There are several things that fall within a brand-building strategy.
Your tone of voice, logo, and font choice should all form part of your plan. But the most important? A brand archetype: the personality that you give your brand in order to make it feel more relatable to customers.
In this guide, we’ll break down 12 different brand archetypes — and share the tips you can use to find yours.
Why bother with a brand archetype?
I know what you’re thinking: “Elise, why do I need a brand archetype? Doesn’t that mean I blend into the others with the same archetype? My aim is to stand out, not fit in.”
...Hear me out.
A brand archetype is simply the personality you give your brand. The archetype you resonate with doesn’t have to sacrifice your uniqueness — it’s simply a way to describe the things you believe in, and the goals your business has.
Once you have a brand archetype, your entire strategy will be more consistent. There’s no mismatch in the marketing material you put out into the world, nor questions from your sales teams debating whether their approach fits within your guidelines.
Everyone will be working from the same hymn sheet, resulting in increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity.
The 12 brand archetypes
So, what personality types do brands fall into? Chances are, it’s one of these 12 brand archetypes:
1. Caregiver: Brands with this archetype are usually mother figures. They aim to take care of others, and their business reflects this. TOMS are an example of a caregiver brand archetype. For every pair of shoes their customers buy, they purchase another for a child in need.
[Dive deeper into the caregiver archetype >>> ]
2. Creator: Brands with this archetype are creative and expressive. They want to stand out — like Adobe, who empower their customers to be creative through their range of cutting-edge technology.
3. Entertainer: Does your brand entertain people? Performers, comedians, and the like are classed as having an entertainer brand archetype, but M&Ms is an example of this. They sell candy, yet stock hundreds of other products — including pillows of their candy characters — in their stores, which people visit for the “M&M experience.”
4. Explorer: If you’re seeking to enjoy and explore the world, and want to have an authentic brand, you’re classed as having the explorer archetype. One of the most well-known brands, National Geographic, has this.
5. Girl/Guy Next Door: Brands with the “person next door” archetype want their business to come off as their customer’s friend. Take Levi’s, for example. The company started when Levi Strauss immigrated to the U.S. from Bavaria, and “recognized a need for clothes for hard-working people”... Like himself.
6. Hero: Looking to be your customer’s champion, and fight to solve all of their problems? You slot perfectly into the hero archetype — like Weight Watchers, a weight loss program designed to help their customers get fitter.
7. Innocent: Brands with this archetype have a goal to create happiness, and always aim to do the right thing. If this is you, draw inspiration from Simple Skincare. Their beauty range doesn’t include harmful chemicals (like many other brands in the industry do.)
8. Lover: If you believe relationships are important and want your brand to reflect this, you’ll fall into the lover archetype. Take Victoria’s Secret, for example — a brand that aims to be a woman’s best friend by helping them feel confident and attractive.
9. Magician: Are you encouraging your customers to make their dreams come true? Just like Dyson, the company which invented the vacuum cleaner, brands with this archetype aren’t afraid to test unconventional approaches.
[Dive deeper into the magician archetype >>> ]
10. Maverick: Similarly, a brand with the maverick archetype focuses heavily on going against the norm. They thrive on freedom from establishment, like Disney. Their entire brand makes people feel like they’re in an alternate, Disney-themed universe.
11. Royalty: Brands with this archetype often align themselves with exclusivity and authority. Their aim is often to build an independent community, like the Female Entrepreneur Association — a membership website that helps women succeed in business.
12. Sage: If one of your main goals is to educate your customers, you’ll fall into the sage archetype. You always want to learn and improve. Take TED, for example — an organization that educates people all over the world through their world-renowned Ted Talks.
How to find which archetype fits your brand
It’s tough to find which archetype fits your brand. You might fail to resonate with either — or feel like your brand fits within multiple.
There are four things you can look at to identify which archetype best fits your brand:
1. Your company
Why did you start your company? The answer is often a great starting point for identifying your archetype.
For example: If you started your accounting business to educate small business owners on corporation tax, you’ll slot within the Sage archetype because you believe that knowledge is power.
2. Your products or services
Similarly, taking a look at the products or services you sell can help. Think about why people purchase them.
For example: If you’re selling healthy protein snacks to help bodybuilders build muscle, you’re helping your customers — meaning you’ll probably relate with the hero archetype.
3. Your customers
What problems are your customers trying to solve? Think about their background, and how your products fit within that.
For example: If you’re selling premium coffee to busy professionals, the person next door archetype could fit well here — especially if you’re positioning yourself as a founder that had the same problem: Finding quality coffee at a cheap price that’s easy to access on your commute.
4. Your competition
You want to differentiate your brand from the competition, right? A superb way to do that is by identifying the brand archetypes your competitors have.
For example: If you sell oat milk without preservatives, use the innocent archetype. Most of your competitors (who don’t care about loading their products with unnatural ingredients) will probably identify more with another archetype.
Have you decided which archetype best-suits your brand? You’ll need to head back through your brand collateral — including your website copy, business cards, and social media profiles — to make your brand personality is consistent.
Luckily, you can make this process easier by using our brand asset manager.