Branding with a human touch: The power of brand archetypes

Creating and nurturing a brand personality is essential to business. But what constitutes a “brand personality” and how can something intangible have a personality?

A brand personality is what the consumer relates to. It’s an added-value aside from the company’s functional benefits. Let’s be honest, people don’t buy because they go through your features and benefits; they buy from you because of the feeling you give them and from how they perceive your message.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”
— Jeff Bezos

Accurately understanding brand personality is important to brand success. A successful marketing strategy should host a brand personality that is relatable to its target customer and understanding brand personalities allows companies to deliver consistent messages and experiences that connects with consumers, leaving a deeper and more sustainable impression. We can all recall brands that consistently evoke some sense of personality — Dove, Coca Cola, McDonalds. They each have a human component that helps people relate to their brand and, ultimately, become brand loyalists.

Throughout history, many of the same characters — archetypes — appear in literature, mythology and folklore. Archetypes are timeless and universal which allows companies to develop a brand using the same techniques used to define ourselves. Using archetypes to develop visuals and messages evokes certain feelings by the customer.

Brand personality characteristics often suggest a brand’s latent appeal. When identified and cultivated they can effectively guide the creative tone of communication. For example, Mercedes is “confident” and “prestigious” — noted by it’s tag line “The Best or Nothing.” BMW is more “sexy” and “well crafted,” it is “Designed for Driving Pleasure.” Both brands have different personalities and, ultimately, different brand strategies.

Without further ado, here is a compilation of the 12 archetypes and corresponding brand campaigns.

The Innocent
Motto: Do the right thing
Ideals: Pure, simple, honest


The Everyman
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Ideals: Humble, hardworking, connect with others


The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Ideals: Improve the world, courageous


The Caregiver
Motto: Love thy neighbour as thyself
Ideals: Protect, nurture, provide


The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Ideals: Freedom, adventure


The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Ideals: Revolution, Nonconformity, Maverick


The Lover
Motto: Guilty pleasures
Ideals: Intimacy, Pleasure, Physical


The Creator
Motto: If you can dream it, you can do it
Ideals: Craftsmanship, Value


The Entertainer
Motto: Live in the moment
Ideals: Humor, Enjoyment, Fun


The Philosopher
Motto: The truth will set you free
Ideals: Intelligence, Truth, Diligent


The Magician
Motto: Achieving the unimaginable
Ideals: Transformation, Supernatural


The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing
Ideals: Influence, Prosperity, Assertive


What are some of your favorite brand archetypes? 

Originally published on Dashmote.