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The power of brand archetypes in crafting a distinctive personality

Apply psychology to connect emotionally with your audience

Mayya geo
Book Carl Jung

Can you define a person’s personality?

This is a tough question that Carl Jung asked himself. In response, he defined twelve models of people, showcasing their behaviors, personality traits, and patterns. These Jungian archetypes are discussed in his book The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. According to his theory, we possess all of these twelve archetypes within each of us, but how we express them varies.

How do these archetypes relate to branding and brand personality? Brand personality is about expressing human-like personality traits as a brand. This helps companies connect not only on a logical but also on a personal level with their customers. It’s all about expressing values and beliefs through specific traits. Consider brands like Nike, Rolex, Oreo, Chanel, or Nestlé. Once you hear the name, you immediately associate these brands with a personality—tone of voice, visuals, and emotions. This is the perfect showcase of the power of brand personality.

The advertising industry has embraced Jungian archetypes as a method to help shape the personality of a given brand. According to Carl Jung, we, as humans, express different archetypes through our subconscious mind. For brands, there are various ways to apply and choose your archetype based on specific goals. This article aims to assist you in selecting and defining your brand archetype in order to shape a unique brand personality that not only aligns with an audience but also accelerates your market value.

Would you like to discover your brand archetype category in less than three minutes? Start by taking the brand personality quiz!

Shape your brand personality

Brand personality is a powerful tool to craft your brand’s unique identity, gain an unbeatable market advantage, and allow your customers to express their own identity through the usage of your brand. However, without knowing how to intentionally shape and express your brand archetype, you might unintentionally convey the wrong message to your audience, dropping your brand position into the cellar of poorly communicated and difficult to understand brands. Let’s discuss the essential steps and factors to consider.

Before we begin with the specifics, we should establish a basic understanding. Some may find the concepts of archetypes and personality too abstract. But consider Rolex, for instance: the brand immediately brings to mind a vision of the person who would buy their product. For these individuals, it’s not just an expensive item; it’s a means to showcase their equity, their position in life, and their investment with rising value over time. In essence, this is a brand catering to a wealthy persona. Rolex has successfully built a strong bridge with its personality, utilizing the Ruler archetype, resonating with and enabling these customers to engage and express themselves through their products. This example illustrates that brand personality isn’t an abstract idea, it manifests its value in actual business strategy.

In the book Building Strong Brands, author David A. Aaker emphasizes the important relationship between human personality and behavior. Susan Fournier’s research at Harvard revealed that a person’s personality truly manifests in their behavior and consistent actions. This means we are what we do, not what we say we are. Actions and consistent behavior are what shapes a person’s opinion about us. This same concept applies to brand personality: it’s the result of consistent actions and appearances that showcase the true brand identity.

How one brand behaves impacts how their audience and their customers perceive it. People judge based on consistency in behavior, triggering specific motivations to either engage or disregard the brand. The way a brand shapes its identity and expresses it through behavior has a direct impact on customer perception and the likelihood of interaction.

For example, a brand that is easy to approach and uses common language will be perceived as friendly. On the other hand, a brand that requires interaction by invitation or appointment, uses sophisticated language, and applies high prices will be perceived as a high-value, sophisticated product.

So, how can you shape your brand personality to align with your product and gain recognition, association, and increased equity? Here is the starting point for your journey.

Begin by asking the following questions:

• What is the current personality used by your brand?

• What is the personality/personalities of your target audience and customers?

• Does the current brand personality help your audience express their identity or build a personality image that they aspire to?

• Does this personality provide enough flexibility to express the brand verbally and visually?

• How does the current brand personality align with your current business objectives and vision for the future?

• How can you create and manage the brand personality in the future?

brand personality

Shape your brand personality strategically with archetypes

Now that we’ve discussed how to begin defining brand personality, the next issues are how to align the correct brand archetype with brand personality and, more importantly, how to strategically choose the right personality traits.

