What are Brand Archetypes?
Have you ever noticed that there are timeless characters who show up throughout history, legend, art, and popular culture?
These are archetypes: Universally recognized figures that stand for certain basic human motivations and emotions.
Archetypes make sense to us. Our brains naturally organize ideas by grouping like things, and by seeing patterns. Recognizing common traits in people and symbols helps us to process and understand a story. Those commonalities cue us to feel particular emotions. And they trigger certain gut-level responses.
So, how do archetypes relate to branding? Well, the answer is simple: In the most essential way possible.
As humans, we want to connect with people – not products or services. So, when a brand takes on a primary character archetype, people recognize it – they get it. When people understand your brand, they can begin to like and trust you, which leads to sales.
And interestingly, the word Archetype is from the Greek “arche” and “typos,” words which mean “beginning” and “imprint” respectively. So, an archetype could be thought of as something that makes an initial impression on us that sticks… which is a goal of a strong brand, too.
Archetypes were studied by psychiatrist Carl Jung in the early 20th century. Later, at the beginning of this century, leadership consultant Carol Pearson applied Jung’s concepts to business and marketing.
In her book, The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes (co-authored by Pearson and Margaret Mark), twelve individual types are identified and analyzed. As part of that analysis, specific traits, drivers, and values were identified in each archetype.
This book was the source of the material that sparked an “ah-ha moment” for me several years back. Since then, I’ve been using archetypes to help entrepreneurs launch and scale impactful brands.
My method, The Clarity Code™, is built around my strong belief that when businesses act more human, we’ll be more successful. When we show more personality, are honest about our values and beliefs – and if we work hard to make a real difference in people’s lives – traditional success will follow.
You can harness the power of archetypes too. By figuring out what yours is, you give yourself an effective and enduring framework around which to craft your brand.
So, are you ready to learn your archetype? My tried and true method for identifying it is my Brand Personality Quiz. Taken more than 100,000 times (Crazy!), it’s the tool you need to get started with adopting this approach.
Want to know your brand's archetype?
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