Branding basics - the 12 brand archetypes


Date: 15 May 2019

A young business owner works on her business branding on her laptop.Successful businesses know the importance of branding. A strong brand is invaluable for establishing what makes your business unique, engaging with the right target customers, and ultimately helping you rise above the competition.

It's particularly important for small businesses to create a recognisable brand, and to leverage it well, to help them stand out in a field dominated by bigger players.

The 12 brand archetypes

Psychologist Carl Jung suggested that there are 12 primary 'archetypes', or patterns symbolizing human motivations.

These have been further developed into brand archetypes, which can be used to create a powerful brand identity that customers almost unconsciously recognise and engage with.

Here's a list of the 12 brand archetypes, and the basic traits each one represents:

1. The Innocent - good, pure, optimistic;

2. The Explorer - pioneering, problem-solving, blue-sky thinking;

3. The Sage - wise, practical, analytical;

4. The Hero - bold, confident, inspirational;

5. The Outlaw - rebellious, challenging the status quo;

6. The Magician - visionary, imaginative, spiritual;

7. The Guy/Girl Next Door - down-to-earth, trustworthy, supportive;

8. The Lover - passionate, romantic, intimate;

9. The Jester - fun, cheeky, spreading joy;

10. The Caregiver - nurturing, warm, compassionate;

11. The Creator - inventive, artistic, independent;

12. The Ruler - organised, authoritative, creating order from chaos.

To make your branding meaningful, choose an archetype to match your business to, and emphasise these traits in your marketing.

For example, a plumbing firm could model themselves on the Guy/Girl Next Door archetype, representing themselves as reliable, no-nonsense and there for customers in times of need.

12 Brand Archetypes

Branding your small business in this way makes a far bigger impact than simply listing the products or services you offer.

The importance of brand imagery

The impact of visuals cannot be overemphasized when it comes to branding. Original, memorable images can help catch your audience's eye, and reinforce their impression of your archetypal values.

An image library of brand archetype examples can help your business come to life in consumers' eyes, and serve as a source of inspiration and new ideas.

Images can be used not only for general branding, but also for specific promotional channels, for example to create an original Facebook home page logo.

If you don't yet use archetypes in your branding, it's well worth considering the advantages this could bring for your small business.

Copyright 2019. Article was made possible by Sandra Iakovleva

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