Defining Your Company's Brand Archetype
Your company's brand archetype is like its DNA, providing a framework that shapes your brand's personality, voice, and connection with your target audience. By defining your brand archetype, you can create a more compelling and consistent brand identity that resonates with your customers.
The concept of the archetype is rooted in psychology and storytelling. By appealing to the subconscious, archetypes bypass the intellectual mind and produce a feeling that lingers, organically leading the consumer to feel a sense of loyalty. Brands based on archetypes are felt because they manage to get into our minds and hearts. You’ll find that your archetype reflects your company’s spirit and reminds you of who you are.
Understand Brand Archetypes
Before we dive into defining your brand's archetype, it's essential to understand what brand archetypes are. Archetypes are universal symbols and themes that have been present in human storytelling and culture for centuries. They represent certain human traits, desires, and characteristics. In the world of branding, there are 12 archetypes used to create a relatable and memorable brand personality.
Evaluate Your Brand's Values and Identity
Take a close look at your company's core values and mission. What do you stand for? What are your long-term goals and vision for the future? Your brand archetype should reflect these values and be consistent with your overall identity.
Know Your Audience
To define your brand archetype effectively, you need to have a deep understanding of your target audience. What are their values, desires, and pain points? What resonates with them, and what do they connect with on an emotional level? Your brand archetype should align with the aspirations and expectations of your ideal customers.
Workshop with the Team
Conduct a workshop with stakeholders to gather input from different perspectives. Each team member can share their answers to questions to help inform your archetype. Compare the answers to the characteristics of the 12 brand archetypes.
Here are a few brand strategy exercises I use with my clients to uncover their brand archetype.
Adapt personality tests to the brand. Have the team answer questions as if the brand were a person. This can help reveal personality traits associated with a particular archetype.
Get creative, ask the team if the brand was an animal what it would be and why? Have them explain their thinking. Metaphorical thinking can evoke underlying values, characteristics, and emotions associated with animals.
Provide the team with a list of words and ask them to choose the ones that best describe their brand. This exercise can help identify key traits that align with specific archetypes.
Choose Your Brand Archetype
Based on the information gathered from the previous steps, it's time to choose your brand archetype. Each archetype represents different personality traits and appeals to different audience segments. Select the archetype that best matches your brand's values, mission, and the desires of your target audience.
1. The Innocent archetype is rooted in safety, security, optimism, goodness, youth. Their motto is “Free to be you and me.” Examples: Dove
2. The Sage believes in knowledge, insight, thoughts, and the mind. Their motto is “The truth will set you free.” Example: Google
3. The Explorer yearns for travel, risk, discovery, freedom. Their motto: “Don’t fence me in.” Example: Jeep
4. The Rebel craves freedom and liberation. Their motto: “Rules are made to be broken.” Example: Harley Davidson
5. The Magician believes in the power to create almost anything, with the motto “I make things happen.” Example: Disney
6. A Hero will triumph, no matter what kind of adversity they face. Their motto: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Example: Nike
7. The Lover craves romance, sex, intimacy, and only has eyes for that. Their motto is “You’re the only one.” Example: Chanel
8. The Jester wants fun, pleasure, and lives for the day. They’re funny, too, with the motto: “You only live once.” Example: Ben & Jerry’s
9. The Citizen is down to earth, appreciates the simple thing, craves belonging. They believe in humility and equality. Example: Home Depot
10. The Ruler believes in the best-of-the-best. They want control, and seek to make order out of chaos, and believe “Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Example: Mercedes-Benz
11. The Caregiver leads a life of service, with the motto “love thy neighbor.” Example: UNICEF
12. The Creator is a dreamer, builder, innovator, artist. They believe that “if you can imagine it, it can be done.” Example: LEGO
Communicate Your Brand Archetype
Once you've defined your brand archetype, it's essential to consistently communicate it through all your branding elements. Update your logo, design, messaging, and content to reflect the chosen archetype. Ensure that your team understands and embodies this archetype in their interactions with customers and in their work.
Defining your company's brand archetype is a crucial step in building a strong and consistent brand identity. Remember that brand archetypes are not set in stone, and a brand may exhibit characteristics of more than one archetype. The goal is to find the archetype(s) that best aligns with the brand's values, mission, and target audience, allowing for a consistent and compelling brand identity.
Let’s discover your brand archetype together!