Brand Archetypes – The Ultimate Video Guide To The 12

08.09.2022 Content Strategy
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Many of us wander through life contemplating who we are and what our purpose is in this world. Are we all totally unique or can we be categorised into different character groups? According to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, the latter is true and the same can be said for brands. This is where the notion of the 12 brand archetypes derived from. Jung believed that all people could be placed into one of these 12 archetypes and it would help explain their actions and outlook on life. However, the theory can also be applied to brand characteristics.

When it comes to branding, these archetypes are a means of presenting the behaviors, values, and voice of a brand as a personality. In doing so, it becomes more recognizable and relatable to target audiences with a specific interest in the brand’s ethos. By realizing which archetype your brand falls under, you can more accurately decipher how best to present your brand in a way that will “speak” to your target audience. Through this, actions like creating content strategies, brand stories or even launching your first video series become infinitely easier.

To further aid in the categorization of your brand, the archetypes are based on the motivation of the audience, they can be roughly sorted into 4 brackets: order, social, ego, and freedom. These represent what individuals value most in the world and therefore the characteristics that they will appreciate your brand to reflect.

Let’s explore each of the archetypes and their categories in more detail.

Brand Archetypes

Brands under this bracket value stability and the status quo.

Brand Archetypes 1 The Caregiver Brand Archetype

The Caregiver exists to give to others. Motivated by compassion, those fitting into this brand archetype are here to help the less fortunate and can typically be seen in the form of charities. This image of living for others gives brands a strong sense of trustworthiness. They make people feel safe and generate public support for the services that they provide.

Example of The Caregiver archetype – Heinz

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Always put the interests of your audience first. This should be evident throughout all brand communication channels.
  • Campaigns need to incorporate a strong sense of emotion in their messaging as well as empathy towards the audience.

Brand Archetype

Brand Archetypes 2 The Ruler Brand Archetype

The Ruler eliminates uncertainty by taking control. They like to make the rules and play the game within these rules and expect all others to do the same. The Ruler fosters stability, respect and trust from their audience and create high-quality products that are leaders within their field, just as the brand itself is. They need to be careful not to become arrogant, otherwise another Ruler brand will likely take their place.

Example of The Ruler archetype – Microsoft

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Make sure to portray your brand as the very best in the market and insinuate to your customers that they shouldn’t settle for any less.
  • Minimalist designs are shown to suggest luxury and sophistication – two attributes that this archetype is very much associated with.
  • The audience is the same as the brand – keen to be considered dominant within their field.

Brand Archetypes 3 The Creator Brand Archetype

The Creator has a vision of how the world should be and creating a product that turns this into reality is the ultimate aim. Authentic and innovative, those that fit into the Creator brand archetype make sense of the world around them and provide products that allow others to be creative themselves. They often fuse technology with creativity.

Example of The Creator archetype – Apple

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Innovation is absolutely key. You have to stay ahead of the curve in everything that you do, from your branding to the products themselves. For example, use innovative media formats in your marketing.
  • Ensure that your comms give an impression of authenticity and a promise of creative freedom.
  • The audience is inspired by creativity, so ensure that you use outside-the-box thinking when expressing your brand messaging.

Brand Archetype

Social Brand Archetypes

Brands under this bracket value a sense of belonging.

Brand Archetypes 4 The Lover Brand Archetype

The Lover inspires closer relationships through sensuousness and seductiveness. But it isn’t all romantically charged – this also expands to relationships that are familial and spiritual. Focus on improving connections with things that really matter through emotion and pleasurable experiences that make life more special.

Example of The Lover archetype – Haagen-Dazs

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Use ideas that empower customers to be intimate and daring in all aspects of life, not just a romantic sense.
  • The Lover’s audience fear being unwanted. Create brand messaging that makes them feel loved both by others and by themselves.

Brand Archetype

Brand Archetypes 5 The Jester Brand Archetype

The archetype that doesn’t take itself too seriously. We have all come across a jester-type personality in our lives and – crucially – we all remember who they are. Connecting with their inner child, The Jester looks to have fun and keep things light-hearted. Thinking outside the box is second nature to them and helping people see the lighter side of life is their goal.

Example of The Jester archetype – Ben & Jerries

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Campaigns have to be witty and light-hearted, so that your brand becomes associated with good times.
  • Bear in mind that The Jester brand archetype isn’t suitable for every industry.
  • Getting the balance right is key with The Jester’s humour. Don’t overdo it or overstep the line with questionable morals.

Brand Archetypes 6 The Everyman Brand

Down to earth, relatable and wholesome. This is what The Everyman is. They value hard work, authenticity and practicality over items of luxury. In doing so, they appeal to a mass market. They market their wears towards families and those who appreciate the value of money over the glitz and glamour of other brands.

