Brand Archetypes: What Are They And How They Make Your Brand Memorable

Branding
Brand Archetypes: What Are They And How They Make Your Brand Memorable
Article by Ivana Ivanova
Last Updated: July 12, 2024

Brand archetypes are human personalities that reflect a brand’s identity. It helps customers know more about your goals, values, and philosophy and helps companies connect with their audience.

In this article, our experts uncover the 12 brand archetypes, how to identify your own brand archetype, and several examples to give you a better overview.

Let’s dig in!

What Are Brand Archetypes?

The concept of brand archetypes is based on Carl Jung’s belief that 12 human personalities drive our motivations. Each brand adopts one of these traits and tailors its products and services around it.

Simply put, brand archetypes embody a brand's identity, values, driving force, and messages via human persona. It aims to make your business more relatable and appeal to consumers who identify with the same persona. They indicate the brand’s main motivation and driving force.

12 Brand Archetypes and How To Align Your Brand With Each

Let’s take an in-depth look at each of the 12 brand archetypes and define their brand strategy, personality, voice, messaging, and driving forces.

1. The Outlaw: Revolution

The Outlaw brand archetype goes against regulation and desires revolution, rejecting conformity and following its own rules. The Outlaw’s branding strategy appeals to its consumers by professing the freedom to choose and act.

Outlaw Archetype Typical Industries

The Outlaw archetype is most commonly used in these industries:

  • Automotive
  • Alternative apparel
  • Destruction tools
  • Men’s cosmetics

Outlaw Archetype Brand Voice

The Outlaw archetype’s brand voice is usually described as:

  • Rebellious
  • Combative
  • Disruptive
  • Outlaw Archetype Driving Forces

The Outlaw brand is driven by:

  • Change
  • Independence
  • Liberation

At the same time, it rejects:

  • Conformity
  • Complacency
  • Dependence
  • Servitude

Outlaw Archetype Brand Message

An Outlaw brand archetype conveys a message that people should demand more and never settle for the status quo.

The Outlaw brand slogan example: Harley Davidson’s “All For Freedom, Freedom For All”

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2. The Hero: Determination

The Hero brand archetype embodies courage and determination as its main traits. This archetype’s philosophy is echoed in the sentence:

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

The Hero archetype values hard work and takes pride in skills attained through it. It meets challenges without fear and proves its worth to themselves and others.

This archetype’s branding strategy appeals to the corresponding consumers by inspiring and empowering them to succeed. Consumers who embrace brands of the Hero archetype have strong ideas about what is right, see themselves as upstanding, and acknowledge their ambition to rise.

Hero Archetype Typical Industries

The Hero archetype is commonly used in:

  • Outdoor equipment
  • Sportswear
  • Emergency services such as electricity, mechanics, plumbing, etc.

Hero Archetype Brand Voice

The Hero’s brand voice is:

  • Heroic
  • Honorable

Hero Archetype Driving Forces

The Hero brand archetype is driven by:

  • Progress
  • Success
  • Expertise

It fears:

  • Incapability
  • Cowardice
  • Incompetence

Hero Archetype Brand Message

Its brand message is about making the world a better place and having the determination to outdo everyone.

The Hero brand slogan example: Nike’s “Just do it”

3. The Innocent: Safety

The Innocent brand archetype insists on positivity and optimism. Brands using this archetype desire happiness and safety for everyone. Not holding any grudges, the Innocent is honest and pure, believing everyone should be who they truly are deep down.

The Innocent’s branding strategy appeals to the target audience with honesty, simplicity, and positive messaging. These users associate Innocent brands with safety and recognition.

Innocent Archetype Typical Industries

The Innocent brands are usually part of these industries:

  • Beauty products and cosmetics
  • Anything body and health-related
  • Organic products
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Fresh food

Innocent Archetype Brand Voice

The Innocent’s brand voice is:

  • Down-to-earth
  • Genuine
  • Idealistic
  • Positive

Innocent Archetype Brand Message

Their brand messaging believes that the best aspects of life are the simple things.

The Innocent brand slogan example: Dove’s “Real Beauty”.