By answering the questions above, you are likely to come up with a few potential archetypes to address your needs. To select the one archetype that best suits your brand, consider the following additional questions:

  • What is the brand archetype used by your competitors?
  • Which brand archetype will resonate most with your target audience?

 

Make sure you choose an archetype that sets you apart from the competition and allows you to carve out your niche. For example, think about how Pepsi entered the market with a radically different personality from Coca-Cola.

Once you have your archetype in mind, it’s the time to shape your unique version and integrate it into your brand personality. You can adjust, add, or remove traits to tailor it to your brand. However, after the transformation, you should still be able to identify the common personality trait and archetype. The traits that will help you shape your brand personality include:

  • Demographics (international or local)
  • Gender (male, female, or neutral)
  • Age (young, middle-aged, or established)
  • Tone of voice (friendly/approachable or sophisticated)
  • Values (user-friendly, environmentally conscious, or exclusive)
  • Cultural relevance (for all, for creators, or for a specific ethnic group)

 

When consistently and properly executed, brand personality becomes a central element integrated into your brand identity. This means you can adapt imagery, verbal communication, and product marketing, aligning them with the specific personality you want to express. Brands lacking personality or a strong identity remain vulnerable in the market and open to varied interpretations from competitors and customers.

Think of brand personality as a support in maintaining customer relationships. Similar to relationships between people, those who consistently showcase regulated and clear behavior are considered trustworthy and likely to remain close. Brands that change opinions, behaviors, and personalities frequently are seen as unstable or untrustworthy, making it more challenging to sustain relationships. Help people connect to your brand on an emotional and personal level by maintaining consistency and evolving naturally over time. Assist individuals in expressing their identity through brand personality, thereby increasing brand equity and your business value.

The Magician

Application examples

Let’s explore real-life applications through projects from our portfolio.

In the recent completion of our GEOBO branding, we embodied the Magician archetype. As a creative design studio, we possess a deep understanding of the power of transformation, creativity, and innovation. Just like a magician who can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, we have the ability to create magical brand experiences that captivate audiences and make dreams a reality. The Magician archetype aligns with our visionary nature and our commitment to push boundaries and inspire brand transformations. This archetype also resonates with our target audience in the creative industry, who make their impact through innovation, craft, and creativity. Our personality, applied to GEOBO’s tone of voice, is direct, challenging, playful, desirable, smart, and confident. We believe in asking thought-provoking questions and engaging in meaningful conversations with our clients. Our communication style is approachable yet authoritative, ensuring clarity in conveying our message. Our identity aesthetic is beautiful, young, progressive, innovative, and modern. We embrace clean and sleek design elements, leveraging technology-inspired visuals and minimalist approaches to create a contemporary and sophisticated brand identity. Our brand colors reflect vibrant energy, with purple embodying creativity and sophistication, and warm red exuding passion, strength, and dynamism.

In another recent project we branded xAiDRIP, an AI-driven NFT fashion magazine embodying the Lover archetype. The brand personality is adventurous, passionate, and empathetic, with a romantic, inspiring, and intimate tone of voice. The identity concept embraces fluidity, featuring a custom-designed logotype and a logo icon in the shape of a heart, symbolizing the intense emotionality of xAiDRIP’s mission. The fluid logo can manifest itself in different forms adorned with various patterns, combining contemporary elements with timeless aesthetics. Inspired by pixels and drops of water, the unique logo icon symbolizes the loveable and heartfelt nature of xAiDRIP’s core values.

In the branding of the180, we embraced the Creator as the primary brand archetype. The brand personality is playful, approachable, and innovative, focusing on the power of workshops to enhance team productivity and collaboration. The180 stands out in the industry by offering a unique approach to achieving success through teamwork. Every aspect, from workshops to its distinctive mascot, revolves around values such as productivity, collaboration, growth, and improvement. Typography, colors, and forms are carefully chosen to reflect the commitment to these values, creating a cohesive brand image that reinforces the brand’s core principles.

These are just a few examples illustrating how archetypes shape a unique brand personality and identity, impacting business strategy. In each case, concrete traits and strategies are employed to set the brand apart. Now let’s explore the twelve brand archetypes by Carl Jung, grouped into the four main categories.

