Archetypes & the Brand-Building Process

What are brand archetypes? Well, an archetype is a prototype for identifying statements, patterns of behavior, and objects a brand will mirror or emulate. Plain and simple, it’s a very typical example or imitation of a person or thing. Archetypes represent universal patterns and images that are part of the collective unconscious and they play a larger role in the brand-building process than you may think!

In storytelling, there are 12 archetypes that consistently appear. When building a brand story, determining archetypes allow us to apply human traits to brands, and shape their overarching identity to help them stand out from competitors. Archetypes allow marketers to ultimately live their brand in an authentic and relatable way that resonates with the target markets.

The 12 Brand Archetype Examples

  1. The Caregiver
  2. The Creator
  3. The Explorer
  4. The Hero
  5. The Innocent
  6. The Jester
  7. The Lover
  8. The Magician
  9. The Outlaw
  10. The Regular Guy/Girl
  11. The Ruler
  12. The Sage

The steps in building brands vary agency by agency. For example, in Serendipit’s brand-building process, we present clients with the 12 brand archetype examples along with several other elements that will ultimately help us paint the bigger picture of their brand. These include traits of that archetype, relevant personas, desires, motivations, fears, mantras, how that archetype typically carries themselves in the real world, and examples of other brands who share the same archetype. For instance, take a look at how we break down the Caregiver archetype in the brand-building process:

Traits: Altruistic, selfless, nurturing, compassionate, empathetic, supportive, generous. 

Persona: The caregiver aims to make people feel secure and nurtured by focusing on generosity and compassion. These brands will give of themselves to ensure others are always taken care of. 

Motivation: Stability and control. 

Fear: Selfishness.

Mantra: The golden rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

In the Wild (Real World): This archetype often serves the public sector (i.e., health care, education, charities, etc.), helping others care for themselves. 

Brands: Allstate Insurance, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, etc. 

The Importance of Archetypes in the Brand-Building Process

Building the brand story is perhaps the most important step in the brand-building process. It’s also a key element in determining how to build a strong brand. By connecting archetypes to a brand, we can begin to humanize it and bring your brand identity to the surface. We help you discover the purpose behind the brand and then curate appropriate and effective brand messaging. By determining which archetype(s) coincide best with your brand, you’re able to point out competitors within your industry as they’ll share many of your same archetypal characteristics. From here, we can determine your target audience and establish a mission statement. Understanding your brand archetype will help you outline the key qualities and the benefits your brand offers and form your unique voice. Consumers respond to the words you use, so if you want better results, it’s essential to take the time to learn your identity and determine which words work best for your brand. 

Once you’ve identified who you are, virtually the rest of the brand-building process falls into place. You can integrate your archetype into every aspect of your business. Use it in your ads, to create a standout logo and tagline, apply it to your creative design. Archetypes guide how your brand interacts with your audience, encouraging brand loyalty, and helping you make deeper emotional connections. They help you discover who you are and what you stand for and help you tell that story to others.

Unsure where to start your brand-building process or which archetype best suits your brand? Let our brand development experts at Serendipit help you out. Get in touch today, and we’ll help you find your brand identity! We know how to build a strong brand – just take a look for yourself!