What are Branding Archetypes? Archetypes are personified symbols that allow the conscious mind to identify with, or access, subconscious desires, meanings and truths. Archetypes represent our aspirations, not just in a material sense, but in a more mystical or spiritual sense. Archetypes instill meaning into brands and are naturally genuine and authentic. We have been including brand archetypes as a part of all client work for several years. Once we uncover their brand archetype through our brand archetype indicator test, clients immediately understand their brand archetype – now they know how their organization should act and behave. 

Why do we persist in having myths and archetypes? What is their purpose? Carl Jung, who developed the idea of archetypes, had this to say about them: All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes. This is particularly true of religious ideas, but the central concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics are no exception to this rule. In their present form they are variants of archetypal ideas, created by consciously applying and adapting these ideas to reality. For it is the function of consciousness not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us.

Thus, according to Jung, it is the archetypes that help us understand visible reality. Because archetypes speak in the language of our mind itself, archetypes are the most efficient “language” to use when building the foundation for a strong brand. Branding archetypes go beyond merely stating product features and benefits to connect with the customer in a deep and profoundly meaningful way.

As the excellent book, The Hero and The Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes by Margaret Mark & Carol S. Pearson outlines, 12 archetypes are very applicable to brand building. Here is an outline of the 12 brand archetypes, including some of their primary attributes:

  • The Innocent
  • The Explorer
  • The Sage
  • The Hero
  • The Outlaw
  • The Magician
  • The Regular Guy/Gal
  • The Lover
  • The Jester
  • The Caregiver
  • The Creator
  • The Ruler