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Knowing your brand archetype is a key step towards crafting a brand identity that your audience can feel a deep connection with.
The greatest brands in the world have clearly defined archetypes that are reflected in each and every aspect of their visual design, messaging, tone of voice and products.
Some of the most common brand archetypes are the ones of the everyman, the outlaw, the explorer, the ruler and the lover.
In this guide, we're going to see all the 12 archetypes by Carl Jung, along with useful examples for each archetype. This way, you'll know how to apply the principles in your brand strategy and integrate them into your brand identity.
Let's get into it.
The 12 brand archetypes as we know them today were derived from Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s personality archetypes, which were outlined back in 1919.
Jung maintained that all humans have one dominant trait that leads to typical behavioral patterns, desires, values and motivations.
These typical “archetypes” can also be applied to brands, and businesses can use them to create brand personalities that connect with their target audience on a personal and emotional level.
The infographic below illustrates the 12 brand archetypes by Carl Jung.
The Creator brand archetype is all about innovation and creativity.
These brands are nonconformists, and are usually the first ones to introduce a new technology or create a unique combination of features.
The goal of a Creator is to solve a problem by inventing something that didn’t exist before. They constantly strive to create meaningful products with enduring value that align with their vision.
Another characteristic of Creator brands is they empower customers to express themselves freely. This could either be with the help of a tool, feature or even design.
Naturally, Creators appeal more to creative or artistic audiences who value self-expression, experimenting with new products and standing out from the crowd. This is why most Creators thrive in art, design, technology and marketing.
The video below is a great example of how Adobe celebrates innovation and creativity.
On top of that, Adobe is one of the best examples of a Creator brand that constantly integrates new technology into their products. For example, they released Adobe Sensei a few years ago to bring AI and machine learning into their design offerings.
They’re also continuously working on AR and VR projects to enable people to create designs that are larger than life.
Apple has always been the go-to example of innovation in design and technology. Take the Macbook Air, for example. Back when it was introduced in 2008, it broke the record of being the world’s thinnest notebook.
Apple also does an excellent job at empowering people to express themselves. Most people who own Apple products would say the brand defines their personality.
When it comes to experimentation, Apple almost always has a mysterious product in the works that people love to discuss and make predictions about (What would the new iPhone look like?)
The Sage brand archetype exists for knowledge, truth and wisdom — these brands not only strive to seek valuable information, but also to share it with others.
The goal of Sage brands is to empower people to change the world rather than bring about a change on their own.
They are thought leaders and trusted sources of information. People rely on them to better understand the world around them. This is why most Sage brands have a loyal following of customers who keep coming back to seek more knowledge.
Sage brands dislike misleading or vague information, and prefer using solid facts and statistics to back up their statements. This is why Sage brands are typically found in education, such as schools and colleges, as well as in the news and media industry.
If you have a question, Google has the answer. That’s just how it works and has been working for a long time now.
While it’s true that Google isn’t usually the one providing any of the answers, the brand has opened up a path to knowledge, truth and guidance for people all over the world.
On top of that, Google owns an array of products that all have one mission:
“To organize the world’s information, and make it universally accessible and useful.”
As one of the biggest news and media companies, BBC has established itself as the go-to brand for authentic, trustworthy information about current events around the world.
From the language they use, the content they produce and even the advertising campaigns they create, everything BBC does is to help people gain a better understanding of the world.
The Caregiver brand archetype is empathetic, compassionate and nurturing. This makes it an excellent personality for healthcare brands, nonprofits and baby products.
The goal of the Caregiver is to protect customers and make them feel secure. They play the role of a healer or a motherly figure who has your best interests at heart.
These brands are kind, and provide emotional or physical support through their products, services, messaging or even business model.
WWF, a global nonprofit, is a great example of a Caregiver brand working selflessly towards protecting wildlife and the environment.
What makes WWF's campaigns stand out from other nonprofit marketing is they inspire empathy and compassion in others with the use of creative imagery and implicit messaging.
Pampers has become a symbol of love and care for mothers all over the world.
Aside from their incredibly cute advertisements, thoughtful packaging and soothing visual style, they regularly publish educational content that helps their customers (i.e. mothers) care for and protect their family.
