How to Nail Your Brand's Personality Archetype
When we think of an archetype, we’re probably transported back to high-school English classes. Shakespeare, soliloquies, protagonists ahoy!
But actually, in the real-life adult world, archetypes are a different kettle of fish; and when you understand them, they’re pretty useful from a branding perspective.
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychologist, widely regarded as fathering the discipline of analytical psychology (basically, how and why we do the weird and wacky stuff we do). One of his most famous works is called the 12 Archetypes, a series of archetypes that we all either know, or ourselves are.
According to Psychologist World, “Jung noted that within the collective unconscious there exist a number of archetypes which we can all recognise.” Essentially, it’s a model image of a person, or a role a brand plays, that makes them instantly recognisable for short-attention spanned consumers.
Examples could be a nurturing mother figure, a joker, a wise old man or a rebel. Pretty familiar folk to us humans, but very important in branding. Why? Because archetypes are universal symbols that are designed by their very nature to evoke a feeling in customers, rooted in familiarity (for those playing at home… clear, familiar associations in branding = very good).
Let’s use those examples above. A comforting, nurturing archetype? The Innocent. Dove. Makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, protected even.
Rebellious? The Rebel. Harley-Davidson. When we see one of those badass bikes on the road, we kind of wish we were on it - we might even creep up the speed limit a few km’s out of sheer excitement. Wise old man? The Sage. Google. A philosopher, a teacher, guided by pillars of truth-seeking and the pursuit of knowledge.
And despite the Big Kahuna’s mentioned above, the 12 Archetypes can be used by any business, at any size.
That’s why we use them for all clients in our Wordfetti Brand Strategies (aka the Brand Bible). They provide clarity and familiarity, and help business owners not just understand where they should be positioning themselves in the market - but also how to communicate their archetype in words.
Yep, in every social post, blog, pitch deck, e-mail and press release, our lovely clients channel their archetype in copy, even after they’ve finished working with us.
Because having that clarity is super important when writing to your audience. You want to give ‘em a taster of what it’s like to work with you - are you supportive? Challenging? Disruptive? Relatable? Nurturing? Fun? Witty? Let your archetype guide you.
And once you’ve identified that archetype, you want to be expanding on it. Discuss why you’ve picked it, what it means to have that personality, what you stand for, what you fear (e.g. The Rebel would fear order and structure, whereas The Ruler might fear chaos and disorganisation).
Here are some of our favourite examples from real life Wordfetti clients (#wordfetti’d) for your branding and copywriting inspo.
We helped them develop their brand archetypes and now, they channel it through every piece of communication they have.
Wheel image courtesy of VisionOne.
CSR Martini, a leader in their industry for all things acoustic and thermal insulation solutions - who have been responsible for the likes of fitting out Sydney Opera House to the offices of Google, was a stand-out Magician. (Similar to Dyson and Tesla). The Magician is about inventions, innovation and transforming something ordinary into the extraordinary. They have the ability o make things seem to have a powerful of experience-shifting effect, often without even being seen.
CALLIGRAPHY EN VOGUE
Calligraphy en Vogue, a bespoke calligraphy studio, is without a doubt The Lover archetype. Other examples of The Lover include Estee Lauder and Hallmark. The Lover prioritises intimacy and connection - all types of love. They’re all about making customers feel special and appreciated, and brands with this archetype are characterised by warm, friendly and inviting language. They’re personal - so they typically steer away from using collective nouns like “we”, and they love to laser-focus in on individuals. In their copy, they’re especially good at making consumers feel like their products and words are just for them, like they’re the only ones in the room.
Luna Bronze is skincare that’s redefining sunless tanning, so one of their archetypes clearly stood out as being The Explorer (like Lonely Planet or Patagonia). By flipping traditional self-tan on its head, this archetype represented their desire to discover and innovate; to break away from the well-trodden path. Explorers are pioneers, they are unafraid of doing what no-one else has and a big part of their mission is to invite their customers along for the ride. Given their wordly ideals (fusing self-tan with natural, organic skincare), they’re also reminiscent of The Dreamer, an archetype that aspires to be better and longs for a better world and a better way. Dreamers are often effervescent and highly imaginative. Red Bull’s a great example.
The reason we love fleshing out brand archetypes is because it’s a really powerful way for our clients to run with their own words.
Archetypes are purely a way to harness a feeling, and that feeling can be so effective when transferred to a writing voice that they can take away. What we do isn’t all about us writing for you (although disclaimer, we really, really love to do that), but actually, it’s about giving you the tools to be a better writer yourself.
So why don’t you give it a go?
There are so many resources online to start with! And of course, if you need a little help, get in touch - we’d love to chat and see what kind of branding magic we can weave together.
Until next time fam!