Innocent Archetype Driving Forces

The Innocent branding is driven by:

  • Sincerity
  • Honesty
  • Humbleness
  • Purity
  • Wholesomeness

These brands reject:

  • Difficulty
  • Pessimism
  • Cynicism
  • Corruption
  • Despair
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4. The Explorer: Freedom

The Explorer’s brand personality is driven by a desire to push boundaries and venture into unfamiliar environments. These brands advocate bravery and a love for adventure and challenge.

This archetype’s branding strategy appeals to like-minded consumers by challenging them to open their horizons. Brands of this type promote the outdoors and the unknown, inviting audiences to embrace a love for adventure and explore with them. They sometimes present modern society as a form of confinement.

Explorer Archetype Typical Industries

The Explorer archetype dominates in these industries:

  • Outdoor equipment
  • Automotive SUV category
  • Adventure traveling
  • Extreme sports

Explorer Archetype Brand Voice

The Explorer’s brand voice is:

  • Outgoing
  • Adventurous
  • Spirited
  • Brave

Explorer Archetype Driving Forces

The Explorer brands are driven by:

  • Discovery
  • Adventure
  • Unusual experiences
  • Exploration

They reject:

  • Boredom
  • Lifelessness
  • Confinement

Explorer Archetype Brand Message

The brand messaging of this archetype can be summed up with the idea that you only have one life, so make it count.

The Explorer brand slogan example: Toyota’s “Let’s Go Places”

5. The Creator: Innovation

The Creator brand personality is driven by the desire to create new and exceptional things. These brands value expressing themselves through individuality and talent, inviting everyone to witness the vision being brought to life.

The Creator’s branding strategy appeals to target audiences by acknowledging their creative process and inspiring self-expression.

Creator Archetype Typical Industries

The Creator brands appear in these verticals:

  • Design
  • IT
  • Arts
  • Marketing
  • Creative writing

Creator Archetype Brand Voice

The Creator’s brand voice is:

  • Inspiring
  • Motivating
  • Passionate
  • Visionary

Creator Archetype Driving Forces

The Creator brands are driven by:

  • Creation
  • Imagination
  • Self-expression

They steer clear of:

  • Familiarity
  • Inactivity

Creator Archetype Brand Message

The Creator brand messaging conveys the ability to see potential and uncover originality and imagination.

The Creator brand slogan example: Apple’s “Think Different”

6. The Everyman: Belonging

The Everyman brand archetype embraces familiarity and belonging. Friendly and easy-going, the Everyman archetype’s branding strategy aligns itself with basic values. It builds trust, stays positive, and seeks to fit in with home and family life. These brands connect with their target audience through a sense of belonging and everyday activities.

Everyman Archetype Typical Industries

The Everyman industries are:

  • Everyday apparel
  • Homelife
  • Automotive family segment
  • Comfort food

Everyman Archetype Brand Voice

The Everyman brand voice is:

  • Accommodating
  • Friendly
  • Fair

Everyman Archetype Driving Forces

The Everyman branding is motivated by:

  • Authenticity
  • Community
  • Belongingness
  • Relationships
  • Inclusion

These brands do not adopt:

  • Exclusion
  • Isolation

Everyman Archetype Brand Message

This archetype’s brand message can be summed up as the following: Treating your audience with friendliness and living in harmony.

The Everyman brand slogan example: Airbnb’s “Belong Anywhere”

7. The Ruler: Control

The Ruler brand archetype conveys authority, leadership, and confidence in their messaging and communication. They exhibit exclusivity, superiority, and responsibility.

These brands’ strategy is reaffirming the sense of control, power, and respect to appeal to their target audience. They seek prosperity and success and wish to share that with those who follow them.

Ruler Archetype Typical Industries

The Ruler industries are:

  • Prestige cars
  • Hotels
  • Manufacturers of fine objects such as watches
  • High apparel
  • Any luxury or high-quality brands

Ruler Archetype Brand Voice

The Ruler’s brand voice is:

  • Authoritative
  • Exclusive

Ruler Archetype Driving Forces

These brands are driven by:

  • Status
  • Exclusivity
  • Luxury
  • Success

They reject:

  • Insignificance
  • Failure

Ruler Archetype Brand Message

The brand messaging of The Ruler archetype is about communicating success in life and work and rewarding oneself for these achievements.

