Archetypal branding

Sabrina Prioletta August 25, 2017

How a 19th century psychologist can help you leave your competition behind

Before Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of the new world, he was nothing but lost.

At a crucial point during his journey across the Atlantic Ocean his compass suddenly stopped working and didn’t point north anymore. With provisions running low and a crew that already started to question his leadership, a compass that was off by just a few degrees might be enough to set off a full-blown mutiny. With stakes that high, Columbus quietly fell back on the ancient way of navigating the sea–by referencing the North Star.

While it’s much easier to travel nowadays, leading a business during our fast-changing times can feel as uncertain as crossing an ocean towards an unknown goal.

Strategies that worked well yesterday can be devastatingly outdated today. But industry leaders have discovered a method as timeless and effective as navigating by the stars–at least when it comes to creating a brand. The same way Columbus used the North Star to guide him when everything else failed, you can use archetypes as guide towards creating your own brand.

What are archetypes?

When psychoanalyst C.G. Jung helped hundreds of clients at the beginning of the last century, he noticed conspicuous similarities in how their minds worked. He found forms and images of a collective nature seated deeply within their unconscious, shared by people all over the world and throughout human existence.

One of these images was the Hero. Whether presented as a knight in shining armor, an Amazon warrior or a modern-day athlete, the essence of the hero remains the same. It’s about setting a goal, working hard towards it and overcoming every obstacle in the way through sheer persistence; no matter if it’s rescuing a princess, protecting your tribe or winning gold at the Olympics. Nike has successfully embodied the Hero archetype in all their branding efforts over the years.

The Hero was just one of many mental imprints Jung took note of. Inspired for the Greek word for “primitive model”, he called them archetypes.

How archetypes help with branding

Archetypes are not limited to myths and stories we share. They also guide us when we take decisions throughout our lives, everything from big to small:

  • how we communicate
  • behaviours & attitudes we demonstrate
  • goals we set
  • careers we choose
  • people we surround ourselves with
  • movies we like
  • products we buy
  • and much more

The last point is of particular interest for businesses because archetypes wield a lot of power over our buying decisions. Global brands like Coca-Cola, Ikea, McDonald’s, or Apple to name a few, have applied this idea masterfully to sell anything from beverages to technology.

You don’t need to be a Fortune 100 to tap into the power of archetypes

The concept is so universal, the size of your marketing budget doesn’t matter as much as how well you target towards your customers. In much the same way as you can use GPS equipment to navigate, you can find your way intuitively by following the North Star–if you know how. And the secret tool is your brand DNA.

To learn about accessing your Brand DNA, discover your own archetype and how it can be used to:

  • communicate powerfully in your brand voice
  • rise above your competition
  • attract & retain customers aligned with your core values

In short, you’ll get insights & tools to distinguish your brand and grow your business – with a framework that can guide you, just like the North Star guided Columbus to the New World.

Discover Your Archetype