Do you know what a brand archetype is?

The theory of Archetypes is a ground breaking model developed by Psychiatrist Carl Jung.   His ethos was that all humans share a set of unconscious memories and ideas relative to peoples behaviour and personalities.  Unknown to us these perceptions are grouped into themes and characters which emerge in our dreams and then enter into our reality through media.  We subconsciously relate to these characters and concepts and even mould our personalities to match.

Sound complicated?  Well maybe not. Think about it!

How many times have you seen a movie with:

A rebellious magical wizard?

Wizards are wise, caring but rebellious to defeat evil

A rogue super cop?

Brave, heroic and a little crazy rogue supercops

Or evil deranged bad-guys? 

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All villains are psychotic in some way

These characters share the same traits, persona and image in almost every movie, and you can tell who’s who from the get go.  It’s like we’re preloaded with this information without realising it. 

We know these are fictional characters and it’s just a movie that we’re watching but we still take a little of these characters and do three things:

  1. We ingest them into our own personalities. 
  2. We associate other people with these character traits.
  3. We build more stereotypes and perceptions of people based on these characters.

Still, sound far-fetched?  Well here’s an example of how this theory has personally affected you. 

Have you ever seen a prison movie?  I’m sure you have and it’s more than likely that you along with most people have never been to prison before and therefore have no idea of what it’s really like to be in prison.  Our only perception of prison life is what we see of it in movies and television but that is enough to affect your own personality.  For example…

…If you were a Prison Guard then you may adopt traits of what you think a typical Prison Guard has: authoritative, righteous and serious, rather than show your true personality which might be a little softer and forgiving. 

…If you’re role was switched from Prison Guard to Prisoner then you may adhere to traits of a typical prisoner instead: resourceful, careful yet tough. 

In either case your adapting your personality to fit an unconscious impression of what a Prison Guard/Prisoner should be or by what society is deeming a prison guard/prisoner to be, based on an idealised image built in our own heads.

This is the concept of archetypes, and an example of how it deeply affects our psyche.  We use archetypes more than we think to identify and develop a personality, and we can all relate to common and popular ones seen in most movies and books such as the hero, the villain, the comic relief, the saviour or the mother.

So, what has this got to do with branding?

What is a Brand Archetype?

Brand Archetyping forms a cornerstone of good brand communication and there are 12 archetypes that brands commonly associate themselves with. 

  • The Sage – The teacher and mentor – BBC
  • The Innocent – Fearful but free and happy – Innocent Smoothies
  • The Hero – The warrior and champion – Nike
  • The regular guy – The friend and the equal – Talk Talk
  • The Caregiver – Nurturer & Protector – Johnson & Johnsons
  • The creator – Creative, authentic visionary – Apple
  • The explorer – Adventurer and pioneer – Jeep
  • The rebel – Revolutionary and disruptive – Virgin
  • The lover – Relationships and emotional – Magnum
  • The ruler – The leader and role model – Rolex
  • The jester – Joy and excitement – Tango
  • The magician – Questions and experiments – Dyson
Brand Archetype wheel
Click to zoom in!

Should you use brand archetyping for your business?

Yes.  Using archetypes for branding not only defines a brands persona but it defines a brands role in the world.  It defines its purpose and creates a concept that people unconsciously recognise and relate to.  It confirms preconceptions and subconsciously builds trust with your selected target audience. In short, it’s a better way of connecting with people.

The only question is…Which archetype are you?

Book a 1-2-1 brand strategy workshop with me and we’ll create your:

  • Brand Values
  • Brand Mission
  • brand Vision
  • Brand Purpose
  • Brand Position
  • Brand Language
  • Brand Audience
  • Brand Users
  • Brand Archetype

I’ll deliver a communication strategy that’ll help your brand to connect with your customers, regulate your marketing activities and guide your business into its own unique space in the marketplace.



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