Once you’ve started pushing forward with your business idea, it’s easy to think you will just instinctually know the brand you are creating. You won’t need to define your brand, as it will just be a reflection of you.
Or at least, that’s what I thought.
But to keep a long story short, I ended up starting and stopping this business a few times, because the brand I’d created didn’t feel aligned to me as a person.
And because it didn’t feel aligned, I often felt stumped at creating content and working on social media, even though I had such great plans for it.
One of the things I learnt during my Master’s Degree though seemed tailor-made for this problem, so I wanted to share it with you and make it easier to define your brand.
In branding, there are 12 main archetypes.
By working out which brand archetype fits your company best, you can work out how to position your brand, which can help with everything from written content to graphics.
These archetypes are so incredibly helpful as they play on characters or stereotypes that many people already know, therefore helping people to feel like they know your brand.
The 12 Archetypes & Examples
• The Creator
The creator is authentic, yet prides itself on being innovative. It has a strong sense of creativity and doesn’t feel constrained by the rules – instead, it is busy inventing new things to keep its customers loyal & excited.
A great example of a ‘creator’ brand is Apple.
• The Jester
As the name suggests, this brand is all about having fun!
If your company is high energy and uses bright, vibrant colours this archetype could be perfect!
Rather than solving a problem as such, the jester tries to entertain and provide value. This brand is confident and knows how to use comedy well.
M&M’s is a classic Jester style brand, from the colouring to the confidence and teasing jokes used in their adverts.
• The Sage
Spiritual and the font of all knowledge the Sage is authentic and speaks only the truth. A ‘sage’ brand is the expert in its field and is always open to friendly discussion, often sharing authentic information.
Oprah Winfrey’s brand is strongly built on the Sage archetype.
• The Innocent
Consistently happy, reliable and trustworthy this archetype might play it safe but its positivity shines through. It always looks for the silver lining and will work hard to solve any problem. It is unfalteringly optimistic about the future.
Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are true ‘Innocent’ brands.
• The Lover
Is your company sensual and passionate? It is emotional and beautiful? If so, it could be a lover!
Lover brands are ‘givers’ in the relationships and are aesthetically pleasing, valuing harmony and positive surroundings.
Lindt chocolate, Victoria’s Secret and even Chanel could easily be considered lover brands.
• The Hero
The hero is courageous and has a strong attention to detail -this brand seeks perfection. The Hero brand is a an idealist bubbling over with self-confidence, combining quality and trust.
Often used in sports brands, Nike and Michael Jordan are easily heroes.
• The Rebel or Outlaw.
If these archetypes were created today, they would probably be known as the disruptors. They are outrageous, shocking and not afraid to shake things up.
Rebel brands thrive on changing the game and do so with confidence. They are unconventional and go all-out.
This brand archetype instantly makes me think of Uber & Air BnB
• The Everyman
Whilst some of the other branding archetypes scream for your attention, this one is practical and honest in its approach.
These companies are humble and are guided by honesty, allowing regular people and average Joes to feel like they belong.
Companies that fit the regular brand archetype often grow quietly and consistently, only making a huge show when the time is right.
Budweiser for example is loved for being an everyman.
• The Magician
Magician companies encourage their customer’s imaginations to run wild!
They are fun yet solve problems and have a deep impact on those they serve. When promoting a product or service magicians do the unexpected.
Red Bull is a great magician
• The Explorer
You know your company is an explorer if it loves adventure!
It’s not afraid to stand out from the crowd and redefine freedom on its terms. The explorer is self-motivated, independent and ambitious.
Your company promises to take people on a journey, creating memories they won’t forget.
For explorer inspiration, look no further than Jeep or North Face.
• The Ruler
This company is powerful!
It shows authority and isn’t afraid to create order out of chaos. A born leader it is constantly building on its foundations, with the hope of creating a legacy.
However, rulers often have to be careful nobody else is after their crown by maintaining their perfection – sometimes at the cost of innovation.
Rolex is a prime example of a ruler.
• The Caregiver.
Who doesn’t love a caregiver? Caregiving companies often act altruistically, showcasing these acts to their followers. They offer support and empathy – using emotions to let the company’s personality shine through.
These brands are often not for profit or include celebrities such as Princess Diana.
You should try your best to choose one of these archetypes to define your brand, though I know that can be hard to choose just one!
If you feel stuck between two, I’d recommend considering which your audience would respond best too- though this should only be a consideration. Try your best to stay true to you.
Ps. If you’re interested in brand archetypes, you can learn about their use in advertising here.
If you still need help to define your brand my email & DMs are always open!