You Can Do Magic: 12 Brand Archetypes & The Best One Yet

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Brand Archetypes
Image Source: society6.com

There’s an old song by The Americas and it goes something like this,

“You can do magic.
You can have anything that you desire,
Magic.
And you know you’re the one that can light my fire.”

What is on its face a love song actually holds the power to inspire creatives, seasoned and new, to extract this feeling from the client and the audience alike. I know it inspires me! Who wouldn’t want to elicit this reaction in a pitch for example?

We, the wordsmiths, the weavers of dreams into reality, the alchemists of briefs into beliefs; are the modern-day magicians.

There’s a tool I love to use when working on a new brand: The Brand Archetype.

The Brand Archetypes

It’s a wheel of twelve archetypes that define the DNA of a brand. And since we’re all our own personal brands it’s a really fun exercise to open up the wheel and see where your personal brand falls. Personal truths and core values that would probably take many sessions of therapy for you to uncover will be revealed to you in the simple exercise of finding your own brand archetype. Try that, you’ll love it!

It’s an addictive exercise (I’ll get into the details in a minute), and try it out on friends, colleagues, and loved ones. It’ll help you glean a deeper understanding of who they are at their core.

Now, coming back to the business of advertising. The oft-abused and misused humble Creative has a brand archetype too. And here, I submit to you that our archetype is that of The Magician. But first, what is an archetype?

Analyzing the phenomenon

Famed psychoanalyst, Carl Jung championed the idea of archetypes as symbols and images that derive from the collective unconscious out of our individual instincts. Archetypes are an in-built unconscious knowledge, gleaned from the sum total of collective human experience that directs conscious behavior.

brand archetypes carl jung psychoanalyst
Image Source: Inside A Soul

In simple words, they’re the default settings in each of us, and there’s a set of twelve that exists. Just as it is an irrefutable truth that there are only seven types of stories (an essay for a later day), it is an irrefutable truth that there are twelve main archetypes. Every brand and individual falls under one of the twelve, knowingly or (as is the case most often) unknowingly.

The twelve brand archetypes are as follows:

  1. The Innocent: Stands for optimism, happiness, goodness, and youth. Think Coke.
  2. The Everyman: The faithful and down-to-earth one. Ikea and eBay come to mind.
  3. The Hero: Bold and inspirational, the Hero is on a mission to make the world a better place. Nike is the best example.
  4. The Rebel: Rulebreaker and questioner of authority, this one will settle for nothing less than revolution. Diesel jeans.
  5. The Explorer: Lives for the thrill of new experiences. Red Bull fits the bill.
  6. The Creator: Has the desire to build things of enduring value. Lego.
  7. The Ruler: Organized and responsible. British Airways.
  8. The Magician: This is the one that makes dreams a reality and struggles to create something truly special. This one is the visionary of the pack. Apple said it best with “Here’s to the crazy ones” (a staple on every fresh creative’s cubicle wall).
  9. The Lover: Craves romance and commitment. Beauty brands often fall here as do Chanel and Tiffany’s.
  10. The Caregiver: Selflessly cares for others and aims to protect. Unicef.
  11. The Jester: Irreverence, humor, mischief, fun. Old Spice.
  12. The Sage: The search for wisdom and truth with a capital ‘T’. Wikipedia.
brand archetypes
Image Source: Synergyzer

So, fellow Creative, my brother in arms, as you battle through the daily minefield of ideas being bludgeoned to death, think of yourself as a magician simply saying goodbye to a lame trick, always on the hunt for the next, better one … the one that’ll make jaws drop and eyes sparkle, and have them saying “How did she do that?!”.

What we do isn’t easy.

It requires the madness of a magician seeing the world in topsy-turvy ways, like looking at a rabbit and top hat and seeing instead the opportunity to shock and delight. So get that hat ready, pull up your magician’s sleeves, and practice, practice, practice ‘til you get that next trick just right’. Because who knows? It could be your best one yet.

Stay tuned to Synergyzer for more mind-boggling content!