The Ruler brand slogan example: Mercedes-Benz’s “The Best or Nothing”

8. The Sage: Understanding

The Sage archetype in branding presents itself as the seeker of truth and wisdom. These brands profess knowledge and being informed. Their drive is to understand the world and share this knowledge with their audience.

The Sage’s branding strategy appeals to the corresponding consumer by acknowledging their intelligence. These brands value layered meanings, advanced vocabulary, and well-researched information.

Sage Archetype Typical Industries

The Sage brands appear in:

  • Education
  • Media and news outlets
  • Schools and universities
  • Search engines

Sage Archetype Brand Voice

The Sage’s brand voice is:

  • Knowledgeable
  • Well-informed

Sage Archetype Driving Forces

The Sage brands are driven by:

  • Mentorship
  • Knowledge
  • Expertise
  • Research
  • Information

They avoid:

  • Ignorance
  • Fraud
  • Inaccuracy

Sage Archetype Brand Message

These brands’ messaging is summed up in using education as the path to wisdom.

The Sage brand slogan example: Google’s “Do the right thing”

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9. The Jester: Enjoyment

The Jester brand archetype is all about having fun and seeing the good in every situation by being optimistic. Jester brands appeal to their audience’s childhood and connect with them through laughter. In their branding strategy, these brands associate themselves with good times and the light-hearted, positive side of life.

Jester Archetype Typical Industries

The Jester brands appear in:

  • Confectionary services
  • Child services
  • Beverage industry

Jester Archetype Brand Voice

The Jester’s brand voice is:

  • Childish
  • Positive
  • Light-hearted

Jester Archetype Driving Forces

These brands are driven by:

  • Joy
  • Entertainment
  • Energy

They fear:

  • Despair
  • Boredom
  • Hopelessness

Jester Archetype Brand Message

These brands’ messaging emphasizes having a good time and living life to the fullest.

The Jester brand slogan example: Lay’s slogan “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One”

10. The Lover: Intimacy

Brands of the Lover archetype desire and want to be desired. They put the experience of intimacy, sensuality, and pleasure at the forefront of their values and messaging. They are all about becoming more physically and emotionally appealing.

The Lover brands’ strategy is to appeal to its audience by making them feel attractive, desired, and wanted. They stir the passion and pleasure to connect with these consumers, using sensual language and carefully chosen words.

Lover Archetype Typical Industries

The Lover brands appear in these industries:

  • Fashion, especially haute couture
  • Perfumes
  • Cosmetics
  • Wine
  • Exotic cars
  • Exotic travel

Lover Archetype Brand Voice

The Lover brand voice is:

  • Passionate
  • Sensual
  • Intimate
  • Loving

Lover Archetype Driving Forces

The Lover brands are driven by:

  • Passion
  • Intimacy
  • Indulgence

These brands stay away from:

  • Rejection
  • Discrimination
  • Disregard

Lover Archetype Brand Message

The Lover brand’s message conveys the feeling of striking beauty that is impossible to ignore.

The Lover brand slogan example: L’Oreal’s “Because You’re Worth It”

11. The Caregiver: Support

The Caregiver brand archetype is selfless and proactive in protecting and caring for others. Their branding strategy focuses on helping those who are vulnerable, sensitive, and require a human touch. They project warm and thoughtful messages and approach life and their work with generosity.

Caregiver Archetype Typical Industries

The Caregiver brands operate in:

  • Hospitals and medicine
  • Education
  • Nonprofits and charity appeals
  • Environmental organizations

Caregiver Archetype Brand Voice

The Caregiver’s brand voice is:

  • Kind
  • Humane
  • Empathetic
  • Comforting

Caregiver Archetype Driving Forces

The Caregiver brands are driven by:

  • Support
  • Helping others
  • Protection
  • Care
  • Service
  • Help

These brands reject:

  • Harm
  • Injustice
  • Inequality

Caregiver Archetype Brand Message

The Caregiver brand’s message can be summed up as caring for everyone and providing service.

The Caregiver brand slogan example: Nasa’s “For the Benefit of All”

12. The Magician: Transformation

The Magician brands make the impossible possible, turning dreams and fantasies into reality. The Magician branding strategy appeals to their audience’s sense of wonder and imagination by providing magical moments and journeys that transform.

