Brand archetypes - how to use them in sales?

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What do archetypes have to do with a brand? Fictional characters known to us from books or movies are created according to broadly understood paradigms that help people understand their actions. Brand archetypes work similarly. It is nothing more than a way of presenting the brand - its symbolism, values, behavior, messages - as a persona. Thanks to this, it is closer to the target audience. How do brand archetypes "break into" the minds of recipients with familiar symbols and meanings? About it below. 

Think about your favorite characters from books or movies. Have you ever noticed that they can be grouped into specific categories of heroes? A world-weary detective who drinks his existential problems with cheap liquor. Femme fatale, with spectacular ups and downs. A naive young man destined to change the world. These are archetypes. Characters defined by general characteristics that explain what they stand for and also show what motivates their actions. Importantly, archetypes exist not only in stories and on TV screens. They can be found everywhere - including the world of brands.

How to use brand archetypes in marketing?

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What are brand archetypes? 

Brand archetypes give them a "character" that makes it easier for people who share the same values to relate to them. All brands are owned by companies with whom we have transactional relationships - they give us something in return for our money. However, it is only in the case of some brands that we feel connected, loyal, and in relation to others, even… love. How does it happend? The most liked brands connect with their audience at a deeper level than most brands. Those with an authentic message and clearly defined values often win their hearts. Maybe you are attached to your Macbook yourself, you love your Air Max or you cannot imagine a taste of beans other than the one from Heinz. Almost all brands we feel this bond with are built with a solid archetype alignment. This, in turn, is rooted in decades of psychological research and has its origins in Greek mythology.  

In the area of brand management, four main motivators are distinguished - the forces that make consumers decide to buy products of these, and not other brands. They can be pictured graphically on two axes. There is stabilization at one end of the vertical axis and championship at the opposite end. The horizontal axis, on the other hand, has membership on one side and independence on the other. For each of these areas, three brand archetypes are distinguished for each of the motivations included in the axis. Each of them can be invaluable sales support.  

Overview of 12 brand archetypes

Brand archetypes in the STABILIZATION category 

Brand archetypes that seek stabilization and control include Creator, Guardian, and Ruler. 

Creator (the Creator) is visionary, nonconformist and authentic. He wants to create something meaningful and unique. These are brands that love to implement new ideas. They derive deep satisfaction from both the process and the result of creating something that did not exist before. Creator customers avoid advertising, but are able to appreciate experimental or novel advertising. Successful brand-makers are gaining devoted and very loyal fans such as Apple. They promise their clients authenticity, guided mainly by the desire to create unique and lasting works and inventions. What is average is what they fear the most.  

Guardian (the Caregiver) is driven by the need to protect and care for others. These are brands that provide protection, security, but also support for their customers. The worst that could happen to them is perceiving their products as harmful or with which they may be exploited in any way. Typically, Guardian brand archetypes offer products that support families or serve public sectors, such as healthcare and education. They aim to get people to take care of themselves. Almost all brands of baby care products are based on this archetype, which also functions under a different name - Mother. 

Lord (the Ruler) - Since the main attributes of the Ruler are leadership and responsibility, brands based on this archetype gain the trust and loyalty of consumers. Brands in the Ruler archetype are known to speak authoritatively. They also often spread the belief that they are leaders in their field. As responsible leaders, they have the goal of helping others succeed. By tidying up where there is chaos, they use power to achieve positive results. However, they must be careful not to dominate others or become too hierarchical.

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Brand archetypes in the area of AFFILIATION 

Jester, Ordinary Man and Lover - these are the archetypes of the brand that strive for belonging that go hand in hand with pleasure. 

Clown (the Jester) is not trying to solve the problem as his main purpose is the journey itself. The result seldom matters to a Jester. He does not mention or plan the future. Has the ability to think outside the box, which leads to innovative ideas. This means that Jester-type brand archetypes are masters of brainstorming, reformulating concepts, and presenting new perspectives to people and other brand archetypes. The jester promises entertainment. Customers of this type of brand find "traditional" advertising boring, and they love anything unusual, weird and fun. Marketing of brands-Jesters can be unconventional. For example, think of a Skittles ad, a giraffe, and a rainbow. 

Brands in the archetype An ordinary man (the Regular Guy) strive to be on the same level as consumers. They treat them as equals, expressing the qualities of unpretentiousness and humility. Recipients appreciate the quality and reliability of their brand. They prefer what is known and will therefore invest in brands they trust. Companies in the Ordinary Man archetype are proud of their own down-to-earth ethos. They give people a sense of belonging with a high degree of practicality and functionality, and brand image it is honest, trustworthy and as solid as any Volkswagen model.  

Lover (the Lover) - this is what we call brands that focus on creating relationships and evoking emotions. Kochanek archetypes want people to feel special. And they satisfy this need among their recipients. They see the world through the prism of love. Lovers' brands like to celebrate the physical joy of being human, cultivating the intimacy and sense of bliss of their consumers, who are people who value the aesthetic appearance of goods and services. Usually they are attracted by premium brands. Those that promise passion, such as Victoria's Secret, a brand that promotes itself as charming with an emphasis on sensual pleasures. What is the Lover as a brand? He is passionate and represents everything that pleases the senses - such as beautiful things, delicious dishes, tempting smells. 

Brand archetypes in the CHAMPIONSHIP area 

This category includes the archetypes of the brands Hero, Rebel and Sorcerer. What they have in common is the pursuit of mastery, which comes with risk. 

