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Dave O’Hearns, of Cheadle Hulme creative, digital and branding agency Dawn Creative, explains how an understanding of brand archetypes can help your business connect with target customers.
Brand archetypes are a way of thinking about brands as personality types or roles. They are similar to personality type assessments for people such as the Myers Briggs personality tests or the enneagram but are applied to particular brands. They are a universally recognisable, innately understood character type or role that a brand can embody.
Brand archetypes are a useful way of reflecting about brands and can help companies develop and market their brands while examining the specific role they will play for their customers.
How many brand archetypes are there?
There are 12 brand archetypes that are commonly used in branding. They were introduced by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson in their book; The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes.
The 12 brand archetypes are:
- The Creator
- The Caregiver
- The Ruler
- The Jester
- The Regular Guy/Gal
- The Lover
- The Hero
- The Outlaw
- The Magician
- The Innocent
- The Explorer
- The Sage
How to find your brand archetype
Your brand archetype represents your brand as a persona based on 12 key human values and desires. This might be something such as power, belonging, adventure or safety. The idea behind creating your archetype is to help build your brand narrative while creating an emotional connection with your target audience.
To find your brand archetype you begin with your values and mission. If, for instance, you are selling art supplies then The Creator archetype might be an obvious fit. If you’re running a health or wellbeing business, then The Caregiver may be a good choice for your business. These are obvious examples, but if your business doesn’t easily fit into one of the categories you will need to dig a little deeper.
Consider the emotions you want people to feel when they think of your business. Are they reassured or inspired? Perhaps it makes them happy or confident that they can accomplish a task. Emotions such as love are often associated with products such as flowers or chocolate. Toys or clothes for very young children might be associated with innocence. Use the emotions associated with your product to inform your choice of archetype.
Finally, think about your audience and how they might relate to your particular archetype. Will it be something that they can relate to and connect with? It’s no good choosing an archetype that is different to how your brand is perceived by your customers. Through your market research you might find that your brand meets two archetypes in the minds of your customers, such as Explorer and Creative. And you might choose to lean more towards one than the other.
How can brand archetypes help your business?
By properly identifying your brand archetypes to properly reflect the personality of your brand, you can better align your brand with specific customer personas. It can be an effective means by which to think about your brand, locate your target audience and then develop your marketing strategy. It also acts as an effective orienting tool for your marketing team, helping them to stay focused on what the brand hopes to deliver and the priorities of your target audience.
Read more on the Dawn Creative website.