Branding With Archetypes

branding with archetypes


Archetypes are psychological imprints that are hardwired into our psyches and the collective unconscious.

– Carl Jung



Archetypes are powerful forces in our individual psyches and the collective unconscious. Superstars, actors and politicians have achieved phenomenal success by embodying certain archetypes and you can too. In the competitive world of digital marketing, brands are finding ways to tap into archetypes to develop their identities.


Carl Jung

Early in the 20th century, Dr Carl Jung noticed a strong correlation between his patients’ dreams and the common archetypes of mythology, and suggested that both were coming from the collective unconscious of the human race. He concluded that archetypes are psychological imprints that are hardwired into our psyches and the collective unconscious.


Archetypes in Literature and Films

Many of these archetypes–rebels, jesters, lovers, explorers and innocents have appeared in literature and films.

  • The Jester: Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, Matthew Perry in Friends, Bugs Bunny
  • The Lover: Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind
  • The Rebel: Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
  • The Innocent: Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump
  • The Sage: Ian McKellen in Lord of the Rings, Emma Watson in Harry Potter, Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek, Yoda in Star Wars
  • The Explorer: Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, John Locke in Lost


Carol Pearson

Carol Pearson spent thirty (30) years developing a sound, psychological framework that integrated concepts from Jungian psychology and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and applied them to marketing. She uncovered the twelve major archetypes expressed most often in advertising and marketing.

In their classic book, The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes, Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson present their archetypal system of branding that provided powerful identities for many successful brands.


Archetypal Branding

Archetypal branding is a system for the management of meaning. An archetypal identity speaks directly to the deep psychic imprint within the customer, awakening a sense of recognition and meaning.

When you understand the archetypal power of your product, marketing becomes easier and more rewarding. Once you name your archetype, you can choose how to express it in your marketing strategies.

Mark and Pearson recommend that brand identities are best developed by identifying with one and only one archetype, because a brand identity needs to be simple and easy to recognise, if it is to be compelling.

The archetypes are:

  • The Innocent
  • The Explorer
  • The Sage
  • The Hero
  • The Outlaw
  • The Magician
  • The Regular Guy/Girl
  • The Lover
  • The Jester
  • The Caregiver
  • The Creator
  • The Ruler


Discovering your Brand Archetypal Identity

Discovering your brand archetypal identity can be difficult and expensive. Advertising agencies and graphic designers charge a premium price for this service and often get it wrong. Identifying your brand archetype from the list below, will save you time and money and connect you to your audience.


The Sage

Motto: The truth will set you free.

Aka: Expert. Mentor. Thinker.

The Magician

Motto: It can happen.

Aka: Visionary. Innovator. Shaman.

The Explorer

Motto: Don’t fence me in.

Aka: Adventurer. Seeker. Individualist.

The Lover

Motto: I only have eyes for you.

Aka: Sensualist. Connoisseur. Seducer.

The Jester

Motto: If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

Aka:  Trickster. Entertainer. Clown.

The Ruler

Motto: Power isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

Aka: Boss. Aristocrat. Politician.

The Hero

Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Aka: Warrior. Champion. Victor.

The Caregiver

Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself.

Aka:  Mother. Servant. Martyr.

The Outlaw

Motto: Rules are meant to be broken.

Aka:  Rebel. Revolutionary. Criminal.

The Creator

Motto: If it can be imagined, it can be created.

Aka:  Artist. Writer. Musician. Inventor. Designer.

The Innocent

Motto: Free to be you and me.

Aka: Pollyanna. Traditionalist. Mystic. Dreamer.

The Regular Guy/Girl

Motto: All men and women are created equal.

Aka: Everyman. Realist. Friend.


Brand Mentor Archetypes

Jonah Sachs, author of Winning the Story Wars: why those who tell – and live – the best stories will rule the future, developed some brand mentor archetypes to help you uncover an archetype that is how audiences see you when you’re at your best. The brand mentor archetypes are the pioneer, rebel, magician, jester, captain, defender, muse, architect, alchemist, oracle and healer.

There are many more archetypes like the activist, adventurer, advocate, angel, artist, athlete, caregiver, child, citizen, companion, detective, dreamer, engineer, entertainer, entrepreneur, gambler, generalist, guardian, hedonist, idealist, innovator, judge, liberator, matchmaker, maverick, mentor, networker and the orphan.

Some brand mentor archetypes I have developed are listed below.

The Wizard Entrepreneur

Transforming Time, Energy and Money

The Self-Love Alchemist

Illuminating Your Path to Freedom

Body Confidence for Everyday People

Get on Track

Master of Digital Culture

Awakening the Force for Good


You need to develop a brand archetype that resonates with your target market. When you are crystal clear about your identity, your purpose (your WHY), your target audience and the value you offer, you can attract an audience who loves your brand story and buys your products.

If you want to develop your personal brand archetype and/or your product brand archetype, email:


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