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Exploring the 12 brand archetypes

Jul 7, 2022 | Brand personality

Brand archetypes assign brands a character that makes them relatable to potential clients who align with their same values. By figuring out what your brand archetype is, you create a solid framework around building your brand.


I first heard about brand archetypes a few years ago via a podcast (go figure) featuring Kaye Putnam. I was intrigued about the idea but I also was fully invested in the Brand Season rabbit hole so learning another brand personality framework didn’t make sense for my capacity. 

Fast forward to a few months ago and I stumbled across archetypes again and I did a little more digging. I love that it also is based on psychology and rooted in behavior. 

While Seasonal Brand Theory will always be my number one for developing a brand’s personality, brand archetypes are intriguing and a great tool to help develop a brand even further. Because, at the end of the day, our goal is to help you build an even stronger connection with your right audience.

So, today we’re going to walk through the basics of the 12 brand archetypes.

In This Article

>> What are (brand) archetypes?
>> Why use archetypes in the first place?
>> Brand archetype: Caregiver
>> Brand archetype: Creator
>> Brand archetype: Everyman
>> Brand archetype: Explorer
>> Brand archetype: Hero
>> Brand archetype: Innocent
>> Brand archetype: Jester
>> Brand archetype: Lover
>> Brand archetype: Magician
>> Brand archetype: Outlaw
>> Brand archetype: Ruler
>> Brand archetype: Sage
>> Additional brand resources.

 

What are (brand) archetypes?

The idea of archetypes originated with psychologist Carl Jung and according to verywellmind, they are universal, inborn models of people, behaviors and personalities that play a role in influencing human behavior; the 12 archetypes represent universal patterns and images that are part of the collective unconscious. Meaning, they’re innate, universal and unlearned.

Based on that, 12 brand archetypes are characterizations of a brand’s personality based on their behaviors, patterns and images, and are derived from Jung’s original set.

 

Why use archetypes in the first place?

Similar to seasonal brand theory, the 12 brand archetypes help provide a framework for building connection with your audience, based in psychology and behavior. You’re able to build a persona that’s more relatable and recognizable, and is rooted in specific characterizations.

If you’re struggling with bringing your brand to life, whether that’s through the written word or through visual elements, brand archetypes can be supportive and helpful. They allow you to categorize and provide structure to the embodiment of your brand.

Additionally, they’re a great way to differentiate your brand from others in your space. If you notice most businesses align with X brand archetype, you can take a different path and position your brand’s personality to align more with Y.

 

Brand archetype: Caregiver

The Caregiver loves to give. They’re motivated by compassion and want to make people feel secure and nurtured. Trustworthiness is their focal point. They’re selfless and generous. They’re people-first rather than profit-first.

They’re great at: Making people feel safe
What they want: To help others and be recognized for their care
Their brand voice: Warm, caring, compassionate
What they’re for: Generosity, service, support
What they’re against: Helplessness, selfishness, blame

 

Brand archetype: Creator

The Creator has a vision of the way the world ‘should’ be and they want to create something that can make their vision a reality. Their work gives them meaning and they crave authenticity, innovation and freedom of expression.

They’re great at: Inspiring creativity
What they want: To express their thoughts and feelings externally
Their brand voice: Inspirational, passionate, creative
What they’re for: Imagination, innovation, self-expression
What they’re against: Stagnation, passivity, familiarity

 

Brand archetype: Everyman

The Everyman is wholesome and comfortable. They’re not pretentious and want to fit in by appealing to the mass market. They value hard work, common sense and reliability. For them, practicality will win every time and they often disregard luxury and similar status-focused endeavors.

They’re great at: Reliability and trust through practicality
What they want: To belong and fit in
Their brand voice: Humble, friendly, honest
What they’re for: Togetherness, inclusion, equality
What they’re against: Rejection, isolation, exclusion

 

Brand archetype: Explorer

The Explorer is all about finding purpose and seeking freedom through discovery. They’re individualistic and acquire knowledge and understanding from their own personal experiences. They want to forge new paths and inspire others to do the same.

They’re great at: Inspiring change by forging a new path
What they want: To make new discoveries
Their brand voice: Daring, bold, excitable
What they’re for: Exploration, self-discovery, adventure
What they’re against: Caution, complacency, entrapment

 

Brand archetype: Hero

The Hero sees the power of self belief and transformation. They view their work as empowering and important, and want to help others achieve their own full potential. They fight for justice and their definition of the greater good. They rise to the challenge and are objective-focused.

