Archetypal Branding

united colors of archetypes

Archetypal branding is the process of applying archetypes to brands and mastering the art of storytelling to bring them to light.
Depending on the underlying archetypes, the brand's story takes a unique twist - the archetypal story that makes the brand unforgettable.

Carol S Pearson  best known as an expert on the applications of myth, archetypes, and narrative to contemporary life and work has proven highly influential in the structuring of the archetypal branding process (archetypal-branding).

Archetypal core characters have been relating across time and culture to specific roles.The most widely accepted, heavily researched and at the origins identified  by  Carl Jung (archetypal figures and the collective unconscious), are

  • CREATOR – expression and imagination oriented
  • SAGE – truth and knowledge oriented
  • EXPLORER – experience and discovery oriented
  • INNOCENT – faith and virtue oriented
  • OUTLAW – challenge oriented
  • HERO – action and achievement oriented
  • MAGICIAN – change and transformation oriented
  • JESTER – fun and humor oriented
  • REGULAR GUY – belonging and reality oriented
  • LOVER – love and emotion oriented
  • CAREGIVER – nurturing and safety oriented
  • RULER – stability and control oriented

The selection of an archetype is not an top-down exercise from top to bottom, but the result of a delicate questioning in a holistic process: 

It is the result of strategic choices

  • in dealing with the brand as it used to be perceived,
  • in visualizing how the brand should be perceived
  • in ensuring that the brand is backed up with consistent attributes and differentiating talents
  • in making sure that the brand delivers on both functional and emotional benefits
  • in capturing the brand core essence
  • in identifying the most authentic tone of voice that helps stand out and establish trust, respect by expressing the brand  contribution to customers’ business and stating on its values and culture

Here there is no good or bad archetype, but only an inner structure that reflects the way the brand

  • behaves,
  • claims on own contributions,
  • puts values and beliefs into action,
  • engages with others.

Very much linked to the aligned archetypal personality traits , the brand tone of voice

  • figures out who the brand is
  • what it stands for
  • what it believes in
  • how it speaks to peers, customers, shoppers, users
  • how it engage with those target audiences on purpose
  • helps stand out in the dip of competing voices
  • establishes trust & respect whilst expressing the brand contribution to customers’ business 

Think of carbonated soft drinks: Coca Cola and Red bull are selling two different stories: one as Innocent, the other as Jester.
Think of cars:  Mercedes-Benz and Tesla are selling two different stories: one as Sage, the other as  Creator.
Think of US presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama :  one as Outlaw, one as Sage

Once you are done, you can start think about an inbound marketing campaign . Here some inputs to have things happen properly 

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Archetypal branding methodology aims at embracing step-by-step and comprehensively the challenges, issues identified upfront. The process is therefore split into four steps

  • Transparency Phase
  • Kick-off Workshop with Brand Owners Team
  • Design Phase
  • Alignment Phase

The holistic approach is facts-based and requires accurate preparation upfront 1) to process information related to the business model, the brand performance “as is” versus peers, 2) to identify the gaps to be closed, 3) to assess the ability to win, 4) to come up with actionable recommendations.

By purpose regular stage gate meetings are scheduled to achieve full alignment on status quo, next steps and finalized winning strategy. 


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