Before discovering archetypes, my “brand” was unclear at best. I struggled to determine which aspects of myself to highlight in order to really resonate with my audience. Heck, I struggled to fully understand who my ideal audience should even be! This lack of clarity did more than leave me feeling scrambled and unsure; it showed to my clients as well, and prevented me from properly explaining my big ideas to new leads.
Rather than focus on what makes my brand unique, I found myself mimicking other successful entrepreneurs, trying to follow in their footsteps. It didn’t take me long to realize that this wasn’t working and only left me spinning my wheels. While there were some amazing strategies involved, even the best marketing plans will fall flat if your brand is unstable.
Here’s a peek at what my brand looked like before archetypes…
As you can see, I still had the same goal for my business – to help other entrepreneurs infuse personality into their brands. The problem was, I couldn’t explain how to do it. Even my own brand personality was unclear… so why would someone hire me to navigate theirs?
All of that changed with brand archetypes. Rather than just another run-of-the-mill brand strategist, archetypes allowed me to take a psychology-first approach. Not only did it strengthen my own brand presence, but it helped me to teach other entrepreneurs how they can build strong, genuine brands by leveraging their own individual personality traits and habits.
The Internet is vast. But you already knew that! The very same magic of WiFi that makes it possible to start your own business from home in your PJs enables hundreds of thousands of other digital entrepreneurs to do the same – and many of them will be your direct contenders. Online competition is fierce! That’s why having a deep understanding of your brand is of the utmost importance.
Ask yourself, “Who am I at my best self; my strongest?”
I’m a Magician and Sage – but we’ll get into what that means later… For now, let’s take a moment to make sure we’re on the same page about what brand archetypes are and why they’re so important to the success of your business.
Archetypes are a set of beliefs, personality traits, values, themes or metaphors, weaknesses, motivations, and fears that define a character. That’s what makes brand archetypes so powerful – they build connections on a deep, emotional level… Not unlike the way we decide who we want to be friends with or date.
It’s been estimated that as much as 95% of the decision-making process is unconscious (based on emotions and feelings unknown to or uncontrolled by us).
In addition to helping you create desire in your ideal audience, archetypes are an impressive tool for finding focus in your brand, filtering on/off-brand decisions, standing out in a crowded market, and building understanding (both internally and externally). They’re also timeless and cross-cultural, so once you familiarize yourself, you’ll begin to see these archetypes pop up everywhere – in brands, television characters, and even your own loved ones!
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Introducing the 12 Archetypes
Each archetype comes with its own set of Demand Triggers. These are the traits that best define your brand’s personality – and ultimately, the reasons why people choose to work with you instead of the other guy. Here’s a breakdown of each archetype and an example of a popular brand that fits each type.
Magician / Alchemist / Healer:
- You provide hope to achieve results that seem impossible.
- You connect them to their inner-power (or to a spiritual power).
- They’re fascinated by the way you think and operate.
- What the people want: TO CHANGE.
- Major brand: Apple.
Girl/Guy Next Door (Everyman):
- You appear very real and normal.
- They’re connected into a community they didn’t know existed.
- You understand and share their feelings.
- What the people want: TO BE UNDERSTOOD.
- Major brand: Wal-Mart.
Maverick / Rebel / Destroyer:
- You are bold enough to destroy what’s wrong in the world.
- You’re willing to speak up and say things no one else will.
- You form your opinions independent of authority.
- What the people want: TO REBEL.
- Major brand: Harley Davidson.
Sage / Mentor / Teacher:
- You do the research so they don’t have to.
- People feel informed.
- They admire your intellect and curiosity.
- They trust your content and opinions to be validated and proven.
- What the people want: WISDOM.
- Major brand: The Wall Street Journal.
Explorer / Guide / Seeker:
- You have the courage to try things other people won’t.
- You give them permission to shed their conceptions of what is expected or required.
- They live vicariously through you.
- What the people want: TO EXPERIENCE MORE.
- Major brand: The North Face.
Entertainer / Performer / Comic:
- You make them laugh and otherwise forget about their daily stress.
- You remind them to enjoy the moment they are in.
- You have a strong sense of humor.
- What the people want: TO ENJOY THE MOMENT.
- Major brand: Old Spice.
Royal / CEO / Leader:
- You remind people to think big.
- They’re inspired by your amazing results.
- You help them shed limiting beliefs and scarcity mindsets.
- What the people want: SIGNIFICANCE.
- Major brand: BMW.
Lover / Siren / Partner:
- You encourage them to follow their heart, even if it’s impractical.
- You remove their guilt about giving into temptations and desires.
- They feel connected to you emotionally.
- What the people want: TO FEEL PASSION.
- Major brand: Häagen-Dazs.
Caregiver / Servant / Mother:
- You’re always there when they need you.
- They’ll never be able to adequately repay you for everything you’ve given.
