Archetypes in Branding

Brands are becoming more and more like people.  Like a person, a brand has a name, personality, character, and reputation. Brands need to be honest and trusting. They have to build relationships with their consumers in order to build that trust. Once consumers trust the brand, they will be faithful and buy that brand and that brand only. If that brand makes a mistake and breaks that trust, they will have to work to build it up again; just like people.

As advertising people, we are constantly trying to figure out what people are thinking. It would be nice to know that everyone in the world used the same thought process. In reality, rational people do not exist. People rather; think with their emotions and feelings. Brands need to consider the possible emotional connection they can make with their target markets.

Jung’s Archetypal Theory can apply to brand thinking when considering brands as people. According to this school of thought, images of a collective nature can appear all over the world manifested as different types of “myths.” These images are depicted as people that tell stories about the emotion they displayl. There are 12 “master” archetypes.

  • Hero
  • Magician
  • Outlaw
  • Jester
  • Lover
  • Everyman
  • Caregiver
  • Ruler
  • Creator
  • Innocent
  • Sage
  • Explorer

Brands can fall into these different categories with the stories that they want to express and whom they appeal to.  For example, the brand Johnson and Johnson would be considered a “care giver.” This brand creates a sense of family and care for all parents. Parents want to provide for their families and Johnson and Johnson is a brand that can help them do that. This company has built trust through the quality of the product and corporate social responsibility they offer the community.

This is a great way to consider who your audience is. Brands have to adhere to their constituents, who in most cases are consumers, and they must be actively listening to the environment to achieve this bottom line. Brands are like people. They tend to have trouble making up their minds and this way of thinking is helpful when considering how to address this.


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