An Intro to Brand Archetypes

For Better Branding

Archetypes Compass

We all have basic human desires. We aren’t taught to want or need them. We just have them. They are instinctive and primitive.

Psychologist Carl Jung was fascinated with symbology and categorization. He coined the term Archetypes in the early 20th century to help categorize humans and our internal desires and drivers. Archetypes are grounded in decades of his psychological research and have their roots in Greek Mythology.

Here are the basic human desires that each match with a specific archetype:


Do you see yourself in one or two of these desires? Your heart rate will race and some call for you more than others.

As we are all different, our desires are different, too. My core desire might be Innovation, while yours might be Freedom or Mastery.

When we consider that certain behaviors or personalities increase certain desires, we can understand why some personalities appeal to us more than others.

Enter Archetypes: Masters at Defining Our True Selves

Through the use of story, art, religion, myths, Archetypes characterise universal patterns of behaviour that we all instinctively understand.

When you dive into these archetypes and the behaviour traits of each, you will probably recognise yourself, your family and your friends.

Whether it’s your funny uncle acting like The Jester at your grans birthday or your anti-establishment friend dropping conspiracy theories in the pub as The Outlaw, you will see these archetypal personalities time and again.

Although the behaviors of your uncle and friend are familiar through experience, the behavior or archetypes whom you don’t have experience with will also be recognizable.

Why? Because they are pre-programmed into your subconscious.

Archetypes are the personification of these behaviors and provide a roadmap that enables you to more accurately appeal to a given desire with a specific personality.

There are Twelve Archetypes:

Let’s take a look them:

  • The Innocent: Exhibits happiness, goodness, optimism, safety, romance, and youth. 
    Example brands include: Coca-Cola, Nintendo Wii, Dove
  • The Everyman: Seeks connections and belonging; is recognized as supportive, faithful, and down-to-earth. 
    Example brands include: IKEA, Home Depot, eBay

  • The Hero: On a mission to make the world a better place, the Hero is courageous, bold, inspirational.
    Example brands include: Nike, BMW, Duracell

  • The Rebel: Questions authority and breaks the rules; the Rebel craves rebellion and revolution. 
    Example brands include: Virgin, Harley-Davidson, Diesel (jeans)

  • The Explorer: Finds inspiration in travel, risk, discovery, and the thrill of new experiences. 
    Example brands include: Jeep, Red Bull, REI

  • The Creator: Imaginative, inventive, and driven to build things of enduring meaning and value. 
    Example brands include: Lego, Crayola, Adobe

  • The Ruler: Creates order from the chaos, the Ruler is typically controlling and stern, yet responsible and organized. 
    Example brands include: Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, British Airways

  • The Magician: Wishes to create something special and make dreams a reality, the Magician is seen as visionary and spiritual. 
    Example brands include: Apple, Disney, Absolut

  • The Lover: Creates intimate moments, inspires love, passion, romance, and commitment. 
    Example brands include: Victoria’s Secret, Chanel, Haagen Dazs

  • The Caregiver: Protects and cares for others, is compassionate, nurturing, and generous. 
    Example brands include: Johnson & Johnson, Campbell’s Soup, UNICEF

  • The Jester: Brings joy to the world through humor, fun, irreverence and often likes to make some mischief. 
    Example brands include: Old Spice, Ben & Jerry’s, M&Ms

  • The Sage: Committed to helping the world gain deeper insight and wisdom, the Sage serves as the thoughtful mentor or advisor. 
    Example brands include: Google, PBS, Philips

Using Archetypes for Branding

There are two primary reasons you would want to align your brand with an archetype.

  1. Connection: Most brands today are in the coalface competing on features, benefits, and price. If you don’t want your brand to become a commodity, you will need to make a deeper connection with your audience.
  2. Differentiation: When it comes to standing out in a crowd, differentiation strategies seem well worn, with latecomers to the party left with little to work with. Personalities, on the other hand, have infinite possibilities. They’re not only unique but can be extremely memorable.

Discover Your Unique Brand Personality

What was once a full-day, week or months-long process between a client and brand strategist, is now simplified in our Studio808 Brand Personality Quiz. Take it here and discover what innate qualities your brand has and start to use them as defining points for edges of your brand. You’ll be able to better articulate your brand, and no question whether something is ‘right or wrong’ to create because you’ll know your brand values inside and out.

The added benefit of brand personalities, or archetypes, is that they are associated with certain colors, design elements, and ways of being and speaking that make it easy for you to stay ‘on brand’, no matter the medium or channel you’re posting in.

Ready for clarity and simplification? Let’s do this!

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