All brand archetypes

The twelve brand archetypes by Carl Jung

Jung discovered that archetypes can be categorized into four types, with each category containing three distinct archetype possibilities.

brand archetypes 1

1. Independence and Spirituality

The Innocent

Embodying simplicity, optimism, and purity, this archetype symbolizes childlike innocence and is frequently employed by brands to convey a sense of these qualities. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include Coca-Cola, Dove, and Innocent.

The Explorer

Signifying freedom, adventure, and self-discovery, this archetype is adopted by brands aiming to evoke excitement and encourage customers to break free from the norm and explore new territories. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include The North Face, Timberland, and Patagonia.

The Sage

Representing wisdom, intelligence, and insight, the Sage archetype is adopted by brands aiming to convey profound wisdom and provide valuable knowledge to customers so they can make informed decisions. Well-known brands following this archetype include TED, the New York Times, and Google.

brand archetypes 2

2. Mastery and Legacy

The Hero

Signifying courage, strength, and honor, this archetype is frequently adopted by brands aiming to convey these qualities. Such brands empower customers to overcome challenges and make a positive impact in the world. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include Nike, Adidas, and Supreme.

The Outlaw

Representing rebellion, freedom, and individualism, this archetype is often used by brands seeking to convey these characteristics. These brands encourage customers to break the rules and challenge the status quo. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include Virgin, Diesel, and Harley-Davidson.

The Magician

Embodying transformation, imagination, and spirituality, this archetype is commonly utilized by brands aiming to convey these traits. These brands assist customers in transforming their lives and unlocking their full potential. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include MAC, IBM, and Sony.

brand archetypes 3

3. Belonging and Pure Connection

The Everyday Person (also known as The Everyman/Everywoman)

Embodying belonging, relatability, and simplicity, the Everyday Person archetype is commonly employed by brands to convey a feeling of belonging and simplicity. These approachable brands create a sense of familiarity, making customers feel at home. Examples of well-known brands following this archetype include Levi’s, GAP, and McDonald’s.

The Lover

Signifying passion, intimacy, and sensuality, the Lover archetype is frequently adopted by brands seeking to convey these qualities. These brands excel in creating profound emotional connections with customers, appealing to their senses and fostering compelling bonds. Examples of well-known brands following this archetype include L’Oréal, Victoria’s Secret, and Chanel.

The Jester

Representing joy, humor, and irreverence, the Jester archetype is commonly used by brands to convey a lively sense of these qualities. Skillfully using humor as a tool, these brands make customers laugh, infusing a delightful sense of lightness and playfulness into interactions. Examples of well-known brands following this archetype include Old Spice, GoDaddy, and Mailchimp.

brand archetypes 4

4. Stability and Structure

The Caregiver

Signifying compassion, empathy, and nurturing, this archetype is often utilized by brands seeking to convey these qualities. These caring and supportive brands make customers feel looked after. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include UNICEF, Johnson & Johnson, and WWF.

The Creator

Embodying innovation, imagination, and self-expression, this archetype is commonly adopted by brands seeking to convey these qualities. These brands inspire customers to be creative and express themselves. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include Apple, Burberry, and Tesla.

The Ruler

Representing power, authority, and control, this archetype is frequently adopted by brands conveying these attributes. Often linked with luxury and high-end offerings, these brands are perceived as dominant and in charge. Examples of well-known brands adopting this archetype include BOSS, Louis Vuitton, and ROLEX.

define your brand archetype

The power is in your hands

In essence, brand archetypes have the potential to either elevate or diminish how people connect with and perceive your brand. This powerful tool not only facilitates a person-like relationship between your brand and consumers but also enhances your brand’s equity, providing a significant advantage in the market.

Once you finalize your brand archetype and shape your personality, you possess the necessary tools to effectively communicate through your brand’s identity. Consider taking the bold step to radically differentiate from others and stake your unique brand position.

Thank you for reading! 💜