You’ve probably not given it much thought, but there is a reason why you connect with the brands you do. That affinity is due to a little thing called archetypes. And when used right, the connection between a brand and its audience should be seamless, look effortless, and feel natural.
Consider it one of the secret ingredients behind branding.
A deeper dive.
Going through the process of choosing an archetype is one way to build a brand personality that will resonate with all your stakeholders including your target audience. To start, it’s essential to know that there are 12 Brand Archetypes. All of which have different goals, traits, challenges, marketing niches, and so on. They are as follows:
- The Caregiver
- The Creator
- The Everyman
- The Explorer
- The Hero
- The Innocent
- The Jester
- The Lover
- The Magician
- The Outlaw
- The Ruler
- The Sage
Once you start your reading, you may find similarities between archetypes, and you would be right. Nevertheless, don’t let the similarities blind you to their differences. It’s imperative you take the time to play these archetypes out for your business. In doing so, their strengths and weakness will become more apparent.
Note: archetypes are not stereotyping. Stereotypes are rooted in simplistic and undifferentiated culture-specific norms, where archetypes are based on universal truths grounded in psychological research.
Example: Hero vs. Magician
The Hero is considered a saviour, dragon slayer, and team player who makes the world better by being the best. Instead of nurturing you, the Hero brand is more interested in challenging you. If you want to rise to the occasion, you’re going to need a Hero’s help. Luckily, they have the exact toolkit you need!
Hero brands are known for making order out of chaos. For instance, Duracell’s 2017 Christmas advert keeps that essential trait in mind when telling you exactly why you should trust them to get the job done. So much so, that they can single-handily save Santa from losing his job as Father Christmas. At the end of the commercial, they remind us that “trust is power” to let us know that our faith in them is justified.
Known as the inventor, catalyst, or charismatic leader, the Magician is all about vision. For instance, a Magician brand won’t build you a better toothbrush but bring your wildest dreams to life. They excel at offering a great experience you couldn’t find anywhere else. Essentially, they are so in tune with the universe that they can create the impossible (e.g. Disney and Apple).
Disney’s UK Christmas advert is a perfect example of the Magician archetype in use. While pulling at your heartstring and making you tear up like only Disney can, they show how having them in your life (even as small as a Mickey doll) can be transformative. Moreover, how it has lasting impact from one generation to another. They are promising to deliver a little bit of magic (or inspiration) in our everyday lives.
On the surface it looks like the Hero and the Magician could be one in the same. They’re both trying to have a positive impact on your life. However, considering the above examples, how they go about impacting your life is very different.
P.S. It’s never too late or too soon to conduct an archetype exercise. With 2020 coming to an end, this can be a great new year workshop!