Have you heard of the term brand archetypes before? Whether you’re familiar with the term or not, you will have encountered them throughout your day to day life. They are the characters that we know and love in movies, tv shows and stories. Each of the archetypal characters have certain personality traits, that we can recognise and relate to, and it’s because of this, that they are used within the branding process.
They help us to build out a personality for the brand and help to create a more human connection with our audience, which is such an important step in the brand strategy process.
The archetypes were first created by psychologist, Carl Jung in the early 20th century, who discovered that there were a group of traits that model certain personas, and that they are universally recognised.
Though the names have changed slightly since Jung first spoke of them, these archetypes and their traits have become key in storytelling and brand development .
When we build a brand it is not about designing a logo, that is just a very small piece in puzzle. A brand is built on many different aspects; vision, values, positioning, storytelling and brand personality. Having a defined personality helps us to stay aligned to the bigger picture.
A brand that has a clearly defined personality, helps to evoke the right feelings and reinforce the overall message of the brand. In each of the examples below I’ve included a video or advert created by one of the featured brands to showcase them using their archetypes to full effect, often creating a really powerful emotional connection.
A quick overview of the 12 brand archetypes
The Innocent AKA Cheerleader / Purist / Idealist
Core Desire: Safety / Simplify life
Message: Simplicity is the beauty of life
Brand voice: Optimistic, honest, humble
Strategy in business: Be positive, encouraging,
Innocent brands: Dove / Aveeno / WholeFoods
The Innocent brand in advertising – Dove
The Sage AKA Teacher / Mentor / Guide
Core Desire: Knowledge / Wisdom
Message: Wonder is the beginning of wisdom
Brand voice: Knowledgeable, factual, Assured
Strategy in business: Share insights, guide audience,
Sage brands : Google, BBC, Forbes
The Sage brand in advertising – Google
The Explorer AKA Adventurer / Seeker / Pioneer
Core Desire: Freedom / Live life to the full
Message: Life is for living
Brand voice: Daring, encouraging, fearless
Strategy in business : Experience new things, escape boredom