Magician Archetype Typical Industries

The Magician brands usually show up in these industries:

  • Entertainment
  • Beauty
  • Well-being
  • Health

Magician Archetype Brand Voice

The brand voice of this archetype is:

  • Magical
  • Guiding

Magician Archetype Driving Forces

These brands are driven by:

  • Wonder
  • Full of possibilities
  • Achieving the impossible
  • Belief

They reject:

  • Blandness
  • Doubt
  • Stagnation

Magician Archetype Brand Message

The Magician brand messaging is all about making dreams come true.

The Magician brand slogan example: Disney’s “Where dreams come true”  

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Brand Archetype Examples via 12 Iconic Brands

Now that you know the 12 brand archetypes, we’ve compiled a few examples to give you a better understanding of their application.

  • Harley Davidson (The Outlaw): Harley Davidson’s motorcycles symbolize freedom and independence. It embodies not conforming to the norm, and instead, living life on your own terms.
  • Nike (The Hero): The sports apparel giant uses top-class athletes in their campaigns to convey a sense of invincibility and heroism. These associations tap into their audience’s affinities, as Nike inspires them through the achievements of their brand ambassadors.
  • Dove (The Innocent): The skincare brand promotes natural ingredients and positive messaging about embracing oneself and the simplicity of life. They present women more naturally in their marketing campaigns, embodying the aura of The Innocent archetype.
  • Jeep (The Explorer): As a creator of off-road vehicles, Jeep embraces the ruggedness and spirit of adventure of The Explorer archetype. Their advertising campaigns target customers who value exploration and prefer to take the road less traveled.
  • Apple (The Creator): The IT giant’s inventive spirit and penchant for innovation makes them a perfect example of The Creator archetype. Often associated with revolutionary products and trailblazing achievements, the brand encourages its audience to “Think Different” and innovate.
  • IKEA (The Everyman): The Everyman brands are for all the regular guys and girls out there — and IKEA, the world-famous furniture producer, emphasizes its no-nonsense and genuine qualities. IKEA conveys affordability and meeting basic needs, like other Everyman brands.
  • Louis Vuitton (The Ruler): Luxury brands, such as this iconic creator of handbags, use imagery and language that depict a lavish lifestyle. Their message is all about aspiring to a higher society and affluence.
  • Google (The Sage): The Sage takes pride in its knowledge and aims for others to benefit from it. Google embodies this role as the biggest online encyclopedia, offering answers for everything by guiding its audience to solutions rather than providing them directly.
  • M&M’s (The Jester): M&M’s chocolate sweets are delicious and come in various, adding a playful twist, which reflects the values and brand messaging of The Jester archetype.
  • Victoria’s Secret (The Lover): The lingerie brand’s messaging, imagery, and colors are all about sensuality and femininity.
  • WWF (The Caregiver): WWF, an organization that advocates for the planet and wildlife conservation, is an ideal example of The Caregiver archetype that prioritizes the well-being of others over themselves.
  • Disney (The Magician): Disney is the essence of The Magician archetype. They bring a sense of magic and wonder to their audience through their fairytale movies and theme parks.

The 12 brands above are all successful in their respective industries — and they owe their success, in part, to effective positioning and brand identity influenced by their respective archetypes.

How To Establish Your Archetype in 5 Steps

For young brands or small businesses, exploring brand archetypes can be instrumental in helping you develop a strong identity. However, choosing a brand archetype should not be random. There are certain details you need to define to know which archetype aligns best with your brand.

Here are five steps to establish your brand archetype:

1. Find Your Brand Mission and Values

The first step in choosing one of the 12 brand archetypes is identifying your voice and brand values. Ask yourself why you do what you do, why you started your business, and what inspired your journey.

You should also have a clear idea of what constitutes success for your company and what your brand stands for. Mission, values, and goals are the core elements of every brand archetype. They inform all other traits and help position your brand in the market.

2. Know Your Target Audience

Choosing a brand archetype largely depends on your audience. Your brand archetype must align and resonate with your target audience since it will shape your branding strategy and how your products or services will appeal to them.

