Jung’s 12 Brand Archetypes. Which one are you?
Brand archetypes, what is that? You may have heard about Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, but did you know that the most successful companies base their brand around the personality types he developed? There are 12 of them, and if you are thinking of starting a business (or if you already have one) you may benefit a lot from basing the way you engage with your audience within the language and personality associated with one of these archetypes.
But a new problem arises! Which one of the brand archetypes adjusts best to you?
This fits with companies that have an identity based on joyus youth. There is a simplicity and enthusiasm that comes from an uncomplicated way of portraying yourself that pulls people closer to you. Brands that use this type of approach benefit from people associating them with good memories, usually from their childhood.
Think about Nintendo. The only thing they have to do is show their characters and immediately their public gravitates around any new project they have. The simplicity of a childhood icon smiling and looking better than it ever did eliminates any resistance, you just want to play, to be happy again.
We can take something like Gap. They have always provided their products for anyone who might need them, but in recent years they have taken an approach based on inclusivity. The everyman is a brand archetype that has to respect the differences between those who integrate their public and appeal to what brings them together.
Representation matters, and Gap has made their advertising and brand identity excel because of how anyone can see themselves in their messaging.
As opposed to The Everyman brand archetype we just discussed, the Hero aims for the extraordinary. Their messaging wants to make people push forward, achieve goals they think are impossible and inspire.
They usually associate themselves with success stories, like athletes or artists that have excelled in their field against all odds.
One of the better examples of this is Nike and their association with Michael Jordan. When you are striving to make yourself associated with success, there are few ways to do it as effectively as having arguably the best basketball player of all time permanently tied to you.
Sometimes we like to validate the way we act and how we feel about the world with the products we consume. The Rebel brand archetype serves brands that promote themselves in opposition to some form of tradition. This might come off like something revolutionary, like a generational change in technology, but it can also be a passive acceptance of the way you are.
And there is no company more legendary for what they represent in cultural mythos than Marlboro.
Even though smoking is a lethal habit that endangers millions of people’s lives every year, Marlboro was the face of the tobacco industry during the time when it was considered something cool. How did they do that? By being cool, that’s it.
This brand archetypes relies on people’s desire for adventure. They want to discover the unknown and your brand not only personifies their search for this but also the means to achieve this unfulfilled dream. The best example of this is Redbull.
Their advertising makes clear their intention to be a way to explore the world in new ways. They also use their brand to associate themselves with various sports, like Formula 1 and some sports.
This amplifies creativity. The Creator brand archetype likes to be free to make their ideas a reality. They rely on their audience understanding their process and trusting their imagination to come up with the best solutions to any problem.
The most heartwarming example of this type of brand identity is LEGO. There is a mythos surrounding their product, and those who have played with this know that they allow for creative expression in a way few other toys can.
Even some adults can’t stop playing with LEGO’s, because as a brand they recognize that creativity is not something that fades away with age, but rather that people suppress.
The target of this brand archetype is to make people feel you can trust them with order and problem solving in unruly situations. You seek them out when you need someone to take over an activity that you yourself can’t handle.
The most prominent example of this is Microsoft. There are a lot of problems with computers that you can avoid just by relying on their method and expertise.
They seek to create something special and unique, to provide you with a sense of wonder and amazement. These brand archetypes usually rely on carefully crafted experiences and languages that put the product in an area of mystique and a little mystery.
The main example of this is Disney. A fast growing media leviathan, Disney dips all their properties in an aura of superlativity, like a peak of human creation that signifies something special for everyone.
We all know sex sells, but nudity in itself can’t do the work. The Lover brand archetype wants to imply intimacy, moments that speak to the audience longing for connection and care. Empowerment and agency through a subtle use of dynamic language can also move the audience.
Perfume ads have a reputation for being the most arthouse form of advertising, because they use the abstract and symbolism to convey ideas that they can’t put on screen without getting censored. Chanel has always pushed the boundaries for what can be done with advertising in this regard, and that’s why they embody the Lover archetype.
The Caregiver brand archetype describes brands that portray themselves as providing reliable and warm assistance in necessary acts of love for the people we care about. Acts of service as a form of honest affection integrate the way Caregiver brands engage with their public.
Pampers is the best example of this. Babies need unreciprocated love, and Pampers is the link between many primary caregivers and their children, a relationship they reference in every piece of advertisement they put out.
Sometimes a company benefits from not taking itself too seriously, while also providing an important product or service. A company that prides itself with this brand archetype is M&M, that turns its very product into a mascot that becomes a joke as a way to indeer itself to the consumer.
Someone you seek looking for wisdom and guidance. This brand archetype is something you rely to put you out of situations you got into because you didn’t know any better, but with a calm and level-headed answer, they can set you on the path you were supposed to be in the first place.
This encompasses most educational institutions, and there are few brands more associated with great wisdom and education than Harvard. They are synonymous with preparation and high standards, and when you learn someone studied there you know you can trust them.