Example of The Everyman archetype – Tesco

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Make sure that your messaging is friendly, homely and relatable. Customers want to feel like they belong.
  • The best way to stand out for an Everyman brand is to produce products that are good quality, yet affordable.

Ego Brand Archetypes

Brands under this bracket value taking risks and achieving greatness.

Brand Archetypes 7 The Hero Brand Archetype

Always willing to rise to the challenge, The Hero protects and inspires. They also promote notions of self-belief and being the best version of oneself. The brand’s tale is one of triumph over difficulties, helping others visualise such a rise to success. They inspire courage and reaching one’s full potential through the important, positive effect of their brand.

Example of The Hero archetype – Nike

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Look to inspire your audience with content that appeals to their ambitions.
  • If possible, team up with people who have achieved excellence and are seen as role models within their field.
  • Make sure that the wow factor of your branding is matched by your products.

Brand Archetype

Brand Archetypes 8 The Rebel Brand Archetype

The Rebel actively looks to tear up the rule book wherever possible. By disregarding the conventional, they look to create a new and better means of doing things. Portraying themselves as romanticised outlaws or vigilantes, they undermine the status quo to help people question the norm. In looking for a new way to be, people end up turning to them for the answer. Because they inspire a new way of thinking, they often conjure strong loyalty in their followers.

Example of The Rebel archetype – Greenpeace

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Your customers are drawn to the thrill of anarchy in the name of a good cause. Play on this.
  • Remember that you are here to break the norm, so sometimes going against marketing conventions can be a good idea.
  • Innovation within this archetype comes in the form of introducing new solutions to recurring problems.

Brand Archetypes 9 The Magician Brand Archetype

The Magician makes dreams come true and problems disappear. They amaze their audience with eye-catching acts both big and small. Intelligent and knowledgeable, they turn problems into solutions and take the audience out of their normal life and to a place of wonder.

Example of The Magician archetype – Disney

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • This archetype suits brands that take their customers on a journey of transformation.
  • Portray your brand as something that can transport customers away from their ordinary lives.

Brand Archetype

Freedom Brand Archetypes

Brands under this bracket value the act of broadening their horizons and thinking freely.

Brand Archetypes 10 The Innocent Brand Archetype

As the name suggests, The Innocent bases their branding on an appealing sense of simplicity. The Innocent sees the world from a position of juvenile wonder and amazement, hoping to pass this attitude on to their audience in the process. This is achieved through the simplicity of their products, their communication or both.

Example of The Innocent archetype – Innocent (funnily enough)

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Avoid using confusing, technical language. Your audience will appreciate simple solutions to their problems and transparency in your messaging.
  • Try to adopt a natural-looking approach to your branding. Don’t include anything superficial.
  • Don’t allow your simple messaging style to head too far into the realms of naïveté. Your customers won’t want to be sold an idea that is so wonderful that it could never exist.

Brand Archetypes 11 The Sage Brand Archetype

Believers in the power of the truth, The Sage is driven by a desire to seek out new knowledge and using it to make the world a better place. They are thorough, rigorous and show higher levels of intelligence. They are regarded as a trustworthy source of information and look to illuminate the world through sharing their knowledge.

Example of The Sage archetype – National Geographic

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • Your brand tone of voice needn’t be a tool for simplifying messages. Your customers are here because they are knowledgeable, so don’t need anything to be dumbed down for them.
  • Make sure that you associate your brand with only the most reliable sources of information.
  • Knowledge comes with experience. It is important that you build a sense of trustworthiness before portraying oneself as knowledgeable.

Brand Archetypes 12 The Explorer Brand Archetype

They are independent thinkers, keen on finding purpose through travelling to new places and forging new paths, changing lives in the process. The Explorer is often independent in its mindset, but they inspire others to follow the paths that they carve. Discovery, freedom and bending conformism is what drives them. They inspire change through their innovative and inspiring activities.

Example of The Explorer archetype – Patagonia

How to apply this archetype to your brand:

  • The Explorer brands that stand out are those that take risks. The audience are thrill seekers, so this is something that is sure to grab their interest.
  • Explorer brands should give their customers the ability to change their surroundings and venture into the outside world.

Brand Archetype

It is can be a lot of information to wrap your head around and your brand may not quite fall into the bracket that you think it will. If so, you may be in need of some rebranding. It is also important to bear in mind that the 12 archetypes model isn’t static. Therefore, brands often shift from one archetype to another or even take on 2 archetypes at once.

For tips on how to make great video content or using the 12 archetypes to your advantage, drop us a line.


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