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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

The achiever – one who brings to a successful end, follows through, accomplishes
Famous achievers: Titleist, FootJoy, General Electric

The magician/wizard – one who practices magic or who displays amazing skill or accomplishment
Famous magicians/wizards: Merlin, Nikola Tesla, Lucent Technologies, Samsung Electronics

The guide – one who assists others to travel through or reach a destination in an unfamiliar territory
Famous guides: Google, Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon

Each brand archetype has a unique set of values, fears and desires. Given this, it also has specific strengths and weaknesses. For instance, while defenders are deeply convicted, resolute and unwavering in their beliefs. And while they strongly believe in justice, their weakness is that they do not always discern shades of grey and they are often slow to adapt to a changed environment.Other archetypes include advocate, alchemist, artist, athlete, caregiver, chief, creator, explorer, healer, hero, innocent, lover, martyr, mentor, mother, muse, outlaw, perfectionist, philanthropist, poet, politician, prince, regular guy/gal, ruler, sage, scientist, servant, trickster/fool, underdog and workhorse.

When positioning your brand, identify which archetype best describes your brand’s driving force or motivation.

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Twitter: opento
on January 24th, 2014 said

My favorite topic – thank you for sharing!
Good to see you deal with the difference between archetypes and personality – it’s a common misunderstanding that an archetype is a personality or character description.
I’ve put the 5 most common mythds about archetypes here http://slidesha.re/1aTedqb and I’d be delighted to hear your views on them.

Sandra Pickering
Twitter: opento
on January 24th, 2014 said

I’m also sharing this on the LinkedIn Archetypes & Brands group who should find it interesting.

Twitter: Diplomat_Serge
on February 16th, 2014 said

Very informative!
I agree with conclusion. Every brand, before go sailing to the big ocean, should identify what it is in order to follow one clear purpose. Without that there will be an organizational chaos.

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