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The 12 Brand Archetypes: Which One Are You?

 
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Your brand is essentially the personality of your business. To achieve a perception of authenticity, a strong brand needs to connect with your emotions, hopes and dreams. So this is the point we start heading into the science and psychology behind branding, which, ironically, starts with storytelling.

Through the art of storytelling, religion and myths, the ‘Classic Character’ appears in every story representative to significant human traits. These characters, known as archetypes, have existed in our stories for so long with their universal virtues, temperaments and tendencies, we are conditioned to respond to them. We find comfort in their presence because they are familiar, so we resonate with them on an intensely personal level.

Understanding archetypes is a useful tool in defining your brand. But be sure to understand the difference between an Archetype and a Stereotype. Stereotypes are an oversimplified, overgeneralised concept in personality born from cultural ideals, while Archetypes are distinctive, relying on systems for action, images and emotions born from global truths, trials and tribulations. No one wants to be a Stereotype.

Archetypes are the brand’s heartbeat, bringing life to a brand allowing customers to relate, forge a relationship and care. But you can’t please everyone, so narrow it down and refine who you appeal to. This starts with knowing who you are as a business and who your audience is while listening to their needs. By mapping out your brand personality, you’ll connect on an emotional level while also effectively guiding your brand’s development.

Once you understand which archetype you are, your story begins. You have the foundation and character to develop your backstory, path and direction. Archetypes establish your brand’s personality; about who you are, what your voice is and how you communicate to your audience. But every character needs a story. So as you develop your archetypal brand character, you also need to weave in your story:

Where did you come from?
Where are you going?
What will happen on the way?

Use the details to build your brand. Where your character takes your audience is your story to tell, and one that never ends until you decide it does. To connect on a human level, our brand needs to demonstrate these human attributes - both the strengths and the vulnerabilities in order to be real. Brand archetypes are the tools to make your brand stand out, have substance and depth to  establish genuine connections with your team, followers, audience and customers. Brands who know where they’re going, inspire others to follow. 

Here are the 12 Brand Archetypes: Which one are you?


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The Outlaw

Ambition Leave a legacy
Symbol For Revolution
Traits Disruptive, Rebellious, Combative
Superpower Buck trends and break chains 

Strategy
Shock, disrupt and destroy the status quo
Challenges
Being outrageous upsets convention and disorder 

The Outlaw has little respect for rules and regulation. They want revolution in order to change the world for the better. They are motivated by anger and passion, but without a fight, are at a loss. They are driven by the fight for freedom, change, righteousness and revenge. As a brand, you want to liberate the world. You connect with your audience through rebellion.

Famous Brands
Virgin, Harley Davidson, Apple

Industries

Cars & Motorcycles, Power Tools, Alternative Brands, Body Art


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The Magician

Ambition Leave a legacy
Symbol For Power
Traits Logical, Analytical, Insightful
Superpower Make dreams come true

Strategy
Develops a vision and lives by it
Challenges
Being personable and likeable without being seen as calculated

The Magician is the expert and experienced and commonly in specialist industries - if you need to explain what you do to the everyday person, you’re likely to be the Magician. The Magician aims for transformation and a vision through the power of knowledge. As a brand, you come off as logical, insightful and reassuring where customers trust your opinion. You connect with your audience through a journey of discovery and transformation with the experience of a magical moment. 

Famous Brands
Disney, Tesla, IBM

Industries
Entertainment, Beauty, Wellbeing, Health


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The Hero

Ambition Leave a legacy
Symbol For Mastery
Traits Honest, Brave, Consistent
Superpower To inspire the world to be better by being the best 

Strategy
Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Challenges
Strength can also be perceived as arrogance

The Hero wants to make the world a better place. The Hero is far more likely to challenge you than nurture you. As a brand, you work hard and take pride in your work to stand out. You lead by example, using courage, inspiration and empowerment to stand up for what’s right. You connect with your audience by proving yourself. They come to you as they are experiencing uncertainty and indecision for inspiration to be better and stronger.

Famous Brands
GoPro, Nike

Industries
Sports, Trade


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The Lover

Ambition Pursue connections
Symbol For Intimacy
Traits Alluring, Mysterious, Exclusive
Superpower To make special moments memorable 

Strategy
Beauty on the red carpet
Challenges
The desire to please may come at the cost of losing identity

The Lover is a seductress and wants the world to indulge. As a brand, you stand for affection, love and sensuality. You want to be wanted, and are driven to be physically and emotionally alluring in the pursuit to be attractive. You help the world celebrate and connect with your audience through special moments. 

Famous Brands
Chanel, Alfa Romeo, Victoria’s Secret

Industries
Fragrances, Cosmetics, Wine, Indulgent Food, Premium Travel


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The Jester

Ambition Pursue connections
Symbol For Pleasure
Traits Witty, Playful, Provocative, Superpower To live in the moment 

Strategy
Having fun and living life in the moment. 
Challenges
Striking the balance between fun and wasting time, or taking humour across the line to caustic sarcasm

The Jester loves to live life and have fun. As an optimist, they see their duty as bringing sunshine to the world. As a brand, you are witty, daring and young at heart, and always have the ability to see the good in every situation. You highlight the positive side of life and connect with your audience through happiness and laughter.