The Innocent brand archetype is pure and unadulterated, just like nature. These brands like simplicity and authenticity, and have strong moral values.
Innocent brands don’t want to harm anyone or anything, and have an incredibly positive outlook on life — some would say even to the point of naivety.
The Innocent brand would do well in industries that involve organic or natural ingredients, such as beauty, skincare and food.
Nestle portrays its brand of purified water as an Innocent by focusing on purity, optimism and nature. The TV commercial below is a great example of those values.
Notice how they use elements like children, natural landscapes and even the voiceover of a child to create a simple, pure and innocent brand image.
True Botanicals is an organic skincare brand that not only emphasizes on the use of natural ingredients in their products, but also exudes Innocent characteristics in its product design, packaging and photography.
The Jester brand archetype likes to laugh and have fun. These brands don’t take themselves too seriously, and encourage their audience to laugh along with them.
The goal of Jesters is to help people let go of stressful thoughts, come out of their shell and party a little. This doesn’t necessarily mean customers have to step out of their comfort zone — the Jester will bring the fun to wherever they are.
Jester brands are extremely charismatic. They can exist in virtually any industry, but they’re mostly found in food, entertainment and everyday home niches.
Dollar Shave Club arrived in the male grooming industry with a bang. Launching with a humorous video, DSC is the perfect example of how the Jester archetype can help even the smallest brands compete with giants like Gillette.
The video below received over 3 million views in a matter of days.
Doritos didn’t just become a household name because of its product — their humorous ads are one of the biggest reasons people associate the brand with fun and good times.
Check out this ad where Lil Nas X and Sam Elliott go head-to-head for a pack of Doritos.
This commercial was a part of the Doritos Super Bowl 2020 ad series, and stays true to the brand’s Jester archetype by taking a witty angle on traditional face-offs.
The goal of the Magician brand archetype is to deliver transformative experiences and make dreams come true.
The Magician can turn the ordinary into extraordinary. They can transport you to a Utopian world where the only limit is your imagination.
Just like Creators, these brands also focus heavily on creativity and imagination. But unlike other brands, the Magicians are able to deliver experiences that are almost spiritual and idealistic in nature.
When we talk about The Magician brand archetype, we immediately think about Disney. From its fantastical movies and songs to the wondrous experience that is Disneyland, the brand is all about bringing magic and sparkles into our ordinary lives.
The short film above was recently released by Disney as a Christmas advert, and tells a magical story about family and making wishes come true.
From the day Polaroid launched its instant camera, it became a symbol of magic and capturing wonderful moments. The very concept of taking a picture and watching it print out instantly in its nostalgic format is a magical experience.
Even now, the brand uses the word “magic” on their homepage and focuses on delivering transformative experiences to customers with its products.
The Ruler brand archetype is powerful and dominating. These brands strive to be the best of the very best.
What stands out about Ruler brands is their ability to influence others with authoritative personality and rarely questioned industry expertise.
Ruler brands like to associate themselves with wealth and success, and are often portrayed as more masculine than others. They might be quiet, but they’re known for perfection and attention to detail.
You’ll find most Ruler brands in the luxury niches, from cars and hotels to jewelry, perfumes and watches.
A leader in its own industry, Gillette has always exuded an air of domination and masculine energy — key characteristics of the Ruler archetype.
Their recent campaign plays on the slogan “The best a man can get.”
If you know anything about watches, you know that Rolex is the king of watch brands. But that’s no coincidence — the brand has always portrayed itself as the best in the industry.
For years, even before Nike, Rolex has been using leading influencers, successful celebrities and masters of trade in their advertising campaigns. This sends across the message that not only Rolex is the best watch brand, it's also worn by the best people.
The Hero brand archetype is a symbol of courage and a source of inspiration. These brands wear a superhero cape and their mission is to make the world a better place.
Hero brands are brave; they’re not intimidating, but they embrace any challenges that come their way, have big ambitions and inspire people to work harder.
Hero brands are most commonly seen in sports, outdoor and equipment, thanks to their bold and confident personality.
Nike’s famous slogan — Just do it — is the embodiment of the Hero archetype. The brand consistently creates bold and standout products, and maintains an inspiring brand voice that empowers its customers to be courageous and daring.
