Brand Archetypes 101: WHAT ARE BRAND ARCHETYPES?

brand archetypes 101 Jul 14, 2022


ARCHETYPE [def]: a prototype, model or mold from which similar things are patterned. 


Just as the human body developed internal organs to function without our conscious knowledge, so also the human mind developed psychic organs, or cognitive programming patterns of understanding through which we unconsciously filter perceptions of who we are and how we fit into the world. 


These collectively-inherited subconscious programming patterns are the Archetypes: Universally-shared maps of meaning within human imagination.


Archetypes come in many forms (symbolic, metaphorical, literal, characterization) and are linked to millions of years of evolution and 100,000+ years of human social conditioning shaped through storytelling.


Examples of Archetypal symbols include: the Sun as masculine, life-force energy; the Ocean as unexpected feminine chaos energy, thunder and lightning as “angry” primordial forces, the Lion as ‘King of Beasts,’ the Night Sky as gateway to the Heavens and final frontier. 


Examples of Archetypal characters include: the Mother as nurturer, the Warrior as hero, the King as ruler, the Tyrant as evil dictator, the Virgin as innocent bride. 



From building the Pyramids to engineering nuclear technology --- mankind's ability to imagine, create + realize future goals through actionable Archetypal storylines has propelled our species' planetary dominance. 


Archetypal stories teach laws of human conduct. Whether through childhood bedtime stories or adult movie dramas, Archetypal characters and narrative arcs function as personal, cultural + societal ideals to observe, emulate and leverage into greater situational, social self-awareness and resulting personal success.


Archetypal stories shape who we are. The neurological process behind this Archetypal learning phenomenon is called “neural mirroring,” whereby when we listen to someone tell a great Hero adventure story our brains light up “mirror neurons”  in the same cerebral cortices that would activate if we were actually ON the adventure as the Hero — in other words, we experience the story as if we were actually living it


Archetypal stories teach us how to survive. The evolutionary development or mirror neurons allowed early humans to learn lessons of courageous conduct, warnings of behavioral missteps and life-threatening dangers without risk of encountering danger in real life. By listening to stories of Heroes, Villains, Kings and Saints we learn lessons of human morality, tribulations and treasures without encountering the dangers of the adventure itself --- thus increasing our chance of survival.


Examples of Archetypal stories include: the Rags to Riches Hero [Aladdin, Ratatouille], the Quest [The Odyssey, Harry Potter], the Rebirth [Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Carol], Defeating the Monster [David and Goliath, Star Wars, Game of Thrones], the Comedy [Midsummer Night's Dream, Caddyshack], the Tradgedy [Romeo and Juliet, Titanic], the Voyage and Return [Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings].



Countless Archetypal symbols, stories and characters have emerged over the years, but through study of early human history and clinical work with patients Swiss psychologist Carl Jung outlined a set of [12] dominant Archetypes. 


Across global history the Jungian Archetypes appear repeatedly throughout human stories, culture and mythology. Each of the [12] Archetype represents a character personality profile of specific characteristics, desires, fears and motivations.


Jung argued the universality of Archetypes stems not from the fact not they appear in shared global stories --- but instead how they metaphor human life experience. Archetypes serve as a way to understand who we are in the social order, but more importantly serve as an analogy for natural human development — from birth [the INNOCENT] to death [the JESTER]. 



Brand Archetypes are simply the application of Carl Jung's [12] Archetypes into Business, Branding + Marketing Strategy.


Understanding Brand Archetypes is a powerful personality profiling tool for deciphering hidden motives, fears and desires both in ourselves and the people with whom we interact. You can use Brand Archetypes in many different ways — most powerfully by realizing both YOU and YOUR CLIENT AUDIENCE seek to embody a particular Archetype through your interaction with each other. 


As your familiarity with Archetypes grows you’ll be able to recognize others functioning within particular Archetypal frames. You'll be able to better understand + speak to that dominant Archetypes in others, empowering you to most effectively communicate in your personal, content + marketing messaging.



Each Archetype represents a personality profile with specific characteristics, desires, fears and motivations, as follows: 


THE INNOCENT BRAND ARCHETYPE [Dreamer, Virgin, Idealist]


The Innocent is driven by a desire to experience a happy, joyful, simple life. They seek to meet this need through practicing faith, optimism, integrity and idealistic belief in “goodness.” 

Innocent Brands offer clear, transparent solutions to identifiable problems. Common industries include Beauty & Skin, Organics, Mom And Pop Shops, Home & Garden.





The Everyman is driven by a desire to belong and feel secure in community with others. They seek to meet this need through a “work hard, stay humble” approach, doing their part to contribute and appreciating life as it is.

Everyman Brands give people a sense of belonging and offer practical, no-nonsense solutions for everyday functionality. Common industries include Local Pubs/Casual Dining, Ranch & Farm, Auto, Hunting, Competitive Sports, Religious/Community Organizations.

THE HERO BRAND ARCHETYPE [Warrior, Rescuer, Dragon-Slayer]


The Hero is driven by a desire to prove self-worth through acts of courage, competent strength and perseverance towards a greater good. They seek to meet this need through the practice of disciplined self-mastery and decisive forward action against any odds.

