Archetypes

How to Build an Archetypical Brand?

“I want to be the Lover brand, what should I do?” This is quite a common question on my talks and workshops. Usually, I reply by asking a few others, like “what are the emotions you want to communicate?” and “how do you want your consumers to feel?” Yes, emotions and feelings because archetypes are intrinsically connected to them and they are the key to build a meaningful brand.

So, if the core of your company is about intimacy and creating special relationships, you can probably be a Lover brand, but if you are not sure yet, here is a guide to help identify the main traits of each archetype and select the most suitable one for your business:

Innocent: The archetype is ideal for brands that promote simplicity, traditional values and a ‘return to paradise’ vibe. Faith and optimism are strong traits so as nostalgic and escapist feelings that can be translated into clean or natural elements to calm the senses and spread a positive message of hope and kindness.
Good examples: Stella McCartney, Universal Works, Burt’s Bees, Innocent drinks, Coca-Cola, Disney

Explorer: The archetype represents the quest for freedom, independence and discovering our own identity. It’s great for brands that want to help consumers in their journey into the world. Elements associated with adventure, nature and uncharted territories are an invitation to find the ‘promised land to be your authentic self’.
Good examples: The North Face, Patagonia, Timberland, Starbucks

Sage: The archetype represents the search for truth and wisdom. It’s ideal for brands that want to position themselves as experts, helping consumers to feel more intelligent, informed and knowledgeable. Books are the quintessential symbol but any environment or element that invites people to learn is welcome.
Good examples: The Ordinary, Paula’s Choice, Clinique, CNN, Discovery Channel

Hero: The archetype is all about courage and altruism. It represents our will to fight for what we believe and to overcome our fears. It’s great for brands that want to send a message of virtue, discipline and determination, advocate for social and ethical causes and offer performance-enhancer products.
Good examples: Nike, Under Armour, Fedex, Duracell

Revolutionary:  Bear in mind that the ‘forbidden fruit’ has an irresistible appeal and that we all need to break some rules in order to make meaningful changes.
The archetype works best when disruption, rebellion and controversy are applied to build an identity that feels unconventional, non-conformist and liberating but never destructive or damaging.
Good examples: Harley Davidson, Vivienne Westwood, Apple

Magician:  it is related to the body-mind connection, for being a catalyst for change and basically to make dreams and visions come true.
Brands should think about offering products or services that tackle some sort of alchemy: from well-being (spas and wellness) and conscious altering experiences (spirits and rituals) to visionary technologies (AI, VR). Just remember that magic is power and it requires confidence and responsibility!
Good examples: Aveda, Kiehl’s, Clarins, Polaroid, Red Bull, Dyson

Everyperson:  Focus on equality, empathy and relatability as this archetype is about fitting in and being in a friendly environment. Brands with a down to earth and democratic attitude that make consumers feel comfortable and part of a community will craft a great message to the regular guys and girls of the world!
Good examples: Uniqlo, John Lewis, Gap, Ikea, Wrangler, Nivea, Glossier

Lover: It’s all about romance, seduction, luxury and beauty. The archetype is associated with pleasure, indulgence, physical and emotional connections. Brands that craft a message of intimacy and celebrate the joy of special relationships are one step ahead to win the consumer’s heart!
Good examples: Chanel, Dior, Versace, Lancôme, Estée Lauder, Nars, Tom Ford, La Perla, Victoria’s Secret, Godiva, Magnum

Jester:  let’s have fun and live in the moment! The archetype is associated with playfulness, irony and a chilled attitude. Brands that craft a ‘don’t worry, be happy’ message and embrace spontaneity and simple pleasures can connect to consumers looking for a very well deserved break from everyday struggles!
Good examples: M&M’s, Diesel, Moschino, Soap & Glory, Ben & Jerry’s

Caregiver: It’s all about helping consumers care for others or look after themselves. Brands that craft a message of nurture, compassion and support, and aim to show genuine empathy through a flawless consumer service can touch a lot of helpless hearts!
Good examples: Dove, Johnson’s Baby, Red Cross, Tom’s, Nestle.

Creator:  vision and self-expression are key here. Brands linked to any form of art, that encourage consumers to show their creative views or develop new, innovative and unconventional approaches to let their imagination fly can create the perfect storm for the archetype.
Good examples: Prada, McQueen, Maison Margiela, Comme des Garçons, MAC, Urban Decay, Pat McGrath Labs, Marc Jacobs, Liberty, Lego

Ruler: It’s all about power and prestige. Brands that craft a message of safeness, status, structure and tradition can help consumers feel like they ‘made it’ and are in charge of their lives. In other words, it’s the archetype for leaders and role models!
Good examples: Amex, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls Royce, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Volvo, Smithson, Rolex, Ralph Lauren, Microsoft.

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