Do You Know Your Brand's Archetype?
Updated: Jun 17
Successful brands have a strong sense of identity, one that mirrors the hopes and aspirations of their customers. But finding your voice – especially as a small business – can be difficult. And expensive. Identifying your brand archetype from this list will save you time and money and help you connect to your audience.
So, What Is an Archetype?
Today’s brand archetype definition derives from psychologist Carl Gustav Jung’s 1919 outline of 12 personality archetypes. Archetypes symbolize a human’s basic motivations and come with their own set of values, meanings and personality traits and symbolize a human’s basic motivations.
The Twelve Archetypes
Wondering what your brand archetype is? Check out the chart below for a handy rundown on each archetype:
1. THE MAGICIAN BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Shaman, The Visionary
Magician brands brand themselves as the gateway to transformative knowledge and experience (think Disneyland) The offer something, life changing; they're full of life and imagination. Magician brands promote themselves as the gateway to transformative knowledge and experience. They focus on the individual rather than the group, and flatter the customer by telling them to trust their own instincts (and make the purchase).
Magician customers thrive on imagination and inspiration, they need to feel they can grow wiser or influence people by using a brands products.
Magician brands promise knowledge.
The worst things a magician brand can be seen as? Too structured, rigid, regulated or hollow.
2. THE OUTLAW BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Revolutionary, The Outlaw
Rebel brands often crave revolution (or revenge) and position themselves as the alternative to mainstream options--they want to stand out, and successful rebel brands have cult-like followings (think Harley Davidson).
Rebel customers reflect this positioning in that they often appreciate the unconventional and almost forcefully reject mainstream.
Rebel brands promise revolution.
The worst thing to happen to a rebel brand? To be bought out or become too popular
3. THE HERO BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Superhero, The Warrior
Hero businesses see themselves as good quality and are motivated to prove their worth, fearing weakness and failure. They often position themselves as superior to their competition by claiming they are "the best" in their industry, niche, etc.
Hero customers like to think the choices they make as consumers will put them ahead of everyone else. They're looking for functional and sleek , they value quality and efficiency in their products, and they likely won't be sold with a cute or funny brand image.
Hero brands promise triumph.
The worst thing that can happen to a hero business? Having a competitor rated higher or proven to be better value.
4. THE JESTER BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Fool, The Comedian
The Jester customer is often joyful, carefree, and original and tend to target younger generations through the use of outrageous imagery and the gentle teasing of their customers (affectionately). They want to live in the moment and they fear boredom.
These customers are engaged by ads that are unusal and/or playful, in particular, ones that make light of the seriousness of life, and ultimately find more "normal" brands (or the everyman) boring.
Jester brands promise entertainment.
The worst thing a jester brand could do? Get stuck up in a bitter lawsuit or be seen to be strict with their customers.
5. THE EVERYMAN BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Regular Guy, The Good Guy
The everyman is seeking to feel as if they are a part of something, they fear being left out or standing out in a crowd, so they work to come across as down-to-earth and honest and dependable.
Their customers prefer things to be a bit more normal, they appreciate quality and dependability (like good customer service, and always following through) and don't connect to things that appear more strange. They love the brands they love and tend to emotionally invest in brands that resonate with them.
Regular guy brands promise belonging.
The worst thing to happen to a regular guy business? Appear greedy or elitist.
6. THE LOVER BRAND ARCHETYPE
The Dreamer, The Idealist
Lover brands focus on sensual pleasure, focusing on how a customer might feel when they interact with their brand. The offer a sense of luxuriousness, glamour, focusing on the experience of pleasure with the promise of the brand.
Customers attracted to lover brands value how good something will make them look, how it might elevate their social status.
Lover brands promise passion.
The worst thing to happen to a regular guy business? Come across as cheap or businesslike or their cultivated. The air of mystique will be ruined.
7. THE CAREGIVER BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Saint, The Parent, The Nurturer
Nurturer brands (think Salvation Army), are drive by their need to protect and care for others, offering up protection and safety to their customers.
Customers that buy into the nurturer archetype resonate with emotionally driven content, they are seeking to be recognized for their effort, without being patronised. They are seeking to be nurtured.
Nurturer brands promise recognition.
The worst thing that can happen to a nurturer business? Their products are shown to be harmful or exploitative.
8. THE RULER BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The King, The Leader
Driven by their desire for power and control, these brands have a solid, polished, and often 'masculine' image, they speak with authority and confidence, and position themselves as the leader or expert in their field. Magician brands see themselves as confident, responsible, and fair.
Customers who resonate with ruler brand are seeking to reinforce their feelings of power and stability, they tend to be naturally dominant. They see themselves as intellectual and won't tolerate patronizing brands.
Ruler brands promise power.
The worst thing to happen to a ruler business? Be perceived as weak, or by having to concede defeat to a rival company publicly.
9. THE CREATOR BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Artist, The Dreamer
Afraid of mediocracy, these brands are desire to produce work that is built to last and exceeds the current visionary "limitations". They see themselves as the ultimate creatives and their products as the ultimate creative tools.
Creator customers are difficult to appeal to, the limitations are always being pushed. Generally these people seek to shun advertising in general, they can be appealed to by the experimental, boundary-pushing, and/or novel. brand
Creator brands promise authenticity.
The worst thing to happen to a creator business? Be perceived as weak, or by having to concede defeat to a rival company publicly.
10. THE INNOCENT BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Dreamer, The Romantic
Businesses who brand themselves as innocent desire to be free and happy, and position themselves as pure, simple, and trustworthy. They live in fear of doing something wrong and often use natural and unfussy imagery and verbiage to keep their image neat and straight.
These customers are seeking businesses who are optimistic and straight talking. They generally dislike brands who are heavy-handed, gimmicky, and especially guilt-inducing
Innocent brands promise simplicity.
The worst thing that can happen to an innocent business? Hidden corruption or deceit uncovered.
11. THE EXPLORER BRAND ARCHETYPE aka The Seeker, The Wanderer
Explorer brands embrace freedom and self discovery, they promote themselves as a means to experience the world (the new and the unknown).
Customers that resonate with explorer brands seek freedom and self discovery, they crave adventure, and they seek to discover the world for themselves. domesticity is not appealing to them.
Explorer brands promise freedom.
The worst that can happen to an explorer brand? Appearing too rigid or corporate.
12. THE SAGE BRAND ARCHETYPE
aka The Scholar, The Teacher
These brands are truth seekers, wisdom finders. They promise learning and come across as intellectual through their use of symbolic imagery and expanded vocabularies, trusting their customers can keep up with their intellectual wit.
These customers are seeking growth, they believe that knowledge comes from growth, and are always seeking to know and understand information even when their beliefs are challenged (in fact they welcome it).
Sage customers believe that knowledge comes from growth, and constantly look for new sources of information. They prefer ads which challenge them to think in a new way.
Sage brands promise wisdom. The worst that can happen to a sage brand? Becoming too dumbed-down or patronizing.