Here’s an example of a Nike commercial that sends an inspiring message to women all over the world.
FedEx positions itself as a brand whose strength lies in bravely overcoming any challenges and obstacles that try to prevent it from fulfilling its duty.
The commercial below celebrates this bravery and shows appreciation for the real “heros” at FedEx — the delivery people.
The Regular Guy brand archetype, also known as the Everyman, simply wants to belong. These brands dislike standing out from the crowd, and send the message that it’s okay to be normal.
Unlike other brand archetypes that hold an elitist personality, the Regular Guy just wants to blend in with the rest of the society. These brands are typically affordable, inclusive and target the masses instead of a highly niche segment.
The Regular Guy archetype is mostly seen in everyday brands, such as casual clothing, home decor and furniture, and food.
A textbook example of the Regular Guy archetype, IKEA offers everyday home products for the average joe — that too in many countries and cities around the world.
The brand has done a great job at maintaining its reputation as the go-to store for affordable and practical products everyone needs to have in their home.
Let’s face it. We all own at least one Gap product.
That’s because Gap is for everyone, literally. The brand prides itself on providing clothing for all kinds of age groups, body types and genders.
Gap focuses heavily on belonging and inclusivity in marketing, and mentions these values as the foundation of the brand’s existence.
The Rebel brand archetype, also called the Outlaw, is exactly what you think it is — a rebel at heart. These brands dislike rules and conformity. They value freedom and want to break through the status quo, even if it requires a fight.
You might be wondering how the Rebel is different from the Creator as they both value nonconformity and innovation. The biggest difference between the two, perhaps, is that the Rebel is more aggressive, and might even go against societal norms just because they’re bored.
The Rebel archetype is best suited for brands and products that enable customers to express their unorthodox personalities and desires, such as statement jewelry, tattoos and motorcycles.
Harley-Davidson is a classic example of the Rebel archetype. The brand engages its audience by creating commercials that challenges them to be different and bold.
This commercial is a great example of how the brand provokes their target audience to break out of their monotonous routines and experience the thrill of the outdoors.
Another brand that made excellent use of the Rebel archetype is Diesel.
As part of a campaign, Diesel created a series of ads that broke stereotypes and encouraged customers to be stupid because being smart is too “mainstream.”
The Explorer brand archetype taps into their audience’s desire to travel and discover new places, people and worlds.
Explorers love their freedom, and they’re always looking for pathways to self-fulfillment, although they’re rarely ever satisfied with where they are.
Some Explorer brands also tie this idea in with a sense of adventure, although that’s definitely not the only way to market this archetype.
“Red Bull gives you wings” — the brand’s slogan defines Red Bull as an Explorer.
The video ad below appeals to Red Bull’s free-spirited target market by painting a vivid picture of the thrill that comes with discovering new places and experiences.
The popular American SUV brand is famous for creating commercials that trigger the audience's desire for adventure and exploring the world.
This Jeep ad is one such example that showcases the brand’s Explorer archetype in its full glory with a message: no matter how tough the terrain or how wild the adventure, Jeep is there with you on the exciting journey.
You guessed it — the Lover brand archetype is a true romantic. They value relationships above anything else, and find strength in intimacy, passion and emotional connection.
Lover brands also tend to focus heavily on aesthetic appeal. They’re an advocate of all things beautiful and sensual. Their goal is to be as attractive as possible, and to stimulate a desire in their audience to be intimate and passionate.
Creating desire has always been part of Chanel’s mission, and this is exactly what they aim to do with their brand messaging.
With their sensual short films and teasers, Chanel establishes itself as a passionate Lover brand that makes women feel attractive and irresistible.
Godiva uses sexuality and relationships in its brand messaging to inspire sensual and romantic feelings in its target audience. A good example is the ad below that highlights this idea.
Understanding your brand's dominant trait — or brand archetype — can give structure and direction to your brand identity, and can help you create more relevant and targeted brand messaging.
If you want to learn more about branding, here are some useful resources:
We hope this guide helps you identify the right archetype for your brand. Remember — the key is to stick to one archetype and be consistent across all channels and touch points.
If you're looking for a tool to create a cohesive visual identity, head over to Visme's template library to browse options for logos, brand materials, style guides, marketing collateral and more.
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