Character (the Hero) – his main motivation is to prove his worth, and his greatest fear is to fail and show weakness. Whether on the battlefield, on the football field or on the political scene, the Hero is determined to leave a mark of his presence in the world. Brand archetypes in the Hero type promote themselves as of good quality and better than their competitors. As a result, the marketing of the Hero brands often uses strong images and strong colors to convey this. The hero represents brand archetypes that strive to achieve their goals by doing their best.

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The hero can often be mistaken for the Ruler, as they both display several similar traits: primarily strength and self-confidence. The hero, however, is above all brave. His actions are less controlled. Hero type brands - such as BMW for example - promise quality. This is what their clients care about. They like to think that their consumer choices will allow them to "stay ahead" of other consumers.

Rebel (the Outlaw) Rebel style brand archetypes are experts at creating truly radical ideas, services and products. By being action-oriented, discovering new perspectives, proposing a new perspective and inspiring change, they can be perceived as revolutionary. The Rebel brands are an alternative to the mainstream as they strive to stand out and firmly reject the status quo. They attract people who are bored with traditional choices. Your audience is likely to appreciate shocking content or ads that are unique or don't have an obvious "point of sale". 

Wizard (the Magican) this is how brand archetypes position themselves, which function as a catalyst for change, and strive to turn the world's problems into opportunities. Brands in the Wizard archetype strengthen the position of their customers and intend to provide solutions that are beneficial to all involved in the situation. "Magic" businesses - such as Xbox - thrive on innovation. Companies in this group see opportunities and, through their ingenuity, cause a chain reaction. Wizards promise knowledge. Their customers need to feel that they can become smarter with a given product or service.

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Brand archetypes in the area of INDEPENDENCE 

Innocent, Explorer and Sage - these are the three archetypes of the brand striving for independence and fulfillment. 

Innocent (the Innocent) - this is how they position themselves in the minds of brand customers who just want to be free, happy and enjoy a simple life. They are often brands that can ignore and overcome barriers that held others back. They succeed because they are driven by optimism and hope. The world of Innocent Brands is simple, in a positive sense. It's a place where life can be uncomplicated. Where it is possible to have fun. This archetype is used, for example, by Coca-Cola. Following the accepted convention of this archetype, the brand's tone is simple but joyful and radiates optimism. "Innocent" brands use concise language and simple and natural images to convey their messages to their audience. 

Discoverer (The Explorer) creates products that promote individuality, excitement and a way to experience new things. Explorer customers rely on brands that set freedom and exploration - especially those that allow the customer to go on this journey with them. Explorer ads are typically about nature and risk-taking. Explorers' brand archetypes are designed to make people feel free. These are brands that help people to express their individuality. They are innovative and ambitious. They seek new experiences, cross borders and enjoy unexpected discoveries, while adopting the philosophy of "without limits". An explorer is the natural choice of a brand's personality when it comes to durable products that are used "off-road", such as Jeep cars. 

Sage (The Sage), guided by the search for truth, is best fulfilled by finding answers to the most difficult questions. Google - demonstrating intelligence, knowledge and the ability to solve problems, is arguably the most important sage of our time. Sage's clients believe that knowledge comes from growth, and therefore they are constantly looking for new sources of information. They are attracted by ads that encourage them to think in a completely different or new way. The primary motivation of the Sage is to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world. It is based on the claim that this truth will set us free. 

Brand archetypes - examples 

Almost half (48%) of the most popular brands in 2020 belong to the food and drink category or brands for home and personal use. However, not only physical product companies are using brand archetypes in their marketing efforts. An interesting example of such activities is the definition of city archetypes. In the case of Krakow, three archetypes have been defined in the "Strategic Program for the Promotion of Krakow for 2016-2022" that the city can refer to in communication with target groups.

It was found that the archetype of the Sage and the Creator dominate the image of Krakow. The first is a derivative of the city's historical and cultural heritage, its intellectual resources and university traditions. On the other hand, the archetype of the Creator refers to the magnetism of the city of Krakow, which attracts artists and gives them space to e.g. free action in the area of self-realization. It was found that the image of Krakow needs to be dynamized and enriched with an element related to challenges. That is why the archetype of the Discoverer was included in the city's promotion concept. His activity in search of development is to revive the image of a mature and peaceful Sage. 

How to use brand archetypes in marketing? 

Brand building It is NOT marketing. It is the foundation. Your entire business relies on it, so the right brand strategy is critical to your success. Especially in relation to the effective use of brand archetypes. If you want your brand to stand out, you want to increase its visibility, credibility, sympathy and constantly gain new references, you need to integrate the archetypal branding with a brand building strategy. Brand archetypes have the enormous power of changing a company's strategy from push to pull. Instead of "shouting" your messages in the hope of attracting new customers, you have the option of engaging your main target customers by evoking images and associations in their unconscious. Such communication strategy  naturally attracts them to your brand. Brand archetypes also help build relationships with customers as opposed to simply generating one-off occasional transactions. This, in turn, influences the perception of your brand and strengthens customer loyalty. 

Although we are not aware of it, archetypes contain a primary meaning that is sometimes difficult to articulate, but easily understood and intuitively adopted by our mind. This mysterious feature of archetypes, as well as cultural differences, carries some dangers for branding professionals. So be careful. Brand archetypes shouldn't be the only factor that drives branding efforts. They can be used very effectively to build a winning brand with a strong emotional impact, but only in combination with other elements. With strong brand strategy, thorough audience research (target group), a deep understanding of the market and its cultural nuances. It is also worth considering marketing audit. Only with this knowledge can you start constructing communication strategy based on brand archetypes. 

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