Advertising Branding

Brand Archetypes 101

Everyone loves a brand they can connect with. Whether it’s a funny commercial, celebrity spokesperson, quality product, or catchy packaging, people tend to gravitate towards brands that they can relate to emotionally. Maybe you only use Apple products, or maybe you will only grocery shop at Publix. Either way, most people have product or business preferences where an alternative just won’t do the trick.

In 1947, psychologist Carl Jung posed the theory that 12 essential characters exist in everyone’s unconscious mind, each one battling for dominance.  Since then, marketing experts have utilized this theory, stating that each brand fits into one of the 12 archetypes or “characters.”

These characters are all based on universal patterns of behavior that everyone can instinctively relate to. The following human desires each match with a specific character or “archetype”:

  • Power = The Magician
  • Mastery = The Hero
  • Liberation = The Outlaw
  • Freedom = The Explorer
  • Understanding = The Sage
  • Safety = The Innocent
  • Intimacy = The Lover
  • Enjoyment = The Jester
  • Belonging = The Everyman
  • Innovation = The Creator
  • Control = The Ruler
  • Service = The Caregiver

The Outlaw

The outlaw archetype tends to be disruptive, rebellious, and combative. This is the type of brand that attracts people who like to live life on the edge, encouraging revolution and empowerment. Harley Davidson motors is a great example of an Outlaw.

Related Industries: Automobiles, Tools, & Apparel

The Magician

The Magician is a reassuring archetype that wants to make your dreams come true. They want their customers to feel like anything can happen and that one is only limited by their imagination. A perfect example of this would be Disney.

Related Industries: Entertainment, Health & Wellness, Cosmetics

The Hero

The Hero archetype is honest and brave. They have the determination and desire to make the world a better place. Businesses like Nike and FedEx lean towards the Hero archetype due to their motivation to prove their worth.

Related Industries: Sportswear, Outdoor Equipment, Trade Services

The Lover

The Lover archetype can be sensual and soothing, seeking pleasure from the experience of intimacy. Some brands that relate to this are Victoria’s Secret and Chanel.

Related Industries: Cosmetics, Wine, Food, Travel

The Jester

The Jester archetype is the playful, fun-loving optimist. The Jester is all about living life in the moment and ensuring that the people they surround themselves with are as happy as they are. Some great examples of companies that utilize this persona are M&Ms, Old Spice, and Dollar Shave Club.

Related Industries: Beer/Liquor, Child Services

The Everyman

The Everyman archetype is authentically humble and friendly. They don’t like to stand out from the crowd, so they seamlessly blend in to society. They tend to be very positive due to their need to fit into a group. Target and Ikea are both great examples of brands that fall under the Everyman category.

Related Industries: Foods, Home & Family Life, Apparel, Automobile

The Caregiver

The Caregiver archetype has a warm and caring personality. They are often thought of as maternity figures due to their need to protect others. Toms and UNICEF both have brands that make them perfect caregivers.

Related Industries: Elder Care, Non-Profits, Hospitals, Education

The Ruler

The Ruler archetype has a very refined and commanding presence.  Above everything else, the ruler needs control.   They can be considered intimated at times due to their authoritative actions.  These brands consider themselves to be the best of the best and want their customers to feel the same way. Mercedes-Benz and Rolex are both obvious Rulers in their industry.

Related Industries: Luxury Automotive, Watch Manufacturers, Hotels,  Formal wear

The Creator

The Creator Architype tends to be provocative and inspirational, always wanting to create something incredible.  Imagination and creative expression are two things they value the most. Lego, Apple, and Adobe are all great examples of creator brands.

Related Industries: Arts, Design, IT, Marketing, Writing

The Innocent

The Innocent archetype is always humble and honest. They have a positive view of life due to their inherent optimism. Companies like Dove and Aveeno would be considered Innocent brands.

Related Industries: Beauty & Skin products, Fresh Food, Cleaning Supplies

The Sage

The Sage archetype is knowledgeable and understanding. They seek truth above all else and want to share their knowledge with the world. Examples of sage-like bands would be Google and the University of Oxford.

Related Industries: Media & News, Schools & Universities, Educational Businesses, Search Engines

The Explorer

The Explorer Archetype is exciting and fearless. They have very daring personalities and don’t like to be pinned down. They love to push themselves out of their comfort zones and are on a constant road of discovery. Patagonia, North Face, and Jeep are all true Explorer brands to the core.

Related Industries: Extreme Sports, Outdoor equipment, Automotive, Travel

You may be wondering if your archetype is that of your customer or that of your brand, and the simple answer is both. Archetypes represent all personalities.  First, we must figure out your customers’ personalities and then tailor your brand to the archetype that is most attractive to your customer base. Define your character and begin your story!