Using Archetypes to Define Your Brand

Before you can use an archetype to define your brand, you first need a good understanding of what your brand is, who your target market is, and how your customers and prospects think and feel about your company and its products. Also consider how you would like them to feel about your company and its products.

Understand the Power and Potential of Your Brand

Know what you are offering your customers in ways that go beyond the rational and logical. Customers typically have an emotional connection with a brand. Understand the connection they have with your company and use the most relevant and appropriate of the 12 archetypes to build on that. A brand archetype must make sense psychologically and strategically.

Get to Know Your Customers

Begin with your customers. Aim to understand them and their buying decisions. Talk with your customers. Get to know them and understand why they use your product or why they buy other similar products. You may want to consider market research.

Try to get to know or understand what they feel emotionally when they choose to purchase your product or service. What emotional connection do they have with your brand or with those of competitors?

Build on the Emotional Connection 

Research studies show that half of consumer buying decisions are based on emotions. Use that understanding to deepen your brand’s connection with your customers. Then, let that shape how you interact with customers in every way. Be authentic. Be consistent. Be clear in conveying the emotional connection customers have with your brand.

Use Symbolism for a Stronger Connection

Look for ways to back this up with images and symbolism. In addition to describing your brand verbally, use strong, authentic and consistent visual imagery. Use still photos, videos and graphics to help give your brand a stronger resonance with customers. Work this theme into how you develop and design your products or how you present your services.

Review and Apply the Right Archetype

Once you have a solid and clear picture of your brand and your audience, think about the classic archetypes. Think about what fits most closely with your company and your products. Take time to explore how you might work with that archetype so that your company can build a deeper connection with clients and prospects.
Look at these three classic, powerful brand archetypes as examples:
  • The Explorer: Jeep. Seek the open road and explore new things.

  • The Sage: PBS. Seek to understand the world and your place in it. Keep learning and aspire towards wisdom.
  • The Rebel: Harley Davidson. Rebel, disrupt, overturn what isn’t working, break rules, take risks, express individuality.
Use these examples that tap into deep and primal human needs, desires and emotions. This will guide you as you create a powerful, distinct and authentic connection with customers. Customers are likely to respond, identify with and associate these connections  with your company.

Game Plan

Take what you know about your customers and their perception of your brand, and combine that with your knowledge of archetypes to strengthen your brand.
Next steps:
  • Study your customers and interact with them. Conduct focus groups and surveys to better understand them, their buying decisions, and their relationship with your brand.
  • Reflect on your brand’s characteristics, including its strengths, limitations and potential.
  • Critically review the 12 archetypes and select the one – or two, if you can’t immediately settle on one – that are most suitable for your business.
  • Explore how you can best apply the most suitable archetype, and begin the work of defining or redefining your brand with that archetype in mind. If you can’t immediately choose the one most suitable archetype, this exercise will help.
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