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Why every Startup should know their Brand Archetype


Why every Startup should know their Brand Archetype

Although the term brand archetype might seem to be the preserve of well known businesses and corporations, regardless of business’s size, it is an important concept to start thinking about early on. It is simply impossible to build a strong brand that will differentiate you from your competition without first defining a strong and singular brand personality. The idea of a brand archetype can be thought of as a template to achieving this.

The concept of a brand archetype was adopted from the ideas of prominent twentieth-century psychologist, Carl Jung. Jung theorised that the reason why so many characters in stories and films feel instantly familiar to us is because they’re all part of a shared ‘collective unconscious’. So too do brand archetypes feed into this idea of instantly identifiable character traits.

Although a word of warning: many brand archetypes may not necessarily translate to other cultures and countries, so if you are running a global business, then it pays to understand the cultural context into which you are introducing your brand archetype.

Let’s look now then, at the 12 brand archetypes…

The Sage

Role: The Teacher, The Scholar, The Investigator

Ambition: To seek knowledge and share it with the world.

Traits: Celebrates curiosity, finds fulfilment in contemplating complex issues.

Sage Brands: National Geographic, the BBC and Google seek to contribute to their audience’s understanding of the world without appearing condescending or arrogant.

The Magician

Role: The Visionary, The Wizard, The Healer

Ambition: To develop a clear vision that will transform dreams into reality.

Traits: Charismatic, inventive, makes the impossible possible.

Magician Brands: Disney, Intel, Dyson form and maintain meaningful connections with their audiences, and demonstrate a keen desire to deliver positive experiences every time.

The Hero

Role: The Champion, The Warrior, The Achiever

Ambition: To improve the world with their unique skill sets.

Traits: With a determination to make their mark on the world, Hero brands want to prove their worth and enhance the lives of their audience.

Hero Brands: Duracell, Airbus, Nike and Adidas are leaders within their respective fields and consistently outperform their competition.

The Caregiver

Role: The Nurturer, The Parent, The Advocate

Ambition: To help, protect, and care for others.

Traits: Driven by an altruistic need to provide protection and care to those who need it.

Caregiver Brands: SMA, Pampers, Volvo, and Johnson’s Baby create narratives with an emotionally driven and heartfelt core.

The Explorer

Role: The Pioneer, The Adventurer, The Trailblazer

Ambition: To find and experience new things and lead a fulfilling and authentic life.

Traits: Celebrating ambition, valuing freedom, keen to help their audience grow and flourish.

Explorer Brands: Land Rover, GoPro, The North Face, and Lonely Planet encourage their audiences to step outside of their comfort zones and seek out new and exciting experiences.

The Revolutionary

Role: The Rebel, The Game Changer, The Outlaw

Ambition: To disrupt the everyday, and revolutionise and improve what is not currently working.

Traits: Energetic and free-spirited, Revolutionary archetypes are inspirational alternatives to mainstream brands.

Revolutionary Brands: Jack Daniel’s, Vans, and Harley Davidson have cultivated loyal audiences precisely by thinking outside the box.

The Lover

Role: The Seducer, The Sensualist, The Dreamer

Ambition: To celebrate the beauty and joy in life, and to make people feel special.

Traits: With a passionate streak, Lover brands value intimacy, pleasure, and aren’t afraid to champion indulgence.

Lover Brands: Chanel, Lindt, and Victoria’s Secret are glamourous, mysterious, and maintain a keen focus on how their audiences feel.

The Creator

Role: The Visionary, The Artisan, The Innovator

Ambition: To perfect a unique artistic capability to realise a specific vision to the highest possible standard.

Traits: Driven by an insatiable desire to create and produce innovative inventions that will endure, Creator brands get a kick out of making things happen.

Creator Brands: Apple, Lego, Adobe, and Canon help their customers succeed in their creative and artistic endeavours.

The Ruler

Role: The Leader, The Role Model, The Conductor

Ambition: To channel their authority to develop a successful and prosperous community.

Traits: With a unique ability to create positive outcomes from even the most chaotic of situations, Ruler brands are the authoritative voices leading their fields.

Ruler Brands: John Lewis, Microsoft, and American Express celebrate affluence, and encourage their audiences to aspire to more.

The Innocent

Role: The Optimist, The Cheerleader, The Dreamer

Ambition: To maintain a positive outlook and to always do things correctly.

Traits: With purity and wholesomeness, Innocent brands say what they mean and mean what they say, without any double meanings or hidden agendas.

Innocent Brands: Original Source and Innocent Smoothies are sincere and align their messaging with their mindful audiences.

The Jester

Role: The Comedian, The Trickster, The Fool

Ambition: To have fun, live in the moment, and not take things too seriously.

Traits: Original with a distinctly playful and carefree nature.

Jester Brands: Skittles, Money Supermarket, Doritos and Netflix aren’t scared to bend a few rules and encourage their audiences to seek out fun and enjoyable experiences.

The Everyman

Role: The Friend, The Realist, The Democrat

Ambition: To fit in and hone virtues that resonate with like-minded and down-to-earth audiences.

Traits: Dependable and relatable, Everyman brands are unpretentious, and treat their customers as equals.

Everyman Brands: PG Tips and Carling are audience-focused, honest, and want every one of their customers to feel like the everyday heroes of their own lives.


It pays to think about what kind of brand archetype your business falls into. Whilst in the early days of growing your business, when sales and the bottom line are your prime focus, it might seem premature or even irrelevant to start thinking of the type of personality you wish to project. However, it can really pay to start thinking about the type of brand you want to grow early on. Forging a distinctive and relatable brand identity is essential in building trust and a company that people immediately associate with.

As you begin to grow your business into a brand, having a brand archetype will give you a template to follow, keeping your content consistent and relatable to your target market.

For a more detailed look at brand archetypes, check out our blog post on the subject.


About the Author:  Evelyn Timson is the Managing Director of UK video production agency, Aspect Film & Video. She has years of experience working with some of the world’s most recognisable brands like Samsung, Investec, Admiral Insurance, Adidas TaylorMade & Slimming World. You can connect with Aspect on Facebook or Twitter or see a selection of their award winning work on their YouTube Channel.

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I am the founder of Startup Today. I am the main writer and have put in many hours of work into creating this blog. If you want to find out more about me then lets get in contact.

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