- You’re generous.
- What the people want: TO BE TAKEN CARE OF.
- Major brand: American Red Cross.
Hero / Warrior / Protector:
- You always accomplish what you set out to do, no matter how big.
- You have a tough and intelligent assessment of people and situations.
- You hold them accountable to take action.
- What the people want: TO REACH GOALS.
- Major brand: Nike.
Innocent / Natural / Joyful:
- You remind them of a simpler time.
- You make them feel optimistic.
- They admire your purity of beliefs and vision.
- What the people want: TO SIMPLIFY.
- Major brand: Coca-Cola.
Creator / Inventor / Artist:
- You show them new ideas and products that they never dreamed were possible.
- You teach them your craft so they can improve their own creative pursuits.
- You inspire them to see the beauty in life.
- What the people want: TO BE INSPIRED.
- Major brand: LEGO.
Which brand archetype are you?
Since launching my Brand Personality Quiz back in 2013, it’s been taken over 80K times (updated stat: July 2018). If you haven’t already, give it a go! Your results will help you identify and understand your most influential archetypes to create a cohesive, relatable, and well-rounded brand experience.
(Go on. Take the quiz. I’ll wait!)
Once you’ve uncovered your primary archetypes, it’s time to live them out loud.
It isn’t enough to just know your archetypes. In order to build your best, most powerful brand, your archetypes need to come through in your message, aesthetic, and culture. Archetypes are all-encompassing, and play an important role in every decision you make for your brand.
Your brand archetype should appear in a myriad of ways throughout your branding, including:
Is your brand vibrant and bright? Soft and feminine? Rugged and powerful? The colors you choose for your brand are a reflection of how you want your audience to feel. Make sure they’re aligned with your persona and message.
How do you operate internally? Do you work in quiet cubicles or a lively, open office environment? How do you provide value for your employees? Do you invest in educational resources, team retreats, or other special perks? Consider what these things say about your company’s ideals.
Similar to color choices, your fonts say a great deal about who you are as a brand. Do you use clean and modern sans-serif fonts, classics like Times New Roman, artsy brush-style fonts, etc.? What feelings do your font choices evoke for your visitors?
You are also a representation of your brand. So, even if you *actually* work at home in sweatpants, consider whether or not your clients need to know that. Your personal fashion choices help set the tone for your brand, so make sure to put your best foot (or shoe, rather) forward.
Image styling is a HUGE part of building a recognizable brand. Did you know that humans process images 60,000 times faster than text? While your images should be varied to avoid boredom, even small similarities like a softened filter or color balance can really tie your brand’s presence together.
Metaphors, Themes, and Stories
Your messaging plays a key role in attracting and converting your ideal audience. Consider what you share with your audience… Are you sharing personal anecdotes and embarrassing stories? Corporate wins? LOL-worthy blog posts? All of these choices speak to your brand’s identity and have the potential to build a strong bond with your clients.
Processes and Procedures
Everyone operates their business differently. While there isn’t a go-to right or wrong answer for standards of procedure, you’ll want to ensure that your workflow suits your brand. For example, if your primary archetype is Royalty (CEO), you’ll probably want to have more structure in place than, say, a Creator / Artist type.
Shapes and Patterns
When selecting shapes and patterns for your brand – whether it’s part of your logo, website, sales page, etc. – it’s crucial to understand how these styles are perceived. If you’re a humble Caregiver archetype, it wouldn’t make much sense for you to rock leopard print, now would it?
Words and Phrases
Just as important as any other item on this list, the words and phrases you use are an integral part of your brand’s identity. There’s a reason why the Thesaurus exists… Even though some words share the same meaning, they may result in different feelings, attitudes, and associations. Never forget who you’re speaking to.
Together, all of these variables come together to create a robust, full-circle brand experience. By allowing your archetypes to shine through, you’re giving your brand a genuine personality that clients can connect with and relate to. Remember: humans make decisions emotionally! So, give your potential customers and clients something to feel strongly about.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a Magician and Sage. This means that not only do I help my clients achieve their most audacious goals, but I take the grunt work out of the process by doing the research for them. My curious and analytical nature naturally gravitated me toward finding proven solutions to common problems, and my desire to help others inspired me to share my findings with the world!
So, here we are…
Hopefully by now, you have a better understanding of how your archetypes play into your brand identity.
But, what kind of Magician/Sage would I be if I didn’t have some awesome tools up my sleeve to help you live your brand?
If you’re finding it difficult to pinpoint ways to live your brand, I want you to know I’m here for you! If you need help answering these questions for your brand, I implore you to take YOUR archetype’s Brandfluency course. I’ll show you everything you need to know about how to establish a clear and cohesive brand that fits your archetype to a T! (Plus you’ll get a swipe kit with branding solutions and examples specific to your type!)
Sign up here and breathe life into your brand. I’ll be in your corner, happy to help!