences or were passed down from generation to generation. Whether we are aware of it or not, there is a very real and compelling reason why we fall in love with certain brands.
So, what do archetypes have to do with branding?
Archetypes give your brand personality to embody. They give you a clear vision of what you should focus on, your behavior or brand message and your core values.
When working with clients on branding projects, I always start with identifying their archetype with a focus on their primary and influencer archetypes.
In this age of being more connected than ever, the old ideas of marketing and branding are out and a new way of social connection in. People are more connected than ever, and that includes being more connected with the brands and businesses they purchase from. People want authenticity and sustainability and if your brand is intentionally cultivated on an archetypal foundation, it will have an impact.
Archetypes create a human connection to a brand. They connect with our basic human desires. Carl Jung said it best when he said, "We all have the same instinctive and unconscious understanding of behavioral patterns." Our desires may not be something we are consciously aware of but they are a natural part of who we are as humans.
There are 12 Archetypes that match up to a different human desire. Although many of us may have several desires, we will all relate more closely to one or two as our core desires. Our heartrate will start to increase for some more than others, making us feel more alive, more connected and more attracted to the personalities that reflect those desires.
Let's take a look at the 12 Archetypes:
The Maverick = Liberation
The Magician = Power
The Hero = Mastery
The Lover = Intimacy
The Entertainer = Enjoyment
The Guy/Girl Next Door = Belonging
The Caregiver = Service
The Royal = Control
The Creator = Innovation
The Innocent = Safety
The Sage = Understanding
The Explorer = Freedom
Understanding and utilizing archetypes in branding is about identifying a desire or an answer to a pain point for your ideal customers and embodying that personality or desire to appeal to them. Once you identify your core archetype, you are able to genuinely and authentically connect with your customers on a deeper, more connected level.
People want to feel connected to and a part of the brands they love. They want to feel like they are valued and making a difference in some way. They want to know they are the same as and fit in with the brands they love. It's not about mirroring a personality or archetype, it's about allowing your brand to embody an archetype in an authentic and unique way that stays true to your brand. When your brand aligns with the emotions and desires of your customers in an authentic way, you are better able to get to the core of your audience's human desires and stand out from your competition.
Where do I start in identifying my archetype and applying it to my brand?
First you have identify your primary archetype and your influencer archetype. To find out which archetypes your brand is most aligned with, click the link below to take our free Brand Archetype quiz (Linked Here). It will walk you through a series of questions to get to the core of your brand's message, mission and vision and give you a set of 3 archetypes you most align with.
Your main archetype should be the one you score the highest in and your influencer should be one of the remaining two. I suggest not picking more than 2 archetypes: a primary and an influencer, so that you can keep a clear and defined brand personality. Your primary archetype should embody at least 70% of your brand's personality with the remaining 30% represented by your influencer archetype.
Before you commit to an archetype, consider this...
After taking our archetype quiz, sometimes the results can be crystal clear, like you are 90% one type, 10% one type and 0% any of the rest. Sometimes, you may get a 33% split, and then what? One thing to understand is that archetypes embody basic human core values, so it's very possible that we can identify with more than 2 of them. If you think about all of the different facets of your life, at some point, you could have related to or embodied a majority of them, however if you tried to be all of them your brand would come across as confused and inconsistent.
And... just because you may have scored higher on one archetype over another, doesn't mean that is the archetype you have to embody. You ultimately have the power to choose what archetype your brand will embody. Although I would suggest sticking to the two you naturally gravitate towards, you need to be able to embody the archetypes so that your brand feels authentic.
To narrow in on and embody the right archetypes for you, consider these 4 areas to determine the best two for you and your brand.
RESEARCH EACH ARCHETYPE. Learn more about each of the 12 archetypes, what they stand for, what their core values are, what their core message is, what motivates and inspires them. When you understand each of the archetypes and who they are at their core, you can not only better understand which is best for your brand, you can better understand how to apply that archetype to your brand in an authentic way.
OBSERVE YOUR INTERNAL REACTION TO EACH ARCHETYPE. What is your first gut reaction to each of the archetypes you scored highest on? Do you feel like they totally make sense or do you feel a sense of rejection to your results?
ANALYZE YOUR ARCHETYP IN YOUR NICHE. How would your archetype fit in to your industry? Does it make sense? Does it have the core values and the personality to capture the right audience. On the flip side, maybe it's not the obvious choice for your industry, but is there a way that you can use your archetype to set your brand apart from the crowd in a new and authentic way?
DECIDE WHICH BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR BRAND. If you are trying to be everything to everyone, you're diluting your message. It's important to decide what your primary and influencer archetypes are and embody them. Narrowing in on your two main archetypes and truly encompassing every bit of who they are to their core will help you to create a brand that captivates and connects with your audience in a more authentic and sustainable way.
How do I apply my archetypes to my brand?
Once you have taken the quiz and identified your primary and influencer archetypes, you need to start studying and understanding who they are, what they stand for and represent, how they think, feel and do life. You need to embody them.
In order to apply an archetype to your brand, you need to first understand that as archetypes represent personalities, they must represent both your brand and your customers. The trick is two-fold. Not only do you want to appeal to your ideal customers an solve their pain points or what they are pining for, you also want your brand to embody these personalities so that you what you are saying, standing for and selling feels authentic.
Let me be clear here, archetypes aren't about appealing to everyone, they are about appealing the RIGHT ONES.
Aligning your brand to a primary archetype will allow your brand personality to feel familiar to your audience and allow you to communicate with consistency and feel like a living, breathing human they are doing life with.
To learn more about your primary and influencer archetype, click the links below to take you to their individual study guides where you can learn more about their core values personalities and other brands that identify with the same archetypes, plus you can download a free copy of the 12 Brand Archetypes study guide to learn more.
Be sure to take our quiz and click that subscribe button to get next week's post about how to identify your brand message, mission and vision using archetypes. Drop a comment below to share what archetype(s) you are! I'd love to connect with you and cheer you on as you tackle your branding with archetypes.