As we wrap up a fairly extensive series on branding, today we’re going to explore brand archetypes, and how important they are to brand success.
Why brand archetypes, you might ask? Well, humans are funny creatures, driven by emotion, connection, memory, sight, touch and smell.
And nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to which products they prefer, and which brands they remain loyal to.
So, today we’re delving into what makes people tick. The psychology behind brand loyalty. And how and why brand archetypes work.
What the Heck are Brand Archetypes?
We have to go back a hundred-plus years to find the first mention of archetypes. Based on Swiss psychologist Carl Jung’s theory that humans use symbolism to understand concepts (just look at early cave drawings for proof of that theory!), Jung whittled his list down to 12 powerful archetypes.
Each of these archetypes has its own identity, characteristics, attitudes and behaviours. If you’re a marketer, this is probably starting to sound familiar, such as it didn’t take long for sellers to begin to understand that buyers are heavily influenced by these archetypes.
And as much as a brand isn’t a sentient being, per se (though some brand-fans might argue that fact!) a brand that represents an archetype that individuals are drawn to personally has a higher chance of snagging that person as a loyal customer.
And voila, brand archetypes were born!
Driving Brand Loyalty
Of course, I’m simplifying the process – but you get the gist. In marketing, the closer you can bring potential clients or consumers to your brand or product, the better the chance you’ll make a sale.
Your brand archetype should lay out a narrative, a story of who your brand is, and what they represent. A well-crafted brand archetype will represent certain needs, desires, morals and values that resonate with the consumer, and they fall under four core categories:
There are a number of brand archetypes that companies use today, let’s have a look at just a few of them:
Which Archetype Are You?
- The Sage: A sage brings wisdom, they teach, and they are truthful and trustworthy. Think National Geographic or the BBC.
- The Caregiver: Warm, safe, comforting, helpful, parental, emotionally driven. Think Pampers, Dove, or Disney.
- The Revolutionary: One of the most successful brand archetypes – the bad-boy rebel! Harley-Davidson immediately springs to mind, as does Jack Daniels, Vans or Rimmel cosmetics.
- The Creator: Artistic, creative, boundary-breaking and trend-setting. Of course, Apple is probably one of the most iconic of the Creator archetype, but Lego, Sony – even Netflix – all work.
- The Everyman: Joe Public. Relatable, down to earth, everyone welcome. Beer companies tend to nail this archetype, as do fast food places. Think Coors Light, McDonald’s, the Gap, or Levi’s.
For more on brand archetypes, there are fabulous iterations of “Brand Archetype Wheels” on the web, that visually link up certain brands’ logos/creative, and which archetype they fall under. It’s a great way to clarify where your brand or product falls.
What’s your favourite brand archetype? Have you done any exercises to determine where your company or brand fits on the brand archetypes wheel? I would love to hear your thoughts!