Getting to Know Your Brand

A Brief Intro to Archetypes

By Isabel

“A brand is essentially a container for a customer’s complete experience with the product or company.”

Sergio Zyman , Author of The End of Advertising As We Know It

The experience and relationship that consumers attain with brands are the key decision making factors as to whether or not the consumer becomes a brand loyalist. According to the 2011 Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report, 86% of consumers will pay 25% more, for a better customer experience (based on a survey commissioned by Right Now and conducted by Harris Interactive).

Present day consumers use emotional connections and perceptions in order to decide what brands they will choose to purchase. When these consumers are not happy about a specific brand, they now have outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, to lay their grievances out and tell other consumers.  Therefore personal experiences and connections with brands is highly important not only to the consumer, but to the brand as well.

Brand Archetypes

Archetypes first got their start within psychology, when Carl Jung introduced the archetype as a part of the collective unconscious. Jung suggested that these archetypes are innate, universal and hereditary. Meaning that, it is within everyone to put archetypal significances to life experiences.

Since customers associate brands with experiences and emotional connections, using archetypes to explain a brand, can be very beneficial. As Hartwell and Chen mention in their book “Archetypes in Branding”, archetypes can give human attributes to brands and humanize the brand within the consumers mind.

Selecting Your Brand Archetype

Archetype RingV2

The above chart is a suggested list for choosing archetypes. Forty, has created a free download of archetypes and their suggested meanings that can be found here. You can print and cutout this exercise so that a group of people from your company can be involved.  You can also find great in depth definitions and cutout cards in “Archetypes in Branding”. These exercises will assist you in selecting your brand archetype.  You may even want to choose what your past, present and future archetypes are. This can be a useful tip when designing new brand messages.

I have provided a list of companies that work within their brand archetypes. The messages these companies send out are clear and concise when speaking to their target audience in reference to their archetype.  Because these brands understand their archetypes so well, messages are not misconstrued and brand loyalty and recognition are strong and well placed.

Creator: Apple Inc.

Hero: Duracell

Outlaw: Greenpeace

Caregiver: Johnson and Johnson

Jester: Old Spice

Magician: Tide

Everyman: McDonalds

Using these brand archetype examples can really help to bring out the personality of your brand. This exercise may take sometime, so don’t be afraid to step away and come back to it. It is also a good idea to conduct this exercise yearly, so that you can ensure that brand perceptions have not changed and that messaging does not need to be altered as well.

Tell us, what is your brand archetype? I made the list above based on my perceptions. Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? We would love to hear from you. Comment below!