Archtypes and Brands

Effective marketing means linking the deepest motivations of consumers with product meaning. And this link comes from an understanding of archetypes. An archetypal product identity when created (examples are Nike –Hero, Starbucks- Explorer) speaks directly to the psyche of the consumer sparking a meaning. The most successful movies all exemplify classic archetypal stories. Even personalities hold the imagination of the public as in Diana Spencer or Jackie Kennedy. Kennedy. They all evoked an archetype- lover, innocent or hero.

Psychologist Jung first spoke of a collective unconscious, shared by the entire human race, manifesting itself in forms or images of a collective nature that occur practically all over the earth as part of myths. You could call it your “psychic inheritance.” There are in all 12 archetypes and are characterized by 4 consumer motivations;

Motivation Stability & Belonging & Risk & Independence
Control Enjoyment Mastery & Fulfillment

Archetypes Creator Jester Hero Innocent
Caregiver Regular Guy Outlaw Explorer
Ruler Lover Magician Sage

Marketers have used these archetypes successfully for brand building.

Innocent/ Exploarer/ Sage: We all have some recollection when the perfect, good life seemed possible and we are all forever seeking this ideal place.
The three archetypes provide different strategies for this pursuit of fulfillment.

The Innocent is like the lovely little child still believing it is possible to live in paradise right now.
Many brands appeal implicitly to the Innocent by promising a predictable rescue from and imperfect world; dandruff free hair (Clinic shampoo), soap as pure and unblemished as a child’s skin ( Pears). As life is becoming more complex the appeal of this archetype is growing.
Coca Cola is an Innocent masterpiece, even the slogan “Coke is the real thing” suggests the emphasis within the archetype on honesty and authenticity.

The Explorer, on the other hand, goes out seeking a better world. Traditionally coffee has been a Caregiver product, Starbucks created a compelling Explorer coffee brand by emphasizing the exotic quality of coffee as an import from foreign lands. And Starbucks is everywhere. It has teamed with airlines and ferries emphasizing the Explorer theme, and with Barnes & Noble bookstores where young come to explore new ideas.
The Sage has his own way of finding Paradise. They believe in the growth of mankind to create a better world. Economic Times, Oprah Winfrey, and Barnes and Noble are good examples of The Sage archetype.

The Hero/ Outlaw/ Magician; These are often fearless people who realize their own special power and go on to take great personal risks in order to change their reality.

The Hero wants to make the world a better place. Distinctive hero brands are Nike and the Red Cross.

The Outlaw is driven by the search for his identity outside the establishement. They break rules and are disruptive. In every generation, adolescents flock to Outlaw products. MTV and Harley Davidson have used this archetype to create a cult following.