Creating a brand that customers will love and will withstand the market's constant changes is a challenging task. Brand archetypes might not be the newest trend in brand building, yet it is an effective approach that can elevate your business.
According to a survey conducted by Salsify, when given the opportunity to pick between similar products, 46% of the tested U.S. consumers reported that they would pay more for a higher-priced option as long as they like and trust the brand.
Making your brand likable and trustworthy is about making it “alive”. Your brand needs a colorful personality that attracts and retains the audience. But that might not be enough to make you pop out in the oversaturated market world. That is when brand archetypes come into play.
What are they, and how do they work? We are ready to spill it all out, so let's dive right into it!
The Brand Archetype Theory
Psychology plays a central role in brand building with the theory of brand archetypes. Carl Jung shared the belief that humans use universal symbolism to understand complex concepts. His work on the collective unconscious played a huge part in the development of the so-called archetypes. Archetypes are universal images, part of our collective unconscious. With this in mind, we can say they exist everywhere, including brands.
Let’s look at how we can use archetypes to understand different audiences, how brands work, and why people like them:
- The Lover
- The Caregiver
- The Creator
- The Innocent
- The Sage
- The Magician
- The Explorer
- The Jester
- The Regular Guy
- The Hero
- The Ruler
- The Rebel
Always ready to spread love, the audience of this brand archetype has an affection for sensual and nurturing experiences with the brand. Lover brands want to indulge in intimate experiences with the audiences and often use affirmation of beauty or value as their branding style.
The audiences of the lover brands are always hungry for meaningful and intimate relationships. Therefore brands should create empowering messages that make the audiences feel loved and appreciated.
ServiceNow, the B2B firm that provides a wide range of solutions that make employees' lives just a tad easier, likes to remind the audience that spreading love and acknowledgment is the way to go.
Businesses with selfless personalities, driven by the desire to protect the audiences, especially those in need, are walking caregivers. Not only reactive but also preventative, caregiver brands are here to serve others with the idea that they do what they do for the greater good.
Showing their good hearts and putting customers first, businesses in the education, healthcare, and non-profit industries make great caregivers. Just like the brands, the audiences of caregivers want to ensure the safety of everyone around them.
Furthermore, considering their target audience always looks for support and compassion, caregiver brands always create the most emotional marketing campaigns. A typical Caregiver is Corporate Health Partners.
The B2B company prioritizes mental and physical wellness in the work environment and educates employers and their respective employees on the importance of these two pillars.
No other archetype can express itself better than the creator. Driven by their constant need to build unique creations, the audience of this archetype values deeply innovative designs and products.
Creator brands always have to share motivational content, aiming to unlock the audiences’ imagination and desire to create greatness. They pamper their audiences with new and exciting products and campaigns, meaning people don’t appreciate seeing traditional advertising or mediocre products with already-known features.
The audience of a creator brand won’t mind paying extra for a premium package as long as it gets to unleash their creativity.
If you are a creator B2B brand, like Adobe or Unity, you should be doing your best to launch new solutions and products regularly and always strive to deliver extraordinary experiences.
With an optimistic outlook, the innocent brand archetype wants to ensure the safety and happiness of its followers. Their soul is too pure to have any ill feelings toward others and is able to see the inner beauty of others.
To be one of the Innocents, you need to have positive, honest, and straightforward communication with your audience. Any negative or guilt-based communication is sure to turn off your potential clients.
Slack’s Instagram bio clearly shows its drive and core mission, making it clear as day that the company is part of the Innocents.
Always seeking truth, wisdom, or knowledge, the Sages celebrate people’s constant desire to learn and evolve. The audience of a sage brand consists of lifelong learners, always eager to grow.
To appeal to such an audience, one must always use higher-level vocabulary that pays homage to their intelligence.
With Google as the primary Sage brand representative, the ideal industries are media networks, research foundations, and universities. However, you don’t have to be a media giant to be a good Sage.
Medallia is a B2B company that analyzes customer feedback data in real time and shares its actionable insights with other organizations to help them on their way.
Clever and charismatic, the magician is here to make the audience’s dreams come true. Able to solve all kinds of problems through transformational experiences, brands sharing the magician personality hate repetition and are always ready to offer the next magical adventure to the audience.
Always having something new and innovative to offer all of its business clients, General Electric is a pure Magician.
Magician brands always have more than one buyer persona that they attract thanks to their ability to provide new magical experiences.
