That’s my type. Brand archetype.

While the idea of building a communication strategy is understandable for many brands, they rarely use the method based on developing their own brand archetype, especially when it comes to B2B brands. They lose quite a lot because of it. Why? Check it out below.

   1. (Psycho)logical

What do marketers like the most? Psychological magic tricks that will lead them to success. 😉 It is worth mentioning here that the idea of Brand Archetypes is not a temporary trend or another catchy trick designed to outsmart the recipient, but it is actually rooted in applied psychology. An archetype is a pattern or a deep-seated belief in a certain character. This word is most often used by psychoanalysts who study people’s behavior and common features. 

   2. Carl Jung and his types

It all started with Carl Jung – a Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist. He developed the term “archetype” as patterns, images, motives and attitudes recurring in many cultures. Now archetypes are successfully used in movies, books, and in branding. Brand archetypes are ready-made personality patterns that automatically are recognized in our mind. They have inherited potentials which are actualized when they enter consciousness as images or manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world.

In branding, the archetypal framework helps us build human-like brand personas. Brands that have a clear character and are easily identified with one or two archetypes and more memorable for consumers. Companies do best when they are explicit about the archetype that is truest to their values, mission, and vision.

The archetypes chart.

   3. The Twelve Knights of the Round Table

Archetypes are universal personality patterns that consist of a set of traits inherent in a given archetype. They help us recognize what archetype we are dealing with. We see these features in people, but we can also see them in brands.

According to Mark and Pearson, people move on two dimensions when looking for a place for themselves. First, they have to choose between independence and self-realization and the need to belong to a group. Secondly, between stabilization and control and risk and achieving the status of a champion. Based on that we distinguish 12 Brand archetypes. 

  • The Outlaw – this brand archetype is exactly a rebel at heart. These brands dislike rules and conformity. They value freedom and want to break through the status quo, even if it requires a fight. Both the Outlaw and the Creator value nonconformity and innovation. The biggest difference between the the two, is that the Outlaw is more aggressive, and might even go against societal norms just because they’re bored.
  • The Magician – the goal of the Magician brand archetype is to deliver transformative experiences and make dreams come true. The Magician can turn the ordinary into extraordinary. They can transport you to a Utopian world where the only limit is your imagination. Just like Creators, these brands also focus heavily on creativity and imagination. But unlike other brands, the Magicians are able to deliver experiences that are almost spiritual and idealistic in nature.
  • The Hero – this brand archetype is a symbol of courage and a source of inspiration. These brands wear a superhero cape and their mission is to make the world a better place.Hero brands are brave; they’re not intimidating, but they embrace any challenges that come their way, have big ambitions and inspire people to work harder.
  • The Lover – this brand archetype is a true romantic. They value relationships above anything else, and find strength in intimacy, passion and emotional connection. Lover brands also tend to focus heavily on aesthetic appeal. They’re an advocate of all things beautiful and sensual. Their goal is to be as attractive as possible, and to stimulate a desire in their audience to be intimate and passionate.
  • The Jester – this brand archetype likes to laugh and have fun. These brands don’t take themselves too seriously, and encourage their audience to laugh along with them. The goal of Jesters is to help people let go of stressful thoughts, come out of their shell and party a little. This doesn’t necessarily mean customers have to step out of their comfort zone — the Jester will bring the fun to wherever they are. Jester brands are extremely charismatic. They can exist in virtually any industry, but they’re mostly found in food, entertainment and everyday home niches.
  • The Everyman – simply wants to belong. These brands dislike standing out from the crowd, and send the message that it’s okay to be normal. Unlike other brand archetypes that hold an elitist personality, the Everyman just wants to blend in with the rest of the society. These brands are typically affordable, inclusive and target the masses instead of a highly niche segment. The Everyman archetype is mostly seen in everyday brands, such as casual clothing, home decor and furniture, and food.
  • The Caregiver – this brand archetype is empathetic, compassionate and nurturing. This makes it an excellent personality for healthcare brands, nonprofits and baby products. The goal of the Caregiver is to protect customers and make them feel secure. They play the role of a healer or a motherly figure who has your best interests at heart. These brands are kind, and provide emotional or physical support through their products, services, messaging or even business model.
  • The Ruler – this brand archetype is powerful and dominating. These brands strive to be the best of the very best. What stands out about Ruler brands is their ability to influence others with authoritative personality and rarely questioned industry expertise. Ruler brands like to associate themselves with wealth and success, and are often portrayed as more masculine than others. They might be quiet, but they’re known for perfection and attention to detail. You’ll find most Ruler brands in the luxury niches, from cars and hotels to jewelry, perfumes and watches.
  • The Creator – this brand archetype is all about innovation and creativity. These brands are nonconformists, and are usually the first ones to introduce a new technology or create a unique combination of features. The goal of a Creator is to solve a problem by inventing something that didn’t exist before. They constantly strive to create meaningful products with enduring value that align with their vision. Another characteristic of Creator brands is they empower customers to express themselves freely. This could either be with the help of a tool, feature or even design. Naturally, Creators appeal more to creative or artistic audiences who value self-expression, experimenting with new products and standing out from the crowd. This is why most Creators thrive in art, design, technology and marketing.
  • The Innocent – this brand archetype is pure and unadulterated, just like nature. These brands like simplicity and authenticity, and have strong moral values. Innocent brands don’t want to harm anyone or anything, and have an incredibly positive outlook on life — some would say even to the point of naivety.
  • The Sage – this brand archetype exists for knowledge, truth and wisdom — these brands not only strive to seek valuable information, but also to share it with others. The goal of Sage brands is to empower people to change the world rather than bring about a change on their own. They are thought leaders and trusted sources of information. People rely on them to better understand the world around them. This is why most Sage brands have a loyal following of customers who keep coming back to seek more knowledge.Sage brands dislike misleading or vague information, and prefer using solid facts and statistics to back up their statements.

