Who could have guessed?
On that fateful day in 2013, I was in full nerd mode. I was down a deeeeep rabbit hole of internet research.
And I stumbled upon the jenky website that would change my life.
That moment would change so many others’ lives, too. Because in it, I discovered Carol S. Pearson’s brand archetypes.
Although the site I found them on looked like it had been created at the dawn of the internet 😂, the content was still jaw-dropping to me. As I read about the archetypes, I had to know what mine were. But, there was no easy way to determine this. I had to spend HOURS reading about all the ‘types, their motivations, their values, their characteristics and influences… (Okay… I admit it. It was my pleasure. ‘Cause, you know… Nerd here.)
I finally settled on the two that were ‘me,’ of course. And I knew I wanted to share this amazing tool I’d discovered with other entrepreneurs.
But how? How could I make it simple for small business owners to quickly assess what archetypes would best help them leverage their unique genius?
I decided to create a tool I could use to spread the knowledge. And, so… The Brand Archetype Quiz was born. I created it. I tested it. I improved upon it. I shared it. Others shared it. (LOTS of others shared it!)
And, now? It’s been taken more than 100,000 times. ←←← What what? Yup.
(I still can never write that without my heart racing a bit. Every time this crazy-pants number hits another milestone, it feels so profound and humbling. I know that – through the entrepreneur “ripple effect” – the Quiz has made a serious impact on many, many people.)
And to think it all started on one random day, on one (super-random!) site!
Since so many people take the quiz, I get all sorts of questions about how to interpret the results. The most common one is:
“Kaye, how do I CHOOSE my archetypes?”
So, in this article I’m going to share the 4-step process I recommend for choosing which archetypes to use in your brand.
As usual, if you prefer to watch the video on this topic, it’s comin’ at you below! 😉 If you want to dive a bit deeper, the article follows.
Quick note: If you’re NOT among the 100,000+ who have taken my Quiz, head over and take it NOW! It’s super-quick and the rest of this article will make So. Much. More. Sense. after you do 😉
Archetypes help you leverage your unique genius.
They help you lean into your strengths. Often, entrepreneurs report that discovering their archetypes gave them “permission” to fully be themselves. It’s one of the reasons (maybe my favorite reason!) that I value them so highly as a tool.
My archetype quiz gives you your top four results and a percentage breakdown of each.
Sometimes, the results from the quiz are super clear. One or two of your result percentages are way ahead of all of the others – giving you a good sense of which may be a fit. An example of this type of result:
Other times, the results are not so clear. Here’s what that might look like:
(Sometimes, quiz-takers actually get an evenly-split 25% of four different typesI It’s not super-common, but it does happen! I affectionately call them my “divergent” people. 😉
Which brings me to this important tidbit…
We all relate to many archetypes, but choose your top two.
The key thing to understanding archetypes is that they embody very universal human values. They’re universal for a reason. They’re relatable for a reason. We see ourselves in them.
And, as complex humans, we are multidimensional beings. In reality, we all have many of the archetypes within our own personalities. And many of those play into how we interact with – and impact – the world.
When I reflect on my own personality, I see many of the archetypes.
- I’m a mom to two littles, so I certainly have some Caregiver archetype in me. 💜
- I’m a crossfit junkie and a former high school athlete, so I could be the Hero. 💪🏼
- I love to travel. We hiked up to Everest base camp last year… So maybe there’s some Explorer in me. ⛰
- I’m a super nerd. I love to read and I learned to code before I learned some basic life skills 😂 – so that’s the Sage coming through. 🤓
- Through my work, I help people transform by discovering their innate brand advantage – the internal power that they have to grow incredible brands and businesses. Behold, Kaye the Magician! 😉
But, if I tried to be all of those things in my brand all at the same time, I would confuse the heck out of you.
(Heck! I would confuse the heck out of myself!)
I wouldn’t have this effective tool (the archetypes) to narrow down or filter through my decisions. I’d constantly be getting inspiration from everywhere – and trying to be everything to everyone. (Ugh. Just writing that exhausts me!) So, that’s what we want to avoid. And that’s exactly what the archetypes help us to do.
My point here is two-fold. ——>
First, we all have multiple archetypes within our actual personalities, because we are complex humans.
Second, it’s still important to choose your TOP archetype(s) and lean into them – when being your brand.
