Brand Archetypes and How To Use Them

Branding Archetypes

You may have heard of Jungian Archetypes before, but you might not know what they are or how brands can use them to their advantage. In this article we will go over what these archetypes are and how your brand personality should be built around it. We’ll also cover the 12 Jungian Archetypes, created by Carl Jung, as well as the Shadow archetypes and what zodiac signs those are based on. This article is a must-read for any brand owner or business, who wants to increase conversions, and garner the attention of their target audience.

What Is An Archetype?

Your brand should have a personality, and solid brand identity, but in order to create that they need an archetype. That starts with what Jungian Archetype you are based on and how your customers see you. Brands with a defined archetype sell up to 95% more than brands with an undefined one, so it’s important we get this right. Think of your brand as a person. What traits do they have? What do you like about them? What do you not like about them?

A brand archetype lays all this out so you know how to speak, act, and look like what your target audience wants and needs.

This will show you what the 12 brand archetypes are, as well as what they’re corresponding zodiac sign is just for fun.

The 12 brand archetypes are:

-The Creator

-The Ruler

-The Caregiver

-The Everyman

-The Jester

-The Lover

-The Hero

-The Magician

-The Outlaw

-The Explorer

-The Sage

-The Innocent

What do all of these mean? What do they look like? Are there examples of real brands that use these?

We’ll dive into what they mean, how to utilize them, and what they can do for your brand.

A Deep Dive Into The Types:

We will start with The Creator: this archetype is a visionary who loves to create new things. Steve Jobs was a Creator which is no surprise if you’re an Apple fan. He was also a Pisces, which is the corresponding zodiac to the Creator archetype. It is personified by the character of Tony Stark.

The Ruler: the Ruler is the one who rules over his or her domain. They want power and prestige over everything. Think about a king, which makes sense considering this type would be Aries (the zodiac for The Ruler.) Ruler brands are Rolex, and Mercedes Benz. They’re at the top of the food chain. The perfect Ruler archetype character is Mufasa, from The Lion King.

The Caregiver: these are people that always want to take care of everyone else and make them feel better. They’re usually good listeners too. Caring, and compassionate, the Caregiver archetype is embodied by the zodiac sign Cancer. Unicef, and Toms Shoes are great examples of a Caregiver brand. Mary Poppins is the perfect example of a Caregiver personality.

The Everyman: is exactly what it sounds like. They’re regular everyday people, that just want to fit in. They crave belonging, and a welcoming community. Target and Home Depot are Everyman brands, while the corresponding zodiac is Taurus. Bilbo Baggins is the embodiment of The Everyman archetype.

The Jester: the Jester is all about making people laugh. They’re usually the ones that are always cracking jokes, and doing anything to try and make you smile. A great example of a brand embodying the Jester archetype would be Jack in the Box or Burger King. The zodiac sign that most embodies the Jester type, is Gemini. The perfect Jester character? C-3PO from Star Wars.

The Lover: is a brand that epitomizes romance, and desire. These brands tend to tap on things that are a little taboo in our culture. Eros and Victoria’s Secret are great examples of Lover brands, which correspond to the zodiac sign Libra. Rose from The Titanic is a great example of The Lover archetype.

The Hero: is the shot caller, the one wanting glory for the team rather than personal victory. The Hero type is perfectly represented by Nike, as well as the zodiac sign Leo. Neo from The Matrix is the perfect choice for The Hero archetype.

The Magician: is the brand that is always trying to wow you with their skill. They want to blow your mind, and leave a lasting impression. Magician brands are Amazon, Coca Cola, and Disney, and embodied by the zodiac sign Capricorn. Using Lord Of The Rings once again, for The Magician archetype we have Gandalf.

The Outlaw: is the brand that is breaking all the rules. They don’t care about what you think of them, they just want to have a good time, and challenge the status quo while doing it. Harley Davidson, is an outlaw brand through and through, and the zodiac sign to go with it is Scorpio. A great example of this in film is Doc Holliday from Tombstone (a personal favorite movie.)

The Explorer: seeks freedom above all else, and hates being told what to do. They crave adventure, and seek learning at every turn. Which is no surprise that the zodiac sign to go with it is Sagittarius. North Face, and Patagonia are both great Explorer brands. Indiana Jones is definitely an Explorer archetype.

The Sage: doesn’t care about what is going on in the world, they just want to focus on self-discovery and wisdom. Google is a perfect Sage type brand. They’re the Master Yoda of the archetypes, and embodied by the sign Virgo.

The Innocent: Embodied by the sign of Aquarius, the Innocent wants to foster a feel good spirit, and remain optimistic about life. Dove, and Cheerios are both great examples of The Innocent archetype. What better character to show feel good and optimistic than Dory from Finding Nemo.

Do I Use These For My Target Audience?

Using these archetypes to define your brands personality is important. What is arguably more important, is defining your target markets archetype as well. It’s a good idea to create personas for both, so you can structure your brand around the desires of your target market and audience.

Maybe you’re an Explorer archetype brand. You seek freedom above everything else in the world. Your audience might be The Everyman, seeking the same thing, and using your brand to live vicariously through.

Or maybe you’re an Outlaw archetype, Harley Davidson type brand, appealing to a Caregiver shadow type. Maybe your approach is to give them the key to self love and self expression, which Caregiver types desperately need.

It isn’t enough to give your customers what you think they want, but what they actually truly desire the most. This is usually figured out in a brand strategy session, but with enough market research and a little time, you can figure this out on your own.

Can A Brand Have Two Archetypes?

Technically, yes you can. However, it’s hard to stay consistent when you have more than one. If you look at the big brands, they all have one very defined archetype, and they stick to it. This keeps the brand from being inconsistent, and marketing messages from getting confusing. Could you imagine what a mess it would be to try to write copy for a Caregiver/Outlaw brand? Just stick to one type, you’ll thank yourself later. (and so will your target audience)

I’m a Pisces, Does That Mean I’m The Creator?

Carl Jung based his 12 archetypes off the 12 zodiac signs. I think it’s a fun thing to include, as well as relating it to all the Major Arcana tarot cards, however, basing your entire brand personality off your zodiac sign is irresponsible, and could end badly. You need to do the work and research to discover the brand archetype that fits your company. Once you find a brand archetype that works for you, and your target audiences, all the pieces of the puzzle become a little bit more clear. Messaging gets easier, advertising is no longer a guessing game, and overall, your company is just in a much more cohesive spot than it started.

Isn’t Most Of This Just Made Up?

It may seem that way at first, but no. A lot of the principals Carl Jung used to get the 12 Archetypes are based in psychology, science, and most even date back to Ancient Greece. Studies have been conducted by Harvard on the subconscious mind of customers, and why we like brands in the way we do. All of those studies, come back to archetypes, and the impact it has on a customers subconscious mind.

So no, this isn’t all woo-woo spiritual bullshit. There’s depth to this, and to brand archetypes. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this can change the way you do business, and you could even make the world a better place because of it.

Where Do I Go To Dive Deeper?

If you want to learn more about brand archetypes, get a clearer picture of each one, and discover the shadow side of each type, we have a guidebook just for that. It covers every archetype in depth, goes over similar companies, and even gives you some color pallet ideas if you’re re-branding.

This is going to help you determine your brand voice, brand values, brand message, overall mission, specific talents related to that type, and brand identity. You’ll even get a strategy for each archetype, example characters of these types used in TV and film, and what companies use these brand archetypes to make millions of dollars, and sell their products with ease.

If you want to grab the guidebook while it’s on sale, here’s the link.

Brand Archetypes Guidebook

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