The Explorer – this brand archetype taps into their audience’s desire to travel and discover new places, people and worlds. Explorers love their freedom, and they’re always looking for pathways to self-fulfillment, although they’re rarely ever satisfied with where they are. Some Explorer brands also tie this idea in with a sense of adventure, although that’s definitely not the only way to market this archetype.

What is worth emphasizing clearly and loudly here is that there is no wrong type! Also, a brand can choose not one but two archetypes which, when combined, will still create a coherent brand personality. Each type can win their battle for success in the market.

   4. Would anybody like to be a jester in business?

We already know what brand archetypes are, but are they really that important? B2C brand archetypes are clearer and easier to define. Therefore, they probably use them much more often than B2B brands. After all, “being” a jester is not appropriate for serious business …

So how to be a proud jester? First of all, regardless of what brand archetype we identify with our brand, jester, ruler or another type, the selection process cannot be accidental and based on the decision of one person. At Kreatik, we work on brand archetypes for companies during strategic workshops. During about 2 sessions based on the Design Thinking methodology, we are able to develop a B2B brand identity based on the idea of ​​12 brand archetypes. The key thing here is that we are working on it together with the client. This allows us to better understand the business and customer’s point of view, and shows the client team that a decision about chosen brand archetype is supported by real reasons and will fulfill its function in the future. We try to develop a brand identity that will be consistent with the company’s values ​​as well as its vision and mission.

Working with the client on brand archetypes from the beginning can be difficult, because some clients treat it more as a game than something that will bring them some value. Thanks to, among other things, the fact that we develop strategic workshops together with the client, it allows him to see the benefits of defining a brand archetype over time. Your brand stands out, you have your own characteristic personality, it gives you consistency in communication, taking on human features you are closer to the recipient, the recipient sees that you are authentic, your message is not lost among others … These are only some of the benefits of developing a brand archetype. And this also applies to B2B brands. Don’t forget that! 


Magdalena Węcłaś

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