For these reasons, I always recommend to clients and students that they choose a primary and a secondary archetype to focus on. (More on that later!) For now, let’s start with…
The 4-Step R-O-A-D map for choosing your archetypes
Regardless of how conclusive (or not!) your quiz results seem, I recommend that you follow a four-step “R-O-A-D map” process for evaluating what you’ve learned from the quiz – and for making your choice.
(Note: It is most definitely a choice! YOU, my genius entrepreneur friend, get to DECIDE your top archetypes – regardless of the results of your quiz!)
I love my acronyms… so each letter in R-O-A-D represents a step. Okay, ready? Let’s review ‘em…
R-O-A-D Map Step 1 – Research.
If you are just coming across archetypes, the best thing that you can do post-quiz is to learn more about them.
You can start with the Archetype inspiration packet that I send to quiz takers (upon request at the completion of the quiz). It provides a quick crash course in the ‘type or ‘types that you got.
(Pssssst… feel free to email us at (getbranded @ Kayeputnam . com – no spaces) if you’ve taken the quiz and wish to access alternative inspiration kits. We send them out via email alllll the time! For example… if you received the Innocent packet, but you’re drawn to / curious about Caregiver, hit us up!)
I also have website pages dedicated to each of the 12 archetypes, and you can find them – along with links for even more free resources – here.
The key is not to make that first impression just based on what the archetype is called, but to learn what it stands for. Learn what the emotions are behind it. Learn what that psychological motivations are behind it. Learn what it embodies, so you can make a more distinct or more informed decision when you’re ready.
Another powerful way to research the archetypes that resonate for you? Start noticing how they show up in the world.
I literally cannot walk into a mall or a grocery store anymore without seeing all of the archetypes everywhere! Every brand I see is using them. (Which, BTW, is a strong testament to their power, yes??? 😉)
Shopping for cereal? Wheatties = Hero. Lucky Charms = Entertainer. Kashi = Innocent and Guy/Girl Next Door….
Shopping for skincare? Kiehls = Guy/Girl Next Door. Clinique = Innocent. Chanel = Royalty. NARS = Lover.
I don’t know if I just blessed you with this new awareness… or doomed you to a life of seeing archetypes e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e now 🤣… but I guarantee you’ll see ‘em!
(Side note: The average person in the grocery line WILL TOTALLY look at you funny if you eyeball the items on her conveyer belt – and point out what archetypes all her chosen brands are leveraging. Fair warning. Might be based on true story.)
Anyway… the more that you learn about your archetypes – or just get acquainted with them – the more you’ll be able to start making those connections for yourself.
On to Step 2…!
Pin this article to reference later! 📌
Pin this article to reference later! 📌
R-O-A-D Map Step 2 – Observe.
Now that you’re learning and discovering, it’s time to observe your internal reactions to each of the archetypes in your results. Sometimes people embrace them – and essentially fall in love with the fact that they got specific archetype (s) as their answers. 😍
Other people have the exact opposite reaction – and have a very visceral sense of rejection to the results they got. Like, “I’m not the caregiver,” or, “I’m not the innocent. “How dare this quiz tell me that I am?” 😠
This second reaction happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the archetype(s) in question are actually very primary parts of our personalities – but we’re trying to suppress them. Or sometimes maybe it was just a weird day. Maybe you answered the questions in a weird way, and your mood, current challenges, etc. were in play.
(Or maybe you’re just a Maverick and you tend to zig when told to zag. Love you, Mavericks! 🤣)
Both reactions (love and embrace – or hate and reject!) are totally normal – and both are a perfectly fine place to start the process of deciding.
Remember – You have veto power.
And it makes sense to choose your top archetypes based on who you naturally are… to choose the ones that you naturally gravitate to. This will make them easy to live out loud in your brand. (You don’t want to be swimming upstream all the time!)
You want to get to embody what you naturally are when you’re being your best. So, observe how you react and feel as you consider your archetype results – and trust those gut reactions!
R-O-A-D Map Step 3 – Analyze the market.
This is where things get interesting!
Let’s transition from observing to analyzing. Flip the script and look at the context in which your brand is going to live.
How does your archetype fit into the industry you serve, or the niche you’re in? And, where does that fit (or not fit) with the positioning your desire to have in that industry / niche?
Here’s an example: Say you’re a nonprofit, and you got “Caregiver” as your top archetype. This may be a good fit, and feel like the right positioning for you. If so, great! Go with it!
