Using The 12 Brand Archetypes To Create A Brand Personality

It's NOT what you sell, but HOW you sell.
"The collective unconscious consists of the sum of the instincts and their correlates, the archetypes. Just as everybody possesses instincts, so he also possesses a stock of archetypal images."   - C.G Jung

Archetypes are the original work of  Psychologist C.G. Jung.  He recognized patterns in the human psyche, he used archetypes as the way to categorize them. The characters that he identified keep recurring in popular stories and films over and over again.  For instance, Indiana Jones and his adventures, Disney princess, Mulan who rebels against society norms, or Prince that recues Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella.  

Brands are a personification of a company, product, or service.

In 2001 in the book, The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark (Author), and Carol Pearson (Author)  outlined a system to use archetypes to form brand personalities.

Archetypes in Branding is another tool that can help us to use archetypes and apply them to a brand. We can use archetypes to give brands human qualities that our customers/clients can relate to.

Let's dive into the each archetype in detail:

1| The Innocent 

The Innocent brand is known for being simple, pure, and natural.

The innocent's core desire is to be free and happy.

Their greatest fear is doing something wrong and being punished. The Innocent brand promotes honesty, openness, and trust. Customers like simple, open, and honest marketing. A pushy marketing strategy will not work with this brand.

The Innocent brand can use light colours in their branding and minimal design elements.

If the Innocent brand is not careful they may be viewed as childish and boring.

This brand works well for a product that is simple and natural.

2| The Explorer

The Explorer brand is known as the adventurer, traveller or seeker.

The explorer's core desire is to obtain freedom by exploring the world.

Their greatest fear is being trapped, feeling an inner emptiness, or conforming to society rules.

The Explorer brand promotes freedom, self-discovery and individualism. Customers want to feel like they are on a journey with the brand.

The Explorer brand will usually use a combination of bright and earth-coloured tones in their branding.

If the Explorer brand is not careful they may be viewed as aimless or self-indulgent.

This brand works well for a product that promotes individualism, travel, and self-discovery.

3| The Sage

The Sage brand is known for being knowledgeable, wise, and factual.

The sage's core desire is to discover the truth.

Their greatest fear is being duped or perceived as stupid. The sage brand promotes education, knowledge, and truth. Customers like to be challenged. They enjoy learning new information and knowledge.

The sage brand can use dark and earthy tones.

If the Sage brand is not careful, they may be viewed as judgemental, ignorant, and harsh.

This brand works well for businesses selling educational products.

4| The Outlaw

The Outlaw brand is known for being disruptive and brings about change.

The outlaw's core desire is to create a revolution.

Their greatest fear is becoming powerless or insignificant.

The Outlaw brand promotes revolution and change. Customers liked to be shocked. They appreciate  unconventional content and forcefully reject what is commonplace. They are likely to respond to unpopular and unexpected viewpoints.

The outlaw brand can use bright and contrasting tones.

If the outlaw brand is not careful they may be viewed as controversial and taking things too far.

This archetype works well for a brand that breaks the rules and focuses on shaking things up.

5| The Hero

The Hero brand is known for encouraging courageous action, full of confidence and inspiration. 

Their greatest fear is showing weakness, wimping out, or being vulnerable.

The Hero brand promotes courage, competence, and determination and places a high value on the good quality and effectiveness of their products.

They want to be #1 in their customer's mind.

They do not want to be 2nd place in their market.

If the hero brand is not careful they may be viewed as ignorant.

This archetype works well for a brand that promotes a product that does a tough really well or encourages customers to excel.

6| The Magician

The Magician brand is known for innovation, being charismatic, and bringing about transformations.

The magician's core desire is to make dreams come true.

Their greatest fear is unexpected negative consequences.

The magician promotes transformative knowledge and experiences. The magician makes the individual feel special rather than focusing on the tribe. Customers want to feel enchanted and inspired to live their dreams.

The magician brand will usually have several pastel tones in their branding.

If the magician brand is not careful they may be viewed as manipulative and secretive.

7| The Entertainer

The Entertainer brand is known for living in the moment and enjoying life to the fullest.

Their greatest fear is feeling bored or being perceived as boring.

The entertainer brand promotes living a happy and full life.

The entertainer brand focuses on being unusual or playful- they make light of the more serious expects of life. Customers want to to be entertained and amused by the brand.

The entertainer will use happy, cheerful, warm, and contrasting colors in their branding.

If the entertainer brand is not careful, they can be perceived as wasting time and goofing off.

The entertainer brand works well for a product that promotes fun and enjoyment. 

8. The Lover

The Lover brand is known for expressing passion and intimacy in relationships. 

Their greatest fear is being unwanted or unloved. The Lover brand focuses on being glamorous and luxurious with a sense of sexual appeal.

Customers want to feel like they are special, beautiful, and wanted.

The Lover brand uses warm and sensual colours in their branding.

If The Lover brand is not careful they can lose their identity because they trying too hard to attract and please others.  

This archetype works well for a product that promotes relationships or intimacy.

9| Girl/Guy Next Door

The Girl/Guy next door archetype brand is about belonging and connection.

Their greatest fear is standing out and not fitting it.

The Girl/Guy next door brand promotes community, quality and dependability.

This archetype focuses on being dependability, honest and down to earth. Customers want to feel accepted and included.

The Girl/Guy next store brand will use neutral and earth tone colors in their branding.

If the girl/guy next door brand is not careful they may lose their identity by trying to maintain too many superficial relationships.

10| The Caregiver 

The Caregiver archetype brand is known for being nurturing and supportive.

Their greatest fear is being selfish and ungrateful.

The Caregiver  promotes compassion and empathy.

They focus on security and safety for their customers.

Customers want to feel safe, secure and protected.

The Caregiver brand can use warm and light tone colors in their branding.

If this archetype isn't careful, they can fall into being used by others.

11| Ruler

The Ruler archetype is known for maintaining control, elegance, and luxury. 

Their greatest fear is chaos, being overthrown, losing control or power. 

The Ruler promotes leadership and dominance. 

Customers of the ruler brand want to feel powerful, in control, and luxurious.

They will not tolerate being spoken down to or water downed advertising.

The Ruler brand can use deep and rich tone colors in their branding.

If The Ruler brand is not careful, they will be perceived as being bossy or overbearing.

12| The Creator

The Creator archetype is known for innovative, imagination, and curiousity. 

Their greatest fear is having a mediocre vision or poor execution of the vision.

The Creator brand works well for a business that has DIY component and promotes self-expression or the creation of something new. Customers wants to feel creative and inspired.

The Creator brand can use bright and warm tone colors in their branding.

If the creative brand is not careful, they can get caught up in perfection and never release what they have created.



Here are 3 companies that sell a very similar product - chocolate.  

Watch the videos see how each brand is selling their product differently.

1. M&M's - They are humorous, light and make fun of themselves

2. Godiva - They use a sensual and intimate imagery to make the brand appealing.
3. Kit-Kat shows that is the brand available to the everyday person.

Now, it's your turn to find out what your brand archetype is so you can start putting your brand personality to use in your business.


What's Your Brand Personality?