“I don’t know what it is about them but there’s just something I like.”
Have you ever felt this way about a business?
Perhaps you liked their image, how they think, or their way of doing things. Maybe you liked what they stand for or their world view. Whether the reason, you were likely attracted to them because they possessed qualities, traits, or characteristics that appealed to you on a personal level.
This is the essence of brand archetypes at work.
Small businesses that want to win more sales and develop a loyal customer base must focus on connecting with a target audience of prospective customers. To have the long-term success we want as small business owners, the connections we make with our target customers cannot be shallow or based solely on the next transaction.
Like people, businesses must be relatable, likeable, and engaging if they hope to prosper in a saturated marketplace.
Consumers love to buy from brands they feel connected to. As an example, 8 in 10 Americans say they are more loyal to purpose-driven brands because they identify with those companies on a personal level.
As small business owners, we must create an identity for our businesses that people can connect to. Simply put, a brand archetype is a profile that defines a business’s personality. By employing the archetype that best suits our business and our target audience, we can make faster, stronger connections with the people who will buy from us.
And we will make more of them.
In this article, I will provide details of each brand archetype so that you can select the one that best fits your business.
12 Brand Archetypes
Here they are, in alphabetical order:
Summary: The mission of the Caregiver archetype is to serve as a protector of others—known for being supportive and generous. They are also often perceived as humanitarians, prioritizing the greater good over business and profit.
An example of a business leveraging this brand archetype might be found in the healthcare and education industries.
Brand Image: Soft, warm colors, such as blues, greens, and greys.
Brand Voice and Tone: Compassionate, understanding.
Summary: Brands that imbue the essence of the Creator archetype often view what they do as a craft while aiming for perfection. They are known for imagination and innovation, hoping to inspire their audiences.
Brands with The Creator archetype may be found in arts, design, or entertainment.
Brand Image: Vivid colors (red, blue, purple, and yellow).
Brand Voice and Tone: Inspirational, ambitious
Summary: The Everyman or Everywoman brand connects with their audience on common ground; they are relatable. They take an honest approach, allowing some vulnerability to show to deepen the bond. Their goal is to blend in with their target audience while also being perceived as a trusted companion.
Examples of this archetype are found in home goods and food and beverage companies.
Brand Image: Earth tones (brown, tan, green, gold).
Brand Voice and Tone: Friendly, casual
Summary: Freedom and adventure rule the day for the Explorer archetype. These brands are the best at challenging us to cast our comforts aside for a bigger, better life. For their audience, life is about discovering more about themselves, meeting challenges head-on, and living life with excitement.
The automobile and sporting goods sectors are common Explorer archetypes.
Brand Image: Black, Gray, Brown, and Green.
Brand Voice and Tone: Rugged, fearless
Summary: As in the movies, the Hero archetype is known for courage, leadership, and determination. These brands aim to stand out, become masters of their domain, and overcome all the obstacles. They connect with audiences who want to prove themselves worthy, raise the bar, and climb life’s mountains.
Sportswear and outdoor equipment brands fit this archetype profile.
Brand Image: Bold colors such as reds, dark blues, black, and orange.
Brand Voice and Tone: Strong, courageous
Summary: This brand archetype creates appeal with optimism and innocence. The goal is to convey a sense of happiness, perhaps even with a hint of naivete. Audiences most attracted to the Innocent are often hopeful, believing there is still much that is good in the world and appreciate the wholesomeness of this brand’s message.
Organic foods, supplements, and body care (i.e. soap) products are examples of businesses with this archetype.
Brand Image: Soft tones and pastels, or blues and green.
Brand Voice and Tone: Happy, honest, and warm
Summary: Humor appeals to a broad audience, and the Jester uses it to connect with theirs. Providing a comedic perspective—sometimes even in a self-deprecating way—allows the Jester to make light of serious subjects (though care must be taken to remain sensitive). It is as if the Jester says, “We don’t take life too seriously and neither can you.”
Brand Image: Bright colors, such as red, blue, and green.
Brand Voice and Tone: Fun-loving, care-free.
Summary: The world would not be complete without Lover brands. This archetypes seeks to connect on an intimate level with their audiences, using the allure of elegance and sensuality. The Lover is known for its passion, which makes it a powerful brand archetype. However, this may also result in the need to target a narrower market.
Personal luxury goods, such as clothing and perfume are the most popular Lover archetypes.
Brand Image: Deep, rich colors, such as burgundy, purple, and gold.
Brand Voice and Tone: Affectionate, passionate
Summary: This archetype captivates their audience with mystery and the belief that dreams can come true. Their message inspires us to attempt the impossible and that we are only limited by our imaginations. Their big-picture vision compels us to seek transformation while enjoying the journey along the way.
Beauty and entertainment are common Magician archetypes.
Brand Image: Light tones such yellow, blue, and pink.
Brand Voice and Tone: Convicting, inspirational
Summary: The rebellious spirit of the Outlaw makes it another powerful brand archetype. The idea is simple: cast the status-quo aside and live life your own way. They are usually the first to throw a punch, leading the charge against what they perceive as injustice. The Outlaw is known for championing a cause, which breeds fierce audience loyalty.
Any brand identified with being rebellious and opinionated could be categorized as an Outlaw.
Brand Image: Bold action colors, such as orange and red, with black.
Brand Voice and Tone: Aggressive, confrontational.
Summary: Rulers seek power and domination. Their obsession with becoming leaders in their industry embody their audience’s desire to be successful. Rulers strive to achieve excellence in all they do and inspire others to do the same.
Luxury brands are examples of the Ruler archetype.
Brand Image: Dominant colors such as red, purple, gold, and black.
Brand Voice and Tone: Authoritative, Confident
Summary: The Sage is best known for being an intellectual, imparting knowledge and wisdom. The audiences most attracted this archetype value education and appreciate the philosophical spirit of the Sage. These brands serve their markets by acting as a guide, leading their customers to success.
Consultants and media are examples of the Sage archetype.
Brand Image: Color that imbue trust, such as blue and green.
Brand Voice and Tone: Authoritative, trustworthy
Brand archetypes can bring your business to life, giving it an identity that your target customers can relate and connect to. By doing this, small businesses can stand out, grab attention, and win more sales.
As you read this article, did you see one brand archetype that stood out among the others?
It is possible your business already possesses the characteristics of a specific archetype, but more work is needed to implement a brand strategy that leverages it for growth. We can help you tap into the power of your brand by improving your image, messaging, and customer targeting.
If you have any questions, email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
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