Brand Archetypes: What They Are & Why They Are Important

By Dillon Hesse

Brand archetypes

What Are Archetypes?

Archetypes are defined as: “a very typical example of a certain person or thing”. Historically, archetypes have been used in literature to create unique personalities that readers can connect with and understand. There are 12 archetypes that are most relevant and you might already be familiar with a few, such as, heroes, outlaws, lovers, and explorers to name a few.

Why Are They Important? 

So, you might be curious as to how this applies to your brand? Well in today’s marketing environment where social media is king, having a defined brand archetype can help differentiate you from your competition, build a unique relationship with your target market, and potentially grab the attention of new audiences. A defined archetype should help direct the way you speak to your audience and how you present your content. Listed below are the multiple archetypes that a brand can align with, a quick description explaining the archetype, and brands who align with each of these archetypes. 

A List of Archetypes

The Explorer

The explorer archetype has a core desire for freedom. The idea is that by exploring the world, a more rewarding and fulfilled life is achieved. Subaru is a great example of this archetype. The automaker is able to differentiate themselves from their competitors by connecting with an audience that shares the desire to explore and be “free” with their vehicles. 

The Innocent

The innocent archetype has a core desire for happiness. Brands that align with this archetype typically try to market themselves as happy places/spaces. Think of McDonald’s as an innocent archetype, because not only do they use the tagline, “Put a smile on”, but they market their meals as “Happy Meals”.

The Sage

The sage archetype has the core desire for truth and knowledge. The idea is that they are using intelligence and analysis to better understand the world. Time Magazine, for example, makes a genuine effort to use data and facts when reporting on events and stories. By doing so, they are considered a very reputable, knowledgeable, and trusted source of information. 

The Hero

The hero archetype has the core desire for mastery through courageous efforts. Being a hero archetype doesn’t necessarily mean you are “saving the world”, but more so inspiring your audience to push themselves or take a leap. Nike is a brand that exudes the hero archetype, especially with their tagline, “Just Do It”. Nike inspires many people to make the effort to better (or even challenge) themselves while using their products.

The Outlaw

The outlaw archetype has the core desire for revolution. Outlaws can be viewed more so as “disruptors”. The overarching goal for the outlaw is to change the way things are done and not be afraid to do so. Uber is a perfect example of a company that took the concept of taxis and created a platform that allowed anyone to be their own taxi or request a ride. While it might be a way of life now, when they first launched they disrupted how we travel from point A to point B.

The Jester

The jester has the core desire for entertainment. The jester archetype uses humor and joy to connect with others. Skittles has used this archetype to their advantage. Skittles are simple, fruity candy, but they approach their advertising and marketing in a way that makes you laugh. Check out the “Skittle-Pox” commercial for a weird, but definitely memorable example here.

The Lover

The lover archetype has the core desire for intimacy. Typically, lover archetypes want you to associate romantic, sensual, and passionate moments with them. Kay Jewelers is a great example of the lover archetype. Their tagline, “every kiss begins with Kay”, is their way of telling their audiences that their products will inspire love. 

The Magician

The magician has the core desire for making dreams come true. The magician archetype uses “special abilities” to create awe-inspiring moments for their audiences. Disney does this best. For years, countless movies, tv-series, toys, and amusement parks have amazed audiences, young and old. Their amusement parks even use the tagline, “Where Dreams Come True”. 

The Ruler

The ruler archetype has the core desire for power. The ruler archetype is best known for its “leadership” when it comes to their audiences. Typically, expensive and luxurious brands align with this archetype. Mercedes Benz is a prime example of a brand that “rules” their industry. They market their vehicles as the best of the best and inform the auto industry of the latest comfort and safest technology. 

The Creator

The creator archetype has the core desire for innovation. The creator always wants to invent things that people can not live without. Lego is a brand that reflects this archetype. When they advertise to their audiences, they show pretty incredible structures and designs made from their legos. It helps inspire their audiences to imagine what they can create themselves. 

The Caregiver

The caregiver archetype has the core desire for nurture. When talking about the caregiver archetype, think about how they want to protect their audiences from harm and give back. Brands that align with the caregiver archetype typically want to better the world and help others. Toms shoes are a good reflection of the caregiver archetype. They help others in need with every purchase of a pair of Toms and their audience is eager to buy from a brand that gives back.

The Everyman/woman

The everyman/woman archetype has the core desire for belonging. The goal of the everyman archetype is mass appeal. They want to be liked by all and are typically very generalized. For example, Levi’s makes an effort to relate to everyone with their jeans and markets to audiences of all kinds with the tagline, “Live In Levi’s”.

Find Your Company’s Brand Archetype 

In conclusion, you can see how brands have taken an initiative to align with an archetype. Not only do these help their overall brand identity, but they help elevate how they market products and services to their audiences. The next question is, which archetype do you think your brand aligns with? At Advantix Digital, our creative team is creating exercises that help clients define their archetype. If you’re interested in learning more about these exercises and how we can assist you with defining your brand’s archetype, contact us today!