Before selecting a brand archetype, make sure you truly know your audience. Conduct thorough research on your target audience’s interests and values or hire customer research experts to create your buyer personas.

3. Identify Your Niche

Each brand archetype excels in certain industries and niches more than others. Some industries are simply a better fit with the traits, brand voice, messaging, and strategies of each archetype.

Depending on your business’s industry, you can define a brand archetype that best suits your brand identity.

4. Create a Draft

Once you have identified your values, audience, and niche, you can create a template for your brand based on your chosen brand archetype.

Here are some statements and questions to guide you:

I want my business to make people...

  • People relate to my business because it is...
  • My brand strongly associates with these features...
  • Does my brand motivate my audience?
  • What is the kind of connection they feel with my brand?

These sum up the previous steps — answering these questions will provide you clarity when choosing one of the 12 archetypes for your brand.

5. Ensure Consistency

The final step in choosing your brand archetype is making sure that all elements of your brand reflect it, from your visual identity (logo, typography, colors, etc.) to the marketing strategies you employ. This way, you’ll create consistent messaging for your customers, fostering trust and making your brand more memorable.

Brand Archetypes Takeaways

Let’s summarize the 12 brand archetypes we covered in this article:

  • The Outlaw: Seeks rebellion and revolution, questions authority, and breaks the rules. Brands that use this archetype: Harley Davidson, Diesel, Virgin.
  • The Hero: Brave, bold, inspiring, and on a mission to improve the world. Brands that use this archetype: BMW, Nike, and Red Cross.
  • The Innocent: Youthful, romantic, and optimistic; exudes goodness, safety, and happiness. Brands that use this archetype: Dove, Innocent Drinks, and Whole Foods.
  • The Explorer: Seeks new experiences; inspired by risk, discovery, and travel. Brands that use this archetype: Jeep, NASA, and National Geographic.
  • The Creator: Builds things of lasting value and meaning; imaginative, inventive, and innovative. Brands that use this archetype: Apple, YouTube, and Sony.
  • The Everyman: Supportive, faithful, and down-to-earth; aims to connect and belong. Brands that use this archetype: IKEA, Budweiser, and GAP.
  • The Ruler: Controlling, stern, responsible, and organized; creates order from chaos. Brands that use this archetype: Mercedes-Benz, Chanel, and YSL.
  • The Sage: Thoughtful advisors that offer insight and wisdom. Brands that use this archetype: University of Oxford, MIT, and BBC.
  • The Jester: Humorous, fun, and mischief-making; brings joy to the world. Brands that use this archetype: M&Ms, Dollar Shave Club, and Old Spice.
  • The Lover: Evokes passion, love, commitment, and romance, as well as intimate moments. Brands that use this archetype: Alfa Romeo, Victoria’s Secret, and Godiva.
  • The Caregiver: Compassionate, nurturing, and generous; protects and cares for others. Brands that use this archetype: WWF, Greenpeace, and Campbell's.
  • The Magician: Visionary and spiritual; creates special things and fulfills dreams. Brands that use this archetype: Disney, Polaroid, and MAC Cosmetics.

Once you know your archetype, creating a name in the market becomes one step closer. Alternatively, you can seek the assistance of the top branding agencies to guide you in your strategy.

Brand Archetypes FAQs

1. How do brand archetypes inform brand identity?

Brand archetypes infuse human traits and behavior into the values, mission, and vision of a business. They make it possible for target audiences to discern and differentiate your brand from competitors by expressing behaviors and communication that speak to them.

Brand archetypes allow your enterprise to identify and convey its authentic truth to attract prospective consumers. Its instinctive appeal makes it possible for businesses to create a more personal, believable, and strong brand identity.

2. How do brand archetypes inform brand positioning?

Finding and aligning with your business’s archetype allows your brand to:

  • Differentiate from the rest: Embodying archetypes and their personalities creates a more distinct and memorable brand identity that allows you to stand out among competitors.
  • Connect with its customers: A brand archetype — a collection of traits, yearnings, passions, and moods akin to people’s psyche — gives a human side to your brand and helps you foster a deeper connection with your audience.

By differentiating your brand from the rest and connecting with your audience on an emotional and psychological level, you can uniquely position your products or services.

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