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Archetypes: Unlocking Your Brand's Personality for Stronger Marketing

carl_gustav_jung_9811Swiss psychologist Carl Jung theorized that humans use symbolism to simplify and more easily understand complex concepts. He defined a set of twelve Archetypes, or personality profiles, that people use as symbols to understand one another and the things around them in the world.

These Archetypes can be applied to businesses too. More specifically, they can be used to analyze and better understand existing businesses’ marketing and motivations. The Jungian Archetypes can also be leveraged to help shape the brand personality and marketing strategy of developing businesses too. No matter who you are in this industry, understanding Brand Archetypes is a must for novice and seasoned marketing professionals alike.


What is a brand personality?

Your business’ brand personality is the sum of your brand voice, colors, fonts, graphic design styles and so much more. It is the intangible soul of your company manifested in your social media content, billboards, website, and even in the people you employ. Your brand personality is not so much the product or service you sell, but the presentation of how you sell them, and how you interact with your customers too.

You should be able to identify your company as at least one - if not two or three of the following Jungian Archetypes. As you read the following persona profiles, think about how closely your brand aligns with any or all the individual Archetypes. Would growing more closely into any of these persona symbols help or hinder your brand? Do any of the Archetypes resonate with you more than your current brand personality? Jung’s Archetypes should lead you into a thoughtful reflection about who your brand personality truly is and how to better embody that in your branding and marketing.


Archetype #1: The Innocent

The Innocent Archetype symbolizes wholesome characteristics like optimism, honesty, and purity. Innocent brands are driven by the search for happiness, embody simplicity in their mission and marketing, and use charm to invite customers to explore their brand rather than impose themselves on their audience. 

Examples: Coca Cola, Wii, Volkswagen



Archetype #2: Everyman

Everyman brands cultivate belonging through marketing strategy infused with friendliness, humbleness, and authenticity. These brands are seen as supportive and down-to-earth - they attract customers by celebrating simplicity and the everyday life of the average person.

Examples: Target, IKEA, Home Depot 



Archetype #3: Hero

These companies seek to make the world a better place and share a brand voice that is honest, candid, and brave. To invest in the products or services of a Hero brand is to take part in the company’s determination, grit, and giving your all to what you do.

Examples: Nike, Fedex, Duracell



Archetype #4: Outlaw

Outlaw brands crave to spur a revolution, challenge the rules, and chase after liberation. These companies invite their customers to live on the wild side, break the rules, and challenge the status quo. By purchasing products from an Outlaw brand, customers stand out from the norm, and never settle for less than they deserve.

Examples: Harley Davidson, Diesel (jeans), Virgin 



Archetype #5: Explorer

Brands that champion the thrill and excitement of new adventures in their mission and marketing are classified as Explorer brands according to Jung. Explorer company’s products empower the buyer to get out and discover everything the world has to offer. Common characteristics of an Explorer’s brand voice and spirit include excitement, fearlessness, and daring choices.

Examples: Jeep, Patagonia, REI



Archetype #6: Creator

Imaginative, innovative, and, and provocative are all common characteristics of Creator brands. These companies strive for self-expression and originality and work to sell lasting, enduring products and services with deep meaning and value to the world.

Example: Crayola, Apple, Adobe



Archetype #7: Ruler

Ruler brands represent the highest of standards and are refined, commanding, and articulate. To potential buyers, a Ruler brand says “ You are successful in work and life. Reward your excellence and your achievements.” These companies offer the best of a niche industry and suggest that their customers can be a Ruler too.

Example: Rolex, Mercedes Benz, American Express



Archetype #8: Magician

Magician brands are mystical and informed. These companies promise miracles and also know how to make their customers’ dreams come true. Magician brand personalities are deep thinking and emotionally engaging and they work to produce extraordinary experiences for their target audience.

Example: Disney, Intel, Dyson



Archetype #9: Lover

To their customers, Lover brands say “Your striking beauty is impossible to ignore.” Lover companies celebrate intimacy and possess sensual, empathetic, and soothing brand personalities. While these brands are often luxurious and extravagant, their higher motive lies in appreciation for beauty.

Example: Gucci, Haagen Dazs, Estee Lauder



Archetype #10: Caregiver

 Nurturing, compassionate, and generous are the brand personality traits of a Caregiver company. These brands speak with a voice that is warm, reassuring, and caring. They seek to cultivate selfless love and generosity in order to make their customers feel appreciated and safe.

Example: UNICEF, Johnson & Johnson, Campbell’s

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Archetype #11: Jester

Jester brands embody irreverence, humor, and mischief. These companies say to the world “We are here for a short time, not a long time. Let your hair down and start living life.” The playful and optimistic brand personality of the Jester archetype shines through in their marketing presence to cheer and humor their audience. 

Example: M&M, Ben & Jerry’s, and Old Spice



Archetype #12: Sage

The Sage brand personality is full of wisdom and knowledge. These brands guide their customers to discover and understand the truth and celebrate curiosity above all other things. Sage brands often work to organize large amounts of information so that it might be more accessible for everyone around the world.

Example: Google, BBC, PBS



Now that you know the basics of Jung’s Archetypes, you’ll begin to see these symbols everywhere in the world around you. Whether it’s during your next Netflix binge, in your Sunday cartoons, or the advertisement on the side of a city bus- keep your eyes open. You never know what secret brand persona motivations you might uncover with the help of the twelve Jungian Archetypes at the top of your mind...

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Topics: Buyer Personas, Content Marketing