Brand Personality: The 12 Archetypes
In 1919, a young man named Carl Jung first introduced the term ‘archetype’, and 100 years later, marketers like me are still writing about it.
The most uncomplicated definition of archetype that I’ve found is this one:
“An archetype is something that is considered to be a perfect or typical example of a particular kind of person or thing because it has all their most important characteristics.”
- Collins Dictionary
Marketers like me will tell you to think of your brand as a person, not an entity. I say this all the time.
For non-marketers, this can be hard, because brands are not in fact real people. When I ask business owners to describe their brand, they end up describing their products, their customers or themselves.
Enter Jung and his 12 Archetypes. Who would have known that a Swiss psychologist would help us define our brands some 100 years later? However, with his 12 personality archetypes, he has in a big way.
Lana and I have used Jung’s archetypes in all our strategy workshops to help businesses unlock their brand personality. Once they’ve figured out who their brand is, they then have a blueprint for future communications.
Brand personalities help us with practical decisions such as…..
Create messaging that fits with our overall personality
Set a tone of voice for that messaging
Create a visual identity that is consistent with that personality
Use imagery that aligns with that personality
The archetypes help brands stay true to who they are (and are not) so that trust and familiarity are built with customers.
We can also dig deeper and make big decisions about our brand based on our archetype personality such as….
It all starts with your archetype.
CREATIVE, IMAGINATIVE, ORIGINAL
Goal: To create something of enduring beauty
Examples: Lego, Crayola, Idiello
WARRIOR, COURAGEOUS, ACHIEVER
Goal: To improve the world, prove yourself
Examples: Nike, Ferrari, FedEx
PASSIONATE, INTIMATE, COMMITTED
Goal: To create experiences that delight
Examples: Magnum, BMW, Victoria’s Secret
LEADER, RESPONSIBLE, AUTHORITY
Goal: To create success, lead people to a common destination.
Examples: Mercedes Benz, Microsoft, Rolex
PHILOSOPHER, INTELLIGENT, GURU
Goal: Seeker of knowledge, discover truth
Examples: Google, TED, CNN
REBEL, MAVERICK, DEFIANT
Goal: Make an impact, break the rules
Examples: Harley Davidson, MTV, Uber
DREAMER, VISIONARY, INSIGHTFUL
Goal: To make dreams come true
Examples: Disney, Linx, Mastercard
HUMBLE, HARDWORKING, FRIENDLY
Goal: To belong, fit in
Examples: Ikea, ebay, Gap
PROTECTOR, NURTURING, COMPASSIONATE
Goal: Protect people from harm, help people feel loved.
Examples: Johnson&Johnson, Salvation Army, Volvo
PERFORMER, SPONTANEOUS, PLAYFUL
Goal: Have a good time, lighten the mood
Examples: Nandos, M&M’s, Boost, iSelect
WANDERER, INDEPENDENT, CURIOUS
Goal: To be independent, experience an exciting, more fulfilled life
Examples: Lonely Planet, Red Bull, NASA, National Geographic
PURE, IDEALISTIC, OPTOMISTIC
Goal: To live a pure and simple life, to do things right
Examples: Dove, Evian, Qantas