There is an indescribable, alluring quality to the world’s most beloved brands. We’re enamored with the sense of nostalgia that Coke inspires. Patagonia awakens the explorer and begs us to experience the natural world. Victoria’s Secret evokes the seductive lover when we buy sexy lingerie. Nike fuels greatness, and Charity: Water makes us want to donate our birthday money to help change lives.
When you find yourself loyal to your favorite brands and inspired by new ones, you’re subconsciously forging a connection with that brand’s archetype. A brand archetype is a personification of a brand on a human level. It borrows well-established character types throughout history, film and literature to define a brand’s underlying personality and character. Consider James Dean’s rebel spirit and Marilyn Monroe’s sensuality. Think Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” and Charlie Chaplin’s jester-like shenanigans. Archetypes have long permeated the essence of who we are.
How Archetypes Influence Brands
Looking at a brand through the lens of archetypes can unleash powerful brand positioning. These narrative structures are so remarkable because they tap into specific core desires, drives, fears and motivations all humans have. Archetypes help us understand who a brand is and what it stands for. Especially for ‘me too’ categories and commodity businesses, archetypes reveal unique differentiators and meaning beyond what a company sells.