One of the keys to building a remarkable brand is your ability to connect with your audience. In order to connect with your audience, you need to be expressive so you’re more human and relatable. You need to have a well-defined personality. Choosing your brand archetype is the first step in developing your brand’s personality.
We Don’t Care About These People
Back in 2013, my wife and I joined millions of other people and watched the first season of the Netflix Original series “House of Cards”. It was a different kind of show, dark and ruthless. The second season was more of the same, and then by the time the third season rolled out, we were both feeling pretty ‘meh’ about the series.
We both agreed that we simply no longer cared about the characters. They all seemed so selfish, cold-hearted, one-dimensional, and lacking any relatable personality. We tried to hang in there, but we just couldn’t connect with the characters anymore. So, we stopped watching.
Your brand can suffer that same fate if it doesn’t have a personality that people can relate to.
Why Personality Matters
Your brand’s personality helps you relate to and connect with your audience. Your personality makes you appear more human, and definitely more interesting. A consistent brand personality helps customers know what to expect from you. If your personality is helpful, they know they can rely on you for guidance. If your personality is silly or playful, they’ll expect you to be fun and entertaining.
One of the best ways to characterize your brand is to choose a physical representation of your brand’s personality—this is called your brand archetype.
What is a Brand Archetype?
If your brand were a real person, what kind of person would it be? An outlaw, an explorer, a jester? Your brand archetype is simply the physical characterization of your brand’s personality. Your archetype helps convey your personality to your audience.
Your archetype helps to humanize your brand and gives your customers a reason to care about you. Having a well-defined brand archetype helps you build relationships with your customers and fosters brand loyalty.Having a well-defined brand archetype helps you build relationships with your customers and fosters brand loyalty. Click To Tweet
The 12 Brand Archetypes
There are typically 12 brand archetypes, and choosing the right archetype for your business is essential. Have a look through the archetypes below and see which of these best fits your brand’s personality.
aka The Dreamer, The Romantic
Quote: “Free to be you and me.”
Traits: Good, pure, optimistic, simple, moral, loyal
Examples: Ivory soap, Coca-Cola, Pepsodent toothpaste
Innocent brands are usually pure, simple, and trustworthy. They may have a long history, strong values, and are reliable.
The Regular Guy
aka The Everyman, The Good Guy
Quote: “All men and women are created equal.”
Traits: Friendly, empathetic, reliable, down-to-earth
Examples: Budweiser, Home Depot, Wendy’s
Regular Guy (or Regular Girl) brands are supportive, faithful, and instill a sense of belonging. They are familiar, honest, and dependable.
aka The Superhero, The Warrior
Quote: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Traits: Courageous, strong, confident, bold
Examples: Nike, Red Cross, FedEx
Hero brands are brave, determined, and consider themselves superior to their competitors. They want to make a positive impact on the world, solve big problems and inspire others to do the same.
aka The Rebel, The Revolutionary
Quote: “Rules are meant to be broken.”
Traits: Rebellious, wild, iconoclastic, free-spirited
Examples: Harley-Davidson, Virgin, Miley Cyrus
Outlaw brands are disruptive, they are risk-takers, they challenge the status quo, and they often elicit cult-like followings.
aka The Seeker, The Wanderer
Quote: “Don’t fence me in.”
Traits: Adventurous, ambitious, independent, pioneering
Examples: SpaceX, Jeep, Red Bull
Explorer brands find fulfillment through new experiences and discovery. They veer off the beaten path and blaze their own trail while encouraging others to follow.
aka The Artist, The Dreamer
Quote: “If it can be imagined, it can be created.”
Traits: Creative, imaginative, inventive, artistic
Examples: Apple, Pixar, Pinterest
Creator brands are imaginative, expressive, and innovative. They promote collaboration and teamwork and focus on self-expression.
aka The Leader, The King
Quote: “Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Traits: Organized, authoritative, responsible, role model, controlling
Examples: Rolex, Microsoft, Hugo Boss
Ruler brands like to appear powerful and in control. They want to help people create stability and restore order in a chaotic world.
aka The Visionary, The Transformer
Quote: “It can happen.”
Traits: Idealistic, visionary, magical, imaginative, surprising, charismatic
Examples: Disney, TED, Xbox
Magician brands help people transform their worlds and leave them feeling amazed. They are dramatic, moving, and imaginative.
aka The Dreamer, The Idealist
Quote: “I only have eyes for you.”
Traits: Passionate, intimate, sensual, romantic, warm
Examples: Godiva Chocolate, eHarmony, Victoria’s Secret
Lover brands promote close relationships, intimacy, and making people feel special. Customers feel a strong emotional connection with these brands.
aka The Nurturer, The Parent
Quote: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Traits: Altruism, empathy, compassion, selflessness, nurturing
Examples: The Salvation Army, Campbell’s Soup, Habitat for Humanity
Caregiver brands are characterized by their compassion, selflessness, and generosity. Their goal is to protect, support, and nurture their customers.
aka The Joker, The Comedian
Quote: “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
Traits: Fun, easy-going, lighthearted, irreverent, mischievous
Examples: Dollar Shave Club, Ben & Jerry’s, Old Spice
Jester brands like to have fun and live in the moment. They are playful, humorous, and silly. They are enthusiastic, lively, and funny.
aka The Teacher, The Expert
Quote: “The truth will set you free.”
Traits: Wise, expert, knowledgeable, trusted
Examples: Mayo Clinic, National Geographic Channel, Harvard Business Review
Sage brands are rational intellectuals. Their goal is to understand the world and share their knowledge. They are factual, researched, and authoritative.
Day 10 Action Item—Choose Your Brand Archetype
Read through all of the brand archetype descriptions above. Choose one or two that most resonate with your brand’s personality. This might be who you are as a brand today, or who you want to be in the future. Grab a notebook or your 21 Days to Build a Better Brand Workbook and list a few ways you can use your brand archetype(s) to express your personality. Marketing messages, social media posts, images on your website, and product packaging are all places where you can communicate your personality.
Look back over all of your brand’s touchpoints. List a few ways you can inject some personality into those customer experiences.
Coming up: If your brand were a person, what would she say? How do you want to sound? Tomorrow you’ll learn about your brand voice.
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