Hero Brands offer people a “can-do” feeling of inspiration and provide solutions to solving major personal and/or social problems. Common industries include Sportswear, Athletics, Emergency Services, Outdoor Equipment, Military, Video Gaming.



The Caregiver is motivated by a desire to nurture, care for and be appreciated by others. They seek to meet this need through generously serving people around them. 

Caregiver Brands provide customers with a feeling of being cared-for by offering products and services that meet their personal needs (meal-planning, childcare/home services, wellness, etc). Common industries include Healthcare, Education, Maternal/Baby, Home & Cyber Security, Financial & Event Planning.


THE EXPLORER BRAND ARCHETYPE [Seeker, Wanderer, Trailblazer]


The Explorer is driven by a desire to feel free and discover personal authenticity by exploring the world. They seek to meet this need by seeking novelty, adventure and cultivating self-reliance.  

Explorer Brands provide customers a sense of personal independence by offering rugged, sturdy and reliable products/services that prepare and support pioneering adventure. Common industries include Outdoor/Adventure Sports & Gear, Travel, Auto, Energy Drinks/Power Supplements & Scientific/Space Exploration.

THE MAVERICK BRAND ARCHETYPE [Outlaw, Rebel, Iconoclast]


The Maverick is motivated by a desire to overturn broken, outdated systems. They seek to meet this need by rejecting outdated social norms, refusing to following the crowd and disrupting and/or shaking established ideals. 

Maverick Brands appeal to customers who feel disenfranchised or disaffiliated with society at large by either helping to retain “old” values being threatened by change or pushing forward new values to replace antiquated ones. Common industries include Auto (Motorcycle), Defi/Cryptocurrency, Body Art, Alternative Apparel & Music, Destruction Tools, Cigarette & Alcohol, Cutting-Edge Technology.

THE LOVER BRAND ARCHETYPE [Friend, Partner, Siren]


The Lover is driven by a desire to feel intimacy, passion and shared sensual experience. They seek to meet that need by transcending through sensory and emotional connection, making themselves attractive, needed and/or loveable.

Lover Brands help customers feel a sense of connection through providing products and services that foster feelings of intimacy, sensory, beautiful and/or exclusive experiences. Common industries include Fragrance, Luxury Dining, Travel, Apparel & Accessories, Beauty/Body/Spa, Floral, Bridal, Dating Apps.

THE CREATOR BRAND ARCHETYPE [Artist, Visionary, Inventor]


The Creator is driven by a desire to become a master expressor and legacy creator of their inherent creative talents. They seek to do so by developing, practicing and mastering their creative skills. 

Creator Brands give customers a feeling of self-expression, individuality and outside-the-box thinking by offering “DIY” or otherwise customer-choice-based products. Common industries include Performing & Visual Arts, Graphic Design, Beauty [Makeup] & Hair [Styling], DIY, Architecture & Interior Design, Highly-Customizable Products, Technology & Software Development.




The Ruler is driven by a desire to claim and authority through competence and strength. They do so by developing self-discipline, diplomatic, resource allocation and leadership skills.

Ruler Brands sell premium or elite-status products that help clients manage, grow or embody their personal power. Common industries include Luxury Automotive, Watch Manufacturers, Credit Cards/Banking, Luxury and/or elite apparel, High-End Home Security, Government, Entrepreneurship, Celebrity.



The Magician is motivated by a desire to understand the meaning behind things and uncover the hidden secrets of reality. They seek to meet this need by developing their intuitive vision, decoding Universal Laws and helping others do likewise. 

Magician Brands are future-focused and offer products and/or services that help customers transform their inner and/or outer lives. Common industries include Cosmetics [Anti-Aging, Medical Spa], Fitness, Biohacking, Nutrition & Supplements, Holistic Wellness, Mental Wellness, Coaching, Fashion & Design, Spirituality, Plant Medicine.

THE SAGE BRAND ARCHETYPE [Expert, Intellectual, Researcher]


The Sage is driven by a desire to find truth through intellectual inquisition, to be perceived as a knowledgeable expert and teach others to do the same. They seek to meet this need by noticing problems, researching, testing and analyzing verifiable truths and sharing their findings.


Sage Brands provide customers with verifiable expert, insider knowledge and encourage them to think both critically and objectively. Common industries include Journalism, Podcasting, Media [Crime, Mystery, Documentary], Educational Institutions, Science & Medical Research, Internet Search Engines. 



The Jester is driven by a desire to feel alive, have fun, entertain others and live life to the fullest.

They seek to meet this need by making others happy through laughter, being the “life of the party” and reminding others to not take life too seriously. 

Jester Brands offer customers products, entertainment and/or services that help customers have a good time and feel present in the moment. Common industries include Entertainment, Recreational Venues, Stunt/Daredevil Sports, Men’s Self-Care Products, “Fun” Foods, Beer, Spirits, Tobacco, Illicit Substances, Toy, Reality TV.

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