The 12 Brand Archetypes Every Brand Should Know About
By Julia Koh & Syira Junaidi
Brand archetypes are a popular and helpful concept in brand identity development. It’s part of the brand personality with the aim to better connect with the target audience. Brand archetypes provide familiar characteristics that the audience can understand and relate to.
Psychologist Carl Jung developed archetypes to group similar patterns of human personalities. In the branding-sphere, archetypes are put into action by giving a brand more depth, character, and human appeal that communicates effectively to customers.
How brand archetypes help your brand:
Be lifelike and more human
Speak to the audience on an emotional level
Develop a compelling brand story
Develop a consistent brand voice and imagery
Guide branding & marketing plans
There are 12 brand archetypes that brands can be grouped in. Each archetype has different motivations, talents, desires, and weaknesses. There’s more information about each brand archetype as highlighted, with more description and examples:
Ruler brands give the audience a feeling of prestige, control, and power. These brands proudly claim that they are the leaders in their industries and exert their influence over other brands. Therefore, what they offer to the audience is of class and quality, substantial and timeless. Ruler brands empower their customers with a sense of control.
Sage brands offer audience advice, insights, and knowledge authority. They seek to answer complex questions and help us better understand the world. Sage brands encourage curiosity and are always informing the audience new findings and perspectives without patronising them. Customers trust Sage brands as reputable sources of facts.
Caregiver brands exist to care and help their customers, and to make sure everyone is safe and healthy. Empathy is the core of Caregiver brands as they uphold family values and security. Customers seek the Caregiver to take care of them and provide sustenance and peace-of-mind.
Rebel brands help the audience to be unique, independent, and nonconforming. They challenge the status quo and disrupt the normal way of doing things. This archetype makes a brand easier to stand out and if spoken the right way, can acquire a cult-following from the audience. The Rebel celebrates individualism and an alternative lifestyle.
Explorer brands help their audience achieve freedom, independence and satiate their sense of adventure. They value autonomy, self-resilience, and going where few have gone. Explorer brands help customers find meaning in life by providing them tools or methods for them to achieve it themselves.
Innocent brands have little to ask from their audience. They just want customers to be happy. The Innocent sees the world as pure and optimistic, thus Innocent brands tend to avoid over-the-top and gimmicky marketing tactics. Instead, they value simplicity, transparency and speak with a straight-forward message.
Lover brands help make the audience feel pampered, special and appreciated. They value beauty, intimacy, and relationships. Lover brands can be very customer-centric as they are obsessed with making the customers feel satisfied and loved. They also encourage indulgence of the senses and help customers appreciate themselves, their friends and family, and things in life like food, accessories, perfumes and others.
Jester brands are witty and good at lightening the mood at boring banal things. They poke fun at serious everyday things with the sole aim of making their customers smile and take it easy. Jester brands make their customers’ lives less stressful.
Regular Guy brands make the audience feel belonged and have a sense of community. Their manner is warm, friendly, polite and trustworthy. Quality is very important to Regular Guy as it is a sign of trust and dependability. Their relationship with customers is approachable, genuine, and familial.
Magician brands want to bring the audience through a transformation and help them live in the most incredible, unimaginable way. Magicians are visionary so it’s common for Magician brands to have over-the-top claims and gimmicks. They want customers to experience the wonderful and wow them with innovation and possibility.
Hero brands help customers feel victorious. They help their audience conquer their fears and push through obstacles. They also provide ways for the audience to do things they thought they couldn’t do and create a winner in all of us.
Creator brands pave the way for their audience to express themselves in many creative ways. They value authenticity, inspiration, and ingenuity. Customers go to Creator brands to get the tools and methods to realise their vision and express themselves in the most creative way they can.
How to identify your brand archetype?
Know your value proposition first, and understand what benefits you’re offering to the target audience. Then identify yourself with at least one and at most three brand archetypes. Brands can have one main archetype and one or two other sub-archetypes that further differentiates their brand.
Let’s take an example from the tourism industry. Hotels would naturally portray the Caregiver archetype since they provide shelter and a safe place to sleep for patrons. But to be different and to serve different needs of customer groups, they can opt to embed the Explorer sub-archetype if they allow customers to explore the wilderness or a unique adventure. Hotels with the Lover sub-archetype would, on the other hand, offer something different and make customers feel pampered and appreciated.