The 12 Brand Archetypes

With archetypes, marketing becomes much simpler, more rewarding, and memorable. Archetypes are the heartbeat of a brand because they convey meaning that makes customers relate to a product. 

An archetypal product identity speaks directly and deeply to the consumer, sparking a sense of recognition and of meaning. Please review the archetypes below and choose one for your company:

The Innocent
Goal: To be happy
Traits: Strives to be good, is pure, young, optimistic, simple, moral, romantic, loyal
Drawback: Could be naïve or boring
Marketing niche: Companies with strong values, seen as trustworthy, reliable and honest, associated with morality, good virtues, simplicity, can be nostalgic
Example: Dove soap, Coca-Cola, Cottonelle bathroom tissue

The Regular Guy or Gal
Goal: To belong, or connect with others
Traits: Down to earth, supportive, faithful, folksy, person next door, connects with others
Drawback: Could lack a distinctive identity and blend in too much
Marketing niche: Common touch, solid virtues, gives a sense of belonging
Example: Home Depot, eBay

The Hero
Goal: Help to improve the world
Traits: Courageous, bold, honorable, strong, confident, inspirational
Drawback: Could be arrogant or aloof
Marketing niche: Make a positive mark on the world, solve major problems or enable/inspire others to do so
Example: Nike, BMW, Duracell

The Outlaw
Goal: Break the rules and fight authority
Traits: Rebellious, iconoclastic, wild, paving the way for change
Drawback: Could take it too far and be seen in a negative way
Marketing niche: Agent of change, advocate for the disenfranchised, allow people to vent or break with conventions
Example: Harley-Davidson, Virgin (Richard Branson)

The Explorer
Goal: Finds fulfillment through discovery and new experiences
Traits: Restless, adventurous, ambitious, individualistic, independent, pioneering
Drawback: Might not fit into the mainstream
Marketing niche: Exciting, risk-taking, authentic
Example: Indiana Jones, Jeep, Red Bull

The Creator
Goal: Create something with meaning and enduring value
Traits: Creative, imaginative, artistic, inventive, entrepreneur, non-conformist
Drawback: Could be perfectionistic or impractical
Marketing niche: Visionary, help customers express or create, and foster their imagination
Example: Lego, Crayola

The Ruler
Goal: Control, create order from chaos
Traits: Leader, responsible, organized, role model, administrator
Drawback: Could lack a common connection, or be too authoritative or controlling
Marketing niche: Help people become more organized, restore order, create more stability and security in a chaotic world
Example: Microsoft, Barclays, Mercedes-Benz

The Magician
Goal: Make dreams come true, create something special
Traits: Visionary, charismatic, imaginative, idealistic, spiritual
Drawback: Could take risks that lead to bad outcomes
Marketing niche: Help people transform their world, inspire change, expand consciousness
Example: Disney, Wizard of Oz, Apple

The Lover
Goal: Create intimacy, inspire love
Traits: Passionate, sensual, intimate, romantic, warm, committed, idealistic
Drawback: Could be too selfless or not grounded enough
Marketing niche: Help people feel appreciated, belong, connect, enjoy intimacy, build relationships
Example: Victoria’s Secret, Godiva Chocolate, Marie Claire

The Caregiver
Goal: To care for and protect others
Traits: Caring, maternal, nurturing, selfless, generous, compassionate
Drawback: Being taken advantage of, taken for granted, or exploited
Marketing niche: Help people care for themselves, serve the public through health care, education or aid programs
Example: Mother Theresa, Campbell’s Soup, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz

The Jester
Goal: To bring joy to the world
Traits: Fun, sense of humor, light-hearted, mischievous, irreverent
Drawback: Could be seen as frivolous or disrespectful
Marketing niche: Help people have a good time or enjoy what they are doing, allow people to be more impulsive and spontaneous
Example: Motley Fool, Ben & Jerry’s, IKEA

The Sage
Goal: To help the world gain wisdom and insight
Traits: Knowledgeable, trusted source of information, wisdom and intelligence, thoughtful, analytical, mentor, guru, advisor
Drawback: Could be overly contemplative or too opinionated
Marketing niche: Help people to better understand the world, provide practical information and analysis
Example: BBC, PBS, Google, Philips

Questions about choosing an archetype for your brand? We can help! Contact us today.