February 1, 2022 | By:

A Beginner’s Guide to Brand Archetypes (Part 1)

Creating an emotional connection between you and your customers is essential for a successful business, and it begins with establishing a solid branding strategy.

At Ilfusion, part of our Brand Architecture process is discovering a brand’s archetype, along with defining the brand promise and unique value proposition. Establishing the brand archetype is the foundation of formulating a strong brand personality, which in turn, helps in establishing a stronger emotional connection with your target audience.

In the first part of this series, we’ll learn about what brand archetypes are and how it benefits businesses. In the second part of the series, we’ll delve deeper into the 12 different brand archetypes and how to choose the best archetype for your brand.

What Are Brand Archetypes?

Archetypes refer to symbols and universal patterns of behavior that every human being instinctively understands. This is opposed to stereotypes, which are deeply rooted in culture-specific norms. Archetypes, on the other hand, are grounded in years of sound psychological research and even in Greek philosophy:

  • Greek philosopher Plato first explored the idea of archetypes. He called them “forms of intuitions” and considered them as templates of intuitive understanding.
  • Later on, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung coined the term “archetype” in the context of psychology. According to him, all human beings have a “collective unconscious” that shapes our personalities, experiences, and emotions, and this results in typical patterns of behavior — that is, archetypes.

In business, brand archetypes are a way of representing a brand (i.e., its personality, values, symbology, tone of voice, etc.) as a persona. This personification provides a roadmap that enables you to portray your brand that is more relatable and recognizable to your target audience.

The Importance of Brand Archetypes

Audiences typically develop an emotional connection with certain brands, and these brands that you feel a bond with most likely have a branding strategy that has a solid alignment to an archetype.

Why is this so? Since understanding archetypes are innate in all of us and are seated into our subconscious, when we encounter certain brand archetypes that are in line with our human desire, we create an immediate connection.

And while all humans have unique needs, we all have instinctive, primitive desires that each archetype matches with — for example, The Everyman archetype appeals to a person’s need to be accepted for who they are.

Based on the Pearson Archetypal System, there are 12 archetypes, which we will discuss in more detail in the next section. Additionally, each of these “main” archetypes has subtypes that cater to the complex needs of humans — for example, The Realist archetype also branches out to related subtypes, such as the Orphan, Survivor, Buddy, etc.

Discovering and establishing your brand archetype not only builds a stronger emotional connection; it also:

  • Creates a more solid brand identity: Before you can know who your target audience is, you must first know who you are as a brand. The process of discovering your brand archetype is a good way to establish your brand identity, and vice versa, for 2 reasons:
    1. Your brand archetype solidifies your brand personality, and it even helps you define your tone of voice, color, and many other aspects of your brand identity.
    2. Aligning your branding to a single archetype will make you more familiar to your audience on a subconscious level, allowing you to make a deeper connection to them as a real person and not just a faceless brand.
  • Ensures consistency: As a related point, your brand archetype serves as both a guide and filter for all your marketing and branding efforts. It helps in ensuring that all marketing collateral is consistent (e.g., website, landing pages, social media content, etc.) and that marketing messages are aligned with your branding identity. Being consistent creates the smoothest path for your target audience to connect with your brand.

Read Part 2 of the Brand Archetype Series

If you want to learn more about Ilfusion’s Brand Architecture service, contact us at [email protected] or call us at 888-420-5115 to get started!

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