Use Archetypes for Brand Positioning

This is a blog by Mark Verzijl, Consultant at Sciential.

Brand archetypes are a representation of your brand as a persona based on human desires and values. Once a complex psychological theory conceived by Carl Gustav Jung, archetypes are nowadays used as a persona tool for brands in a simplified manner. Although psychological foundations are missing in contemporary usage, brand archetypes are still helpful tools to position your brand. Both internally and externally.

Archetypes are extremely effective for positioning. For instance, life science companies can position themselves as a Hero, to highlight their discipline, skills and courage. These brands want to attract performance-driven and output-minded clients with a full focus on winning. Quite the opposite, other LS&H companies will position themselves as Caregiver – an archetype centred around helping and supporting their customers and clients (servant leadership). Other companies brand themselves as market leader (Ruler) or out-of-the-box challenger (Outlaw).

The way you position your brand is a direct reflection of the clients, customers and applicants you want to attract. The brand archetype is an ideal instrument to choose brand direction and distinguish yourself from your competition in order to stand out. Each archetype should then be reflected in your written and visual communication. Your brand colours, logo, tone of voice and content but also your employees, services/products and market segments – each touchpoint should be a reflection of your brand archetype.

In its contemporary form, there are 12 brand archetypes that each hold a set of characteristics. Furthermore, archetypes can be plotted on quadrants freedom vs structure and individual vs social to group and distinct archetypes. Typically, I use the archetype-value bridge of archetypical categorization (DM for more information) but there are also other models to use.


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