12 Brand Archetypes and How to Identify Them
Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, developed a set of 12 personality archetypes in 1940. These archetypes are a form of the collective unconscious. Jung proposed the idea of these archetypes as being aspects of one’s personality that are innate, hereditary and unlearned. He rejected the idea of ‘tabula rasa’, or the concept of the human mind being a blank slate that builds ideas solely on the shoulders of experiences.
(Source - Miro Medium)
A unique blend of language, culture, norms and beliefs defines a person’s archetype. The Jungian archetypes, consisting of several combinations, can be applied universally and are divided into twelve types: the Self, Anima, Animus, Shadow, Persona, Mother, Father, Child, Wise, Old, Hero, Trickster and Maiden. A compressive study of these can offer you a better understanding of the human mind and how it functions.
Though there are twelve archetypes, an individual may possess not just one, but a combination of two or more archetypes, with one being dominant over the other(s).
Similarly, one can categorise brands into twelve archetypes according to their characteristics and communication style. These archetypes are derived from Jung's theory and help us understand brands effectively.
As a business, one can study them to understand the target audience better, and thereby select the right strategy for their business and its promotion.
These brands are perceived as visionaries. They are often ahead of time and offer innovation. Their creative take on existing products and services revolutionises the industry, while encouraging users to take a new direction.
Often individualistic and with a clear vision, their long-term goals revolve around innovation.
Example: Apple, GoPro
Brands like Apple and GoPro are innovation-centric that incorporate new ideas to existing products to improve user experience, and set the trend in the industry.
This archetype comes from Senex, a Latin word used for the seeker of knowledge. These brands do not change the world but showcase it honestly and empower everyone with knowledge. Perceived as seekers of truth and life-long learners, they often have expertise in a subject and can influence it.
Example: TED, Times of India
TED and Times of India are brands that are dedicated to bring forth the truth of things that happen in our society. Their primary focus on education and awareness generation makes them sage brands.
The brands categorised as caregivers are driven by compassion and kindness. They have to nurture traits and come across as teachers and guides. In the fields of charity and nursing, this brand personality is common.
Example: Huggies, UNICEF
Brands like Huggies and UNICEF talk about others’ benefits, showing kindness and care in their communication.
These brands possess a desire to spread happiness. Their optimistic personality, as well as their focus on love, peace and joy, attracts young audiences easily. You can expect simplicity from such brands over innovation.
Example: Paperboat, Natural Ice Cream
Brands like Paperboat and Natural Ice Cream promote fun and enjoyment through their marketing communication. While Paperboat talks about nostalgia and childhood fun, Natural Ice Cream focuses on real flavours and celebrations in the presence of family and friends.
Jester brands are easy-going and light-hearted and maintain a playful demeanour to engage the audience. One associates positive and funny characteristics with such brands.
Example: Fanta, Bewakoof
Brands like Fanta and Bewakoof showcase traits of amusement and energy. They don’t address anything weighty; instead, they show a playful message that entertains the audience.
These brands want to amaze their audience and cast a spell to keep them engaged. Such brands are dedicated to creating a memorable experience for their target audience.
Example: Disney, Lakme
Brands like Disney and Lakme focus on the magical experience more than their products or services. Their communication persuades the audience to sign up for something unique and memorable.
Such brands have a dominating personality and focus on gaining power and control. They focus on showcasing leadership through expertise or boasting about their market share.
Example: Vistara, Microsoft
Often you might notice how Vistara and Microsoft mention being market leaders in their respective industries through their marketing communications, in addition to displaying statistics that support their claims of being the market leader.
With a strong sense of right and wrong, these brands dedicate themselves to inspiring others to unite against wrong. Such brands showcase success through hard work, and their messages focus on bravery.
Example: FedEx, Nike
Brands like Nike and FedEx focus on being right and encourage their target audience to take the right step or celebrate journey and success.
These brands are relatable and approachable for all. They are never pretentious and ensure to have an everyday personality that blends in easily.
Example: Ikea, Amul
Brands like Ikea and Amul are a part of one’s everyday life. These brands take efforts to stay relevant to a larger audience, enabling the consumer to make them a part of their daily lives.
Unlike everyman, these brands are unconventional and focus on standing out of the clutter. Such brands enjoy and encourage taking risks and exploring new things. They have a niche yet loyal target audience.
Example: Fast Track, Harley Davidson
Fast Tract and Harley Davidson as brands force the audience to break out of their comfort zone and take new risks. Hence, we can consider them rebel or outlaw brands.
Explorer brands are driven by the desire for freedom and independence. These brands hate conformity and prefer to take on new challenges. Their goal is to discover something new and continue the adventure.
Example: Royal Enfield, Thums Up
Royal Enfield and Thums Up are brands that instill the idea of being free and independent in the audience. They promote being open to new challenges and discovering something contemporary.
Such brands come across as passionate and close to the target audience. They appeal to the target audience emotionally, and can also be family-oriented and spiritual.
Example: Tanishq, Manyavar
Brands like Tanishq and Manyavar showcase love for jewellery and garments respectively, but do so with a significant family orientation. They create an emotional connection for their products and establish a memorable association for the target audience.
Brand archetypes are a phenomenal positioning tool that can also help your brand in determining the narrative and tone for storytelling. Identifying the brand's archetype can help the business create a connection with the target audience and stand out from the clutter. Just like for individuals, brands may possess characteristics of two or more archetypes; but you can choose the one(s) that form your communication narrative with the target audience. If you find that challenging, connect brand personality with the target audience and choose the archetype that's most compatible.
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