Famous Brands
M&Ms, Old Spice

Industries
Beer, Confectionary, Professional Services, Child Services


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The Everyday Person

Ambition Pursue connections
Symbol For Belonging
Traits Friendly, Humble, Authentic
Superpower To get the job done

Strategy
You’re just like me, and I’m just like you
Challenges
In being easily liked, they can be easily forgotten

The Everyman is just like you, and you are just like them: there is no pretentiousness or exclusion. They want to make the world a better place through equality, harmony and inclusion. As a brand, you create a welcoming environment so everyone can belong. You appeal to your audience through honest, humble, down to earth connections.

Famous Brands
Ikea, Lynx, Chevrolet

Industries
Home & Family Life, Comfort Foods, Everyday Fashion, Family & Everyday Cars


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The Caregiver

Ambition Offer structure
Symbol For Service
Traits Compassion, caring, reassuring
Superpower To nurture

Strategy
Work to help, protect and educate others
Challenges
In nurturing others, they have to consistently remind their customers they are also experts. 

The Caregiver stands for substance and depth, providing good advice and consistent quality in nurturing others. They are never chaotic, disruptive or confrontational and believe in prevention rather than cure. They want to make the world a better place by looking after it. As a brand, you connect with your audience through your warmth and generosity, making your customers feel protected, secure and cared for. Your customers need to be aware of your value through education and emotionally evocative messages. 

Famous Brands
UNICEF, Johnson & Johnson

Industries
Health & Aged Care, Not-for-profit/ Charity, Hospitals, Education


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The Ruler

Ambition Offer structure
Symbol For Power
Traits Commanding, Refined, Exclusive
Superpower To dominate through success 

Strategy
To create an exclusive group and lead to success and prosperity 
Challenges
Leaders tread the fine line of authority and being condescending and arrogant

The Ruler is a guiding force and authority in their communication and actions. They want to change the world by creating a loyal community through success and prosperity. As a brand, you are confident, responsible and in control. You connect with your audience through a sense of power, respect and superiority. You don’t want to appeal to the masses, but rather to the exclusive group at the top of the ladder.   

Famous Brands
Mercedes Benz, Rolex, Louis Vuitton 

Industries
Luxury Cars, Watch Manufacturers, Hotels, Haute Couture, Luxury Brands


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The Creator

Ambition Offer structure
Symbol For Innovation
Traits Inspirational, Perfection, Creative Superpower If you can imagine it, we can create it 

Strategy
Develop artistic skills 
Challenges
Be stifled in creating by the process of achieving perfection

The Creator wants to create something new, unique and original while striving for perfection. They express themselves through innovation. As a brand, you are highly imaginative and believe if you can think it, you can turn it into reality. You connect with your audience by celebrating the process of creation just as much as the creation itself. You are inspired by your customer’s artistic skills to create products and services that aid their imagination.

Famous Brands
Apple, Adobe, Lego, Lady Lex

Industries
Arts, Design, Information & Technology, Marketing, Writing


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The Innocent

Ambition Search through spirituality
Symbol For Safety
Traits Honest, humble, optimistic
Superpower Elegance in simplicity

Strategy
To do things wholesomely
Challenges
Innocence can be perceived as being boring

The Innocent wants to turn the world into a paradise. In an Innocent’s world, everything is guilt-free and happy, nurtured by good will and a wholesome spirit. As a brand, you are timeless, radiating safety and honesty while seeing the inner beauty in everyone around you. You connect with your audience with simple, honest, positive messages. You will need to earn the trust of your customers through positive branding and education that is timeless

Famous Brands
Dove, Coca Cola

Industries
Beauty, Organic, Cleaning, Fresh Food, Body


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The Sage

Ambition Search through spirituality
Symbol For Understanding
Traits Expertise, Truth, Wisdom, Information
Superpower The pursuit of knowledge 

Strategy
To find the truth and celebrate learning
Challenges
Being taken over by analysis in the efforts to when establish facts

The Sage uses their experience and wisdom as lessons to pass on to the community. They are the seeker of truth and want to share their knowledge with the world. As a brand, you look to serve, using innovation to make the process of serving more efficient. You connect with your audience through your proven expertise, recognising your audience’s intelligence using well-researched information and facts.

Famous Brands
Google, Harvard University

Industries
Media, Schools, Universities, Education, Consultants, Search Engines, 


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The Explorer

Ambition Search through spirituality
Symbol For Freedom
Traits Adventure, Self-discovery, Explore
Superpower Make life matter

Strategy
To seek new things
Challenges
Wandering without focus and drive can become aimless

The Explorer wants to challenge the world and explore it as the land of the free and home of the brave. As a brand, you are fearless, and on a quest for freedom, challenging your audience to stand against conforming while being true to your soul. You connect with your audience by challenging their everyday and the possibilities you offer with the opportunities to explore. 

Famous Brands
Jeep, Patagonia

Industries
Extreme Sports, Outdoor, Adventure Travel, SUVs


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Brand Building isn’t easy. And it doesn’t happen over night, though it does happen. But if you start uncompromisingly with knowing who you are and what you stand for, you are off to a great start to creating a strong brand that resonates with your team, clients, audience and followers. Because, as Whitney and Mariah sing:

Who knows what miracles
You can achieve
When you believe

Because when you believe in yourself as a brand, others will follow.


Go Forth & Be A Great Brand


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