Always on the look for the next big thing, the explorer archetype hates conformity and the rugged environment that comes with it. To appeal to audiences that are feeling adventurous, you need to challenge them. Promote outdoor activities and always push them to a journey of self-exploration with your brand.
To appeal even more to your explorer audience, acknowledge the confinements of today’s society through a fearless, daring voice that will excite the viewers and provoke their adventurous spirit.
Introducing the audiences to new culinary adventures, Chownow is an ordering platform that partners with the coolest restaurants in town.
Here to live every moment to the fullest, the Jester archetype is the life and soul of every social gathering. Often using humor as their weapon, jesters mock conventions and are always hungry for fun and a good time.
If your brand shares the jester’s understanding of life, your content should be positive, humorous, and entertaining in spirit. Even if your brand is not a jester by nature, everyone enjoys a good chuckle now and then.
Just look at how Affirm, one of the top B2B fintech companies today, shows its witty personality through its content.
Using your content to make the audience laugh is a good idea to attract the jester personalities in your audience.
The Regular Guy
The fears of standing out and rejection show the regular guy’s one genuine desire - belonging to a group. Friendly and easy to talk to, people following brands with the everyman archetype’s persona are easily turned off by “we are better” messages and strive to hear that it’s okay to be ordinary.
If you are unsure how to do it right, look at how Zoom sets its marketing campaigns and messaging.
If you think your business shares the personality of the regular guy, you need to have a friendly and down-to-earth tone of voice that will make your audience feel safe and appreciated.
Unlike the everyman archetype, the hero is not afraid to stand out and be society’s savior. The hero works hard to prove his courage, skills, and determination to transform the world.
To be like the Hero brands you admire, you need to post inspirational content that makes the audience see their full potential and the actions required to reach it.
AWS is an inspirational Hero that offers solutions for the future and educates other businesses on how to benefit from them and change the world by doing so.
What works best for hero brands is having a high-achiever that customers can see as a role model.
Always on a mission for success and prosperity, brands that share the ruler's personality have confident audiences that are in full control of their lives. Perfect for brands offering high-end products and services, this brand archetype is all about instilling a sense of superiority in the audience.
Procore Technologies is a groundbreaking Ruler B2B company that ensures the safe and efficient building process of different structures, including hospitals, skyscrapers, or business headquarters.
How to appeal to an audience like this one? Reaffirm their sense of control, power, and respect. Don’t make content that is intended for the masses or regular audiences. Ruler audiences like to feel like they are part of an exclusive club.
Always ready to challenge the status quo or societal norms, the rebel archetype dislikes authority, conformity, and the mainstream. Not afraid to take risks or stand out from the rest, to appeal to audiences that share the outlaw’s spirit, you need to have an informal and straight-to-the-point tone of voice.
Which Archetype Resonates With Your Brand?
Knowing and understanding how brand archetypes work and what audiences they attract is a fundamental component of building a brand that succeeds in the long run and withstands the market's constant fluctuations.
So now that you know the 12 brand archetypes, it is time to ask yourself: "Which one am I?"
The easiest way to find which archetype works for your business is to define the following things:
Mission and Values
Spending some quality time defining and determining your business mission and the values that will guide you on the way is crucial for your brand building. Your mission should explain the required steps of how you imagine achieving all of your business objectives. Whatever your mission is, make sure your new, potential, and existing clients know and understand it. That will inspire them to follow you and stay with you for longer.
Your archetype may change depending on whether your goals are to spread love, help others heal, or encourage creative expression with your brand.
There's no way to know how to position a brand, what to say and how to express it unless you have an image of who needs to see it. Simply put, you need to define your target audience before you make any other step toward building your brand.
Each archetype resonates with a different target audience. While some audiences appreciate professional messages devoid of jargon, others favor the complete opposite. Understand your target audience, and you will be able to see which is your brand archetype.
Once you know your audience, you will know what emotions you want to make them feel. A clear definition of what you want to evoke in your audience will help you be consistent with your branding. Whether you are doing website design or planning a social media strategy, you will know how to do it with your audience in mind.
Brand Archetypes for Businesses
Brands should not mirror their audiences 100% all of the time. Yet they need to make an instant connection with the viewers and engage with them on a deeper level. To do so, they need to understand how basic psychology works and learn how to use the right words to invoke the emotions they want.
With brand archetypes, it is easier to build a long-lasting brand based on the audience, their preferences, desires, ambitions, and needs. Each of the 12 archetypes possesses different traits that appeal to some but not all. Understanding who you want to appeal to can make all the difference.