Or, you might make the strategic decision that you don’t want to choose Caregiver as your primary – because everybody else is using that same type of messaging, visuals, and personality – and it’s your desire to differentiate your brand.
In the latter case, you could totally go against the grain and choose one of one of the archetypes that came up as “runner up” in your quiz results. For example perhaps “Maverick” showed up as your third archetype, and that would be a good choice – because not many in your market are doing that, and it feels like a fit for your values.
(In truth, even if Maverick didn’t even come up in your results at all – but you connect with it strongly – you can still choose it. Y-O-U get to choose, remember?)
During this time of analysis, it’s critical to know that there is room in any market for any archetype.
You do not have to be the Caregiver if your brand is a non-profit.
You do not have to be the Hero if you are a personal trainer.
You do not have to be the Creator if you’re an artisan.
In fact, there is often power in choosing something that isn’t the “obvious” choice.
Let’s look at some “big brand inspiration” to further illustrate this… And, since I’m hungry while I’m writing this… I think I’ll make our example ICE CREAM! 🍦 (Also, I’m ob-SESSED with gelato, because we lived in Italy for three years!) So…
All ice cream is pretty decadent, right? I think we can all agree on that. (I mean it’s made from cream!)
The Haagen-Dazs brand leans into that decadence, and uses the “Lover” archetype. Everything in their branding (their packaging, the music in their ads, the sultry slow motion close-up shots of a lipstick-laden mouth devouring some Haagen-Dazs… even the way the words “Haagen-Dazs” sound… It’s all so “Lover.”
If you desire an indulgent, sensory, (even sexy!) experience, you might snag some Haagen-Dazs.
Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry’s has a completely different vibe – with their political messages, very irreverent visuals, and fun names. They’re selling a very similar product (in similar sizes, via similar distribution, etc) but the brand personality and the brand experience are very different. (They’re leveraging some “Entertainer” and some “Maverick,” too!)
So, if you connect to those values… if you want to have a chuckle and feel connected to a cause or two while you eat your treat – those two dudes might be your choice. (I like their Truffle Kerfuffle flavor! 🤪)
Blue Bell “Homemade Ice Cream” is the Innocent. Friendly’s is using “Guy / Girl Next Door.” (What does your fave brand use? … Think about it. Just don’t go asking everyone in the checkout line… As per above. Security may be called. 😂)
So, look around your market and consider what the best strategic decision is going to be for you.
R-O-A-D Map Step 4 – Decide.
The last and most important step is to decide. Decide what your primary archetype will be. AND, choose a secondary archetype, too.
(Remember, I recommend that you choose two – to give your branding some extra interest and dimension! To learn about blending your two chosen ‘types, check out this video!)
You’ve done your research. You’ve observed your own reactions to the options. You’ve considered how your archetype candidates fit into the context of your unique market.
You were thorough in Steps 1 through 3, and you are ready to decide.
Now, I just want to address some resistance that comes up here for many of my students and clients… While this is the most important step, it can also be hard. (This decision can range from a no-brainer… to a little uncomfortable… to downright challenging – and ALL of those are normal and expected!) For those who find it hard, it’s often because they fear that – by choosing – they are somehow cutting themselves off from other possibilities that might serve them.
And, you are, really! The word “decide” has its roots in the words for “to cut off.” But, it’s critical to decide – so you can move forward.
You are the CEO of your business. You are not made to be stuck. You can make this decision.
And you must.
Because if you’re trying to be everything to everyone, you’re only diluting your message. You’re confusing people. (And the confused mind doesn’t buy.) Plus, if you don’t decide, you’ll drive yourself crazy with trying to make every decision from scratch at every point – and not having a North Star to point your way.
If you do need help with deciding – and if you’re checking out the Brandfluency archetype courses* – you can book a 15-minute “Archetype Analysis call” with my team. We’ll have a quick talk to help you choose which of the 12 courses (each one corresponds to one of the 12 archetypes!) will serve you best.
In closing a quick note about the Brandfluency courses – These are the most powerful tool in your arsenal – for learning more about each of the archetypes in a very deep way.
A deep understanding of your archetype(s) (and as a result, your brand) allows you to:
- Stand out against the competition with a strong brand identity
- Be more YOU, without all the fluff and filler
- Make business decisions faster and with more confidence
- Turn clients into brand fanatics, happy to pay what you deserve
To learn more about the courses – and how they can help you put your brand’s very best forward – head over to this page!