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Category: Brand Archetypes

Brand Archetypes

Brand Archetypes Defined


Whereas the brand personality uses adjectives to describe the brand as if it were a person, the brand archetype, based on Jungian archetypes, indicates the brand’s driving force or motivation. Several books describe brand archetypes. Two of my favorites are: (1) The Hero and he Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes by Margaret Mark & Carol S. Pearson and (2) Winning the Story Wars: Why those who tell – and live – the best stories will rule the future by Jonah Sachs.

Following are my favorite brand archetypes:

The pioneer – one who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise or progress
Famous pioneers: Henry Ford, George Eastman, Steve Jobs, Patagonia, Tesla Motors

The rebel – one who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or ruler
Famous rebels: Ron Paul, Apple, Occupy Wall Street, Edward Snowden

The defender – one who makes or keeps others safe from danger, attack or harm
Famous defenders: John Muir, Jane Goodall, The Nature Conservancy, Tea Party, Boy Scouts of America, ASPCA

The savior – one who frees or delivers others from confinement, violence, danger or evil
Famous saviors: Jesus Christ, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Doctors without Borders

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Brand Archetypes

Brand Strategy And Jung’s Archetypes


Archetypes in product branding are nothing new. The Jungian-based psychology behind the use of archetypes began in earnest shortly after World War II. Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, also conceptualized the theories of archetypes and the collective unconscious. His theories certainly seem to have great merit, given their unparalleled success when applied to consumer marketing and product branding.

Two Examples of Effective Archetypes

One long-standing example of such success dates back to 1955 with the advent of the Marlboro Man. The campaign featured an archetypal rugged, straight-shooting, unpretentious American cowboy. Within a short time after its debut on the airwaves and in the print media, sales jumped by over 5,000 percent.
Men identified intrinsically with the cowboy archetype.

Another is the fun-loving happy clown archetype embodied in Ronald McDonald. He first appeared on the scene in 1963 and was instrumental in propelling the small hamburger franchise into one of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Kids and families believed that McDonald’s was a happy place, a place of fun and good food.

Additional examples abound; however to understand the purpose for using these archetypes, and the reasons for their success, we must examine the psychology behind them.

The Collective Unconscious and Human Behavior

Psychology is the study of the human psyche, the mind’s role in and affect upon human behavior. It is a science, and contrary to what some would have us believe, no science is perfect. To understand psychology, one must accept that the frontier of the human mind remains largely unexplored.

Jung’s theories of archetypes relate to his theory of the existence of a collective unconscious. Another famous student of the psyche, Sigmund Freud, affirmed that each person has his or her own personal unconscious mind or mental state. Jung expanded this by asserting that in addition to that state, all humans shared a deeper state, which he called the collective unconscious. It is in this realm that one finds primordial thought patterns and instincts that evolved in the human psyche over the period of human physical evolution.

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