They’re great at: Inspiring achievement by overcoming adversity
What they want: To save the day, the person, or accomplish the goal
Their brand voice: Brave, honest, inspiration
What they’re for: Mastery, hard work, growth
What they’re against: Cowardice, injustice, incompetence

 

Brand archetype: Innocent

The Innocent likes simplicity and has a childlike demeanor. They see wonder, have fun and focus on happiness. They insist on positivity and optimism, and don’t view others with negativity or ill-will. They are prone to youthful goodness.

They’re great at: Purity and joy, innocence
What they want: To retain childlike wonder and cheerfulness
Their brand voice: Optimistic, sincere, innocent
What they’re for: Simplicity, honesty, joy
What they’re against: Negativity, complexity, misery

 

Brand archetype: Jester

The Joker wants to have fun, lighten the mood and connect with their inner child. They are the class clown that lives in the present and doesn’t like to obey the rules. They are always looking for a way to crack a joke and experience the full joy of the right-now moment.

They’re great at: Spreading joy, lightening people up
What they want: To live in the present moment and enjoy life
Their brand voice: Playful, humorous, optimistic
What they’re for: Happiness, fun, lightheartedness
What they’re against: Boredom, sadness, negativity

 

Brand archetype: Lover

The Lover wants to ignite and feed the flames of emotion. They focus on connection with people and things that matter most to them. They inspire close relationships through their serious and seductive nature.

They’re great at: Connecting with people emotionally
What they want: To experience bliss in their relationships
Their brand voice: Empathetic, soothing, sensual
What they’re for: Affection, love, indulgence
What they’re against: Contempt, exclusion, invisibility

 

Brand archetype: Magician

The Magician wants to make dreams come true and problems disappear. They project their access to knowledge and information in an alluring and intriguing way. They view their abilities as fulfilling wishes and solving problems.

They’re great at: Turning problems into solutions
What they want: To transform situations
Their brand voice: Reassuring, knowledgeable, esoteric
What they’re for: Transformation, vision, discovery
What they’re against: Ambiguity, consequences, stagnation

 

Brand archetype: Outlaw

The Outlaw is actively seeking to rip up the rulebook. Their default is to undermine and question the status quo. They’re free-thinking and out to reinvent the societal structure. They see opportunity in dismantling existing paradigms and see rebellion as a lifestyle.

They’re great at: Disrupting existing structures and systems
What they want: To challenge the current norms
Their brand voice: Rebellious, disruptive, energetic
What they’re for: Change, independence, disruption
What they’re against: Conformity, dependence, complacency

 

Brand archetype: Ruler

The Ruler wants to eliminate uncertainty by taking on responsibility and control. They naturally like to follow the rules but would prefer to make the rules first. They want to be respected and like stability. They exude confidence and prefer to impose order upon their world.

They’re great at: Fostering stability and trust
What they want: To maintain and uphold order and control
Their brand voice: Articulate, orderly, straightforward
What they’re for: Power, notoriety, success
What they’re against: Failure, insignificance, scarcity

 

Brand archetype: Sage

The Sage believes the truth will set you free. They are driven by a desire to learn and understand. They see wisdom as a way to make sense of the world and reject misleading messages and ignorance. They want to make their world a better place by sharing information.

They’re great at: Illuminating the world through knowledge sharing
What they want: To attain truth, wisdom and understanding
Their brand voice: Knowledgeable, guiding, wise
What they’re for: Expertise, wisdom, information
What they’re against: Misinformation, ignorance, inaccuracy

 

Happy branding!

All my best,

 

Need additional branding resources?

Your brand’s personality can come to life by determining the season and archetype that most resonate with your desired brand traits.

Seasonal Brand Theory is an easy way to help you identify your brand personality. This post walks you through the process.

We’re walking through the process of how to pick your brand’s season so that you can create a consistent and cohesive brand.

We dive into the steps to develop an engaging and effective brand personality you can use to resonate with your right audience.

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Want to read up on archetypes? Here are some great resources:

https://personality-psychology.com/guide-12-jungian-archetypes-popularized-by-the-hero-and-the-outlaw/
https://www.designrush.com/agency/logo-branding/trends/brand-archetypes
https://medium.com/ebaqdesign/brand-archetypes-the-ultimate-guide-with-48-examples-44b39eb41c8f
https://www.thehartford.com/business-insurance/strategy/brand-archetypes/choosing-brand-archetype
https://www.kayeputnam.com/brand-archetypes/

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