The 12 brand archetypes - which one is your business?
If you've read our ultimate guide to SME branding, you'll know how beneficial good branding can be for business.
Giving your business a brand personality can help customers relate to it like they do to other people. It sparks loyalty, community, engagement and conversions.
And in business, that's a powerful connection to have.
But how do you create a personality for your business?
A popular way to define your brand personality is to match your business to the 12 archetypes defined by Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung.
These character traits work well in marketing and branding because they categorise behaviours.
When your business reflects an archetype it helps customers decide, "I like that business. I relate to them. They are like me and they get me." Or, if they don't feel it's a good match.
To see which archetype best matches your business, start by answering these questions:
- How do you help customers solve their problems/achieve their dreams?
- What are your business values?
- What are three words that best describe your culture?
- How do you want your customers to perceive your brand?
- Who are your major competitors?
Once you have answered these questions honestly, take a look at the archetypes below to see what sounds most like your brand personality.
There's a good chance you'll match with a few archetypes. Your goal is to identify the one you relate to most. Your primary archetype.
The 12 brand archetypes
All about freedom, excitement and adventure.
- Goal: New and better experiences and escaping boredom.
- Fears: Being trapped, conforming, feeling empty inside.
- Examples: Subaru, Lonely Planet, Corona
Prove worth through courageous and difficult action.
- Goals: Value quality over quantity, want to exert mastery to improve the world.
- Fears: Failure, weakness, not being the best.
- Examples: Nike, Duracell, FedEx
Wants to connect with everyone and highlight everyday life moments.
- Goals: To fit in and belong.
- Fears: Standing out, being seen as fake, being rejected.
- Examples: IKEA, Kit Kat, Target
Optimistic and driven to find the good in situations, paradise.
- Goals: Happiness, nostalgia, simplicity.
- Fear: Doing something wrong that results in punishment.
- Examples: McDonald's, Dove, Qantas
Want to create something of enduring value.
- Goals: Bring a vision to life with work that lasts.
- Fear: Mediocrity.
- Examples: Google, Lego, Apple
Revolutionary, break the rules
- Goals: Innovate, destroy what's not working and challenge the norm.
- Fear: Be powerless, inconsequential.
- Examples: Harley-Davidson, Diesel, Virgin
Likes inspiring and transformative experiences.
- Goals: Make dreams come true.
- Fears: Unexpected negative consequences.
- Examples: Disney, Lululemon, Dyson
Speak with authority, is in control.
- Goals: To create a prosperous, successful family or community.
- Fears: Being overthrown, chaos.
- Examples: Rolex, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz
Enjoys human connections, offer joy, delight or indulgence.
- Goals: Pleasure, beauty and close relationships.
- Fears: Being a wallflower, alone, unwanted.
- Examples: Victoria's Secret, Ferarri, Magnum
Provide support or safety for others
- Goals: Caring for and protect others.
- Fears: Being selfish. Not receiving gratitude for sacrifices they make.
- Examples: UNICEF, The Salvation Army, J&J
Having fun and living life in the moment.
- Goals: Be a ray of sunshine in everyone's life around them.
- Fear: Boredom, negativity, sadness
- Examples: M&M's, Old Spice, Dollar Shave Club
Understand the world and share that with others.
- Motivators: Finding the truth and gaining wisdom.
- Fears: Fake news, false information and being seen as ignorant.
- Examples: Google, BBC, Harvard University
How did you go? Did you find your spirit archetype?
It's important to remember that you need to truly believe in the goals of an archetype to be believed by customers. It's no use saying you stand for one thing and then behaving in a different way.
If the audience instinctively recognises an archetype in your brand they'll automatically trust and like you.