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Brand Archetypes: The Framework of Brand Personality

You can tell a lot about a person by the type of movies they watch.

What’s your go-to genre? The last movie you watched that really made you feel something?

Nothing excites me quite like a period piece. From the costumes to the sets to the dialogue and all of the details in between, I’m continuously enamored by the attention to detail it takes to transport viewers to another era. One misplaced element and the jig is up. 

There lies an odd comfort in watching any sort of historical film. Instead of getting completely lost in an unfamiliar period as we’d often expect, we find that the challenges the characters face feel oddly congruent with our own. 

Stories help to contextualize our understanding of the world in a compelling way. It’s what makes movies so captivating, right? While the plot lines and characters may differ drastically from our day-to-day experience, we identify with them somehow. We’re all unique in many ways, but it’s these underlying themes, or archetypes, that make the unknown, familiar. 

What Are Archetypes?

Carl Jung is primarily credited with bringing this concept to the forefront of psychology, using 12 archetypes (Greek for original pattern) to describe these storylines that have persisted throughout art, literature, and religion since the beginning of time – “the images derived from the collective unconscious.

These models give context to the fundamental purpose and motivations behind humans’ relationships with each other, themselves, and the world. Their very existence reflects the human need to connect ideas, identify patterns, and create structure in chaos. 

What Archetypes Mean For Brands

The world’s top brands use archetypes to articulate their fundamental purpose through the lens of their distinct worldview.

Take these brands for example:

  • Adobe empowers creatives to create something of enduring beauty or value with their software. They are The Artist.
  • Trader Joe’s is the classic “nice guy/gal”, delivering straightforward products and pleasant customer experiences. They are The Everyman.
  • Jeep is the friend who always has camping gear in their trunk, inviting others along for a journey off the beaten path. They are the Explorer.

Archetypes draw your brand’s essence and core values to the surface – creating the outline of your story and a more tangible structure for your brand’s personality.

The Fuller Picture of Brand Personality

Circling back to our movie characters from the beginning, no hero is exactly the same. While they’re operating within the same framework across tales (avenging a lost loved one, saving cats from trees, carefully guarding their double life), their unique origin story informs the nuance of their approach.

The same goes for your brand. With your archetype in place, we explore an additional level of traits to hone in on the aspects of your brand personality that your archetype may not account for. These descriptors give context to create a fuller picture of how your brand looks, sounds, and feels. 

Are you quirky? Sophisticated? Irreverent? Think about the 5 or 6 words that you want to pop into your customer’s brains when they interact with any one of your brand touchpoints. The best ones simultaneously resonate with who your brand is, and who your ideal customer wants to be

Your archetype and personality traits are tools to establish a meaningful, human relationship with your audience, and tell a complete story from start to finish.

We’re here to help you keep your customers on the edge of their seats. Get a head start on your brand’s story by downloading our Brand Thinkbook!

By Lauren Carr-Gasso Jul 26, 2022
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