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  • Writer's pictureEduardo Limon

The Power of Archetypes: Shaping Brand Personalities and building marketing strategies

Updated: Jun 2, 2023


When you think about your favorite brands, what comes to mind? Chances are, you associate them with specific qualities or personalities you obviously like. This connection between brands and their personalities is not a mere coincidence; it is a deliberate strategy that marketers employ to create lasting (and personal) impressions. One such strategy is the utilization of archetypes, universal symbols that tap into our collective unconscious. Archetypes play a significant role in shaping brand personalities and establishing emotional connections with consumers. In other words, by connecting the consumer's values with the company's values, boom! an emotional connection to the brand happens.

Archetypes are (very) deep-rooted patterns of behavior and motivations that exist in every culture and society. They serve as a powerful framework for brands to define their identities and connect with their target audiences. Let's explore two of my favorite archetypes in branding: the Creative Studio archetype and the Hero archetype.

The Creative Studio archetype represents a hub of imagination, innovation, and artistic expression. It embodies qualities such as creativity, passion, and visionary thinking. Brands that align themselves with this archetype seek to inspire and captivate their audience through their imaginative endeavors. Take, for instance one of my favorite animation studios: Pixar, the animation powerhouse behind incredible (pun intended) films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo. Pixar's brand personality resonates with audiences who value creativity, craftsmanship and enchantment. By embracing the Creative Studio archetype, Pixar positions itself as a beacon of innovation, constantly pushing the boundaries of animation and storytelling.

For the "Dream crazier" campaign for the 30th anniversary of Nike's "Just do it" slogan.

Another company-favorite archetype is the Hero archetype. This archetype represents bravery, strength, and the triumph of good over evil. Brands that embody this archetype often inspire their customers to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. Nike, the athletic footwear and apparel company, uses the Hero archetype in its marketing campaigns. Nike's brand personality resonates with people who strive for greatness (or who want to) and push themselves beyond their limits. Their iconic slogan, "Just Do It," (that just turned 30 years old, by the way) encapsulates the essence of the Hero archetype by encouraging consumers to take bold actions and conquer their goals.

These examples demonstrate how archetypes provide a powerful foundation for brands to easily shape their personalities and connect with consumers. By aligning with a specific archetype, brands can tap into the universal desires, motivations, and aspirations that reside within all of us. Archetypes create a step-by-step framework for storytelling, enabling brands to communicate their values, missions, and visions effectively.

"The archetype is a symbol which always begins to work whenever there is a need for it. It is like an instinctual drive, working in the darkness of nature." - Carl Jung

So, the big question, how do archetypes help build a marketing strategy? As archetypes serve as a guide for brands to craft compelling narratives, develop consistent messaging, and differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace, by understanding the desires and motivations associated with the chosen archetype, marketers can create targeted campaigns that resonate with their target audience on a deep personal level.

Also, archetypes help brands establish a sense of authenticity and consistency across the customer touchpoints. When a brand consistently embodies its chosen archetype in its communications, visual elements, and customer experiences, it creates a coherent and recognizable brand identity. This creates trust and builds stronger connections with consumers, who are more likely to engage with the brand, and you guess it, remain loyal to it.

When brands understand their core archetype, they can develop strategies around it that are aligned with their overarching brand personality. This consistency helps in building brand equity and recognition over time. It allows brands to evolve with their consumers and adapt while staying true to their core identity, thus maintaining the trust and loyalty of their customers.

It is important to note that while archetypes provide a valuable framework, successful brand building requires more than just aligning with a single archetype. Brands should consider their target audience, market dynamics, and their unique value proposition. Taking and following an archetype will not automatically give personality to the brand, let alone that touch of originality.

Even though an archetype can be a step-by-step manual for creating a brand, that's not the end of the work. It also takes authentic storytelling, a clearly differentiated position and a strategy where the user is at the center of the product or service that will ultimately create a strong brand that connects with people.

Archetypes play a vital role in shaping brand personalities and establishing emotional connections with consumers. The Creative Studio archetype and the Hero archetype are just two examples of how brands can tap into universal desires and motivations to create compelling narratives. Archetypes provide a framework for consistent messaging, differentiation, and brand authenticity. They guide marketers in crafting targeted campaigns that resonate with their audience on a deep emotional level. By understanding and leveraging archetypes effectively, brands can build strong brand identities, foster loyalty, create a lasting impact in the marketplace and in the consumers themselves.

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