02 Nov
Branding Your Business with Archetypes

Presenting your business through branding archetypes. There are 12 classic archetypes. These cover the spectrum, from those that convey comfort to others that create excitement. Choosing the right archetype for your business is essential. But first, review the classic archetypes and understand their role in creating a deep connection with your target market.

The Innocent

Goal: To be happy

Traits: Strives to be good, is pure, young, optimistic, simple, moral, romantic, loyal

Drawback: Could be naïve or boring

Marketing niche: Companies with strong values, seen as trustworthy, reliable and honest, associated with morality, good virtues, simplicity, can be nostalgic

Example: Dove soap, Coca-Cola, Cottonelle bathroom tissue

The Regular Guy or Gal

Goal: To belong, or connect with others

Traits: Down to earth, supportive, faithful, folksy, person next door, connects with others

Drawback: Could lack a distinctive identity and blend in too much

Marketing niche: Common touch, solid virtues, gives a sense of belonging

Example: Home Depot, eBay

The Hero

Goal: Help to improve the world

Traits: Courageous, bold, honorable, strong, confident, inspirational

Drawback: Could be arrogant or aloof

Marketing niche: Make a positive mark on the world, solve major problems or enable/inspire others to do so

Example: Nike, BMW, Duracell

The Outlaw

Goal: Break the rules and fight authority

Traits: Rebellious, iconoclastic, wild, paving the way for change

Drawback: Could take it too far and be seen in a negative way

Marketing niche: Agent of change, advocate for the disenfranchised, allow people to vent or break with conventions

Example: Harley-Davidson, Virgin (Richard Branson)

The Explorer

Goal: Finds fulfillment through discovery and new experiences

Traits: Restless, adventurous, ambitious, individualistic, independent, pioneering

Drawback: Might not fit into the mainstream

Marketing niche: Exciting, risk-taking, authentic

Example: Indiana Jones, Jeep, Red Bull

The Creator

Goal: Create something with meaning and enduring value

Traits: Creative, imaginative, artistic, inventive, entrepreneur, non-conformist

Drawback: Could be perfectionistic or impractical

Marketing niche: Visionary, help customers express or create, and foster their imagination

Example: Lego, Crayola

The Ruler

Goal: Control, create order from chaos

Traits: Leader, responsible, organized, role model, administrator

Drawback: Could lack a common connection, or be too authoritative or controlling

Marketing niche: Help people become more organized, restore order, create more stability and security in a chaotic world

Example: Microsoft, Barclays, Mercedes-Benz

The Magician

Goal: Make dreams come true, create something special

Traits: Visionary, charismatic, imaginative, idealistic, spiritual

Drawback: Could take risks that lead to bad outcomes

Marketing niche: Help people transform their world, inspire change, expand consciousness

Example: Disney, Wizard of Oz, Apple

The Lover

Goal: Create intimacy, inspire love

Traits: Passionate, sensual, intimate, romantic, warm, committed, idealistic

Drawback: Could be too selfless or not grounded enough

Marketing niche: Help people feel appreciated, belong, connect, enjoy intimacy, build relationships

Example: Victoria’s Secret, Godiva Chocolate, Marie Claire

The Caregiver

Goal: To care for and protect others

Traits: Caring, maternal, nurturing, selfless, generous, compassionate

Drawback: Being taken advantage of, taken for granted, or exploited

Marketing niche: Help people care for themselves, serve the public through health care, education or aid programs

Example: Mother Theresa, Campbell’s Soup, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz

The Jester

Goal: To bring joy to the world

Traits: Fun, sense of humor, light-hearted, mischievous, irreverent

Drawback: Could be seen as frivolous or disrespectful

Marketing niche: Help people have a good time or enjoy what they are doing, allow people to be more impulsive and spontaneous

Example: Motley Fool, Ben & Jerry’s, IKEA

The Sage

Goal: To help the world gain wisdom and insight

Traits: Knowledgeable, trusted source of information, wisdom and intelligence, thoughtful, analytical, mentor, guru, advisor

Drawback: Could be overly contemplative or too opinionated

Marketing niche: Help people to better understand the world, provide practical information and analysis

Example: BBC, PBS, Google, Philips

Your Game Plan

Review these archetypes and consider what might be most appropriate to apply to your business.

Study the best examples of brands that apply archetypes well. Do you identify with any of them? Which archetype is your company most like?

Thoughtfully consider your company’s image and how your customers interact with, think of and feel about your company to determine the most suitable and compelling archetype.


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