Quick. When we say “Harley-Davidson,” what do you think of? <pause> Motorcycles aside, if you thought “freedom” or “loud” or “badass wearing a leather jacket,” then the Harley-Davidson company would be quite happy.
Because you have understood and clearly identified their brand personality, which is reflective of their primary brand archetype: the Rebel.
An archetype is the embodiment of a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought or image that is universally present in individual psyches.
Successful businesses understand “who” they are through clearly identified and strategically used archetypes. With this knowledge, they can bring their culture and their market together.
- They can connect with people through shared, universal motivations embodied by archetypes, and know how to act and respond, internally and externally.
- They can also build trust with their target markets, keeping everything they do on brand, “in character” and, most importantly, consistently authentic.
The Twelve Fundamental Brand Archetype Families
It was psychologist Carl Jung who first defined the concept of archetypes. He believed and proposed that archetypes are symbols, themes and character types that appear in almost all types of storytelling and across almost all cultures; he suggested they personify essential elements of the “universal” human experience, and we (humans) easily and instinctively understand them.
Archetypes can be used as tools to create accountability, authenticity and connections.
Not only do we use archetypes in Red Chalk Studio’s brand discovery process, we go beyond the initial 12 fundamental types and tap into the extended archetypes within each family. This allows us to more fully and completely identify and develop a business’s brand story.
These sixty archetypes are organized into sections headed by one of twelve core archetypes followed by four extended archetypes in each family.
The Caregiver archetype protects and cares for others, is compassionate, nurturing and generous. They are all about service, and take the phrase “love thy neighbor” to another level.
Example Caregiver brands include: Johnson & Johnson, Campbell’s Soup, UNICEF
Other archetypes in the Caregiver family are
The Citizen archetype is driven by a deeply instilled sense of personal integrity, fairness, equity and responsibility to the community. Meaning is found in the personal sense of alignment between beliefs and actions. The Citizen fulfills purpose through service, stewardship, contributions and moral leadership.
Example Citizen brands include: TOMS Shoes, Chipotle and Habitat for Humanity
Other archetypes in the Citizen family are:
Creator archetypes are visionaries and makers, with a passionate need for self-expression. Highly imaginative with a constant desire to seek new skills, they want more than anything else to bring their ideas to life in cultural movements as well as in things.
Example Creator brands include: Apple, Pinterest, Walt Disney, Etsy
Other archetypes in the Creator family are:
Innocent archetypes want happiness and simplicity. They seek out simple solutions that will bring them back to a happy equilibrium quickly and efficiently. They are also youthful and romantic, as well as faithful and optimistic, which help breed brand loyalty in customers.
Example Innocent brands include: Coca-Cola, Nintendo Wii, Dove
Other archetypes in the Innocent family are:
The old cowboy song “Don’t Fence Me In” was written for Explorer archetypes. They continually seek out new territory on all fronts and like to experience new things. Explorers are non-conformists, always moving toward people, places, and things they’ve never seen or tried.
Example Explorer brands include: Jeep, Red Bull, REI
Other archetypes in the Explorer family are:
On a mission to make the world a better place, the Hero archetype is courageous, bold and inspirational. In fact, strength, mastery, competence and perseverance are what govern this archetype. Heroes can be superior leaders or collaborators.
Example Hero brands include: Nike, BMW, Duracell, FedEx
Other archetypes in the Hero family are:
Jester archetypes bring joy to the world through humor, fun, and irreverence, and often like to make some mischief. They can twist meaning and interpret events and people in surprising ways, speaking truth to those in power and authority.
Example Jester brands include: Old Spice, Ben & Jerry’s, M&Ms
Other archetypes in the Jester family are:
The Lover archetype wants to be wanted. Relationships, physical beauty, attraction, fellowship, commitment, and passion are front and center here. The experience of intimacy, closeness and sensual pleasure are what the Lover seeks and will use the means they have to achieve it. They are motivated to become more physically and emotionally appealing to increase their capacity to attract others.
Example Lover brands include: Alfa Romeo, Chanel, Victoria’s Secret
Other archetypes in the Lover family are:
Magician archetypes are visionary and spiritual, and want to understand the workings of the Universe, make things happen, and turn dreams into reality. These wizards can make challenges appear simple, and they want everyone to win.
Example Magician brands include: Disney, Dyson
Other archetypes in the Magician family are:
Rebels question authority and break the rules; they crave rebellion and revolution, and despise conformity. They like living outside the norm and going rogue with ideas, practices, and operations.
Example Rebel brands include: Virgin, Harley-Davidson, Diesel
Other archetypes in the Rebel family are:
The Sage serves as the thoughtful mentor or advisor and is committed to helping the world gain deeper insight and wisdom. This archetype is also a lifelong learner, balancing tradition and stability with the values of growth and change.
Example Sage brands include: Google, PBS, Philips
Other archetypes in the Sage family are:
The Sovereign shines as a natural leader. They want security and order, and are driven to create prosperity in their families, communities, and workplaces. Creating order from the chaos, the Sovereign is typically controlling and stern, yet responsible and organized.
Example Sovereign brands include: Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, British Airways, Mont Blanc
Other archetypes in the Sovereign family are:
Aligning your brand with the right archetypes will put your brand in position to feel all the more familiar to your audience, and offer you a way to communicate with the consistency and humanity of a real person.
These Jungian archetypes are familiar, aren’t they? Whether it’s through intuition, culture, or storytelling, you recognize them. And—wait for it—so do your customers. You can connect with them on a deeper level when your brand has an authentic (and familiar) personality and voice.
Ready to explore your brand archetypes and understand how to use them to build your business?
Red Chalk would love to chat! Schedule a consultation and let’s put the power of brand archetypes to work creating a desirable brand.
If you want to explore the world of archetypes and how they are used in brand management, we highly recommend the book Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creatives and Strategists, written by Margaret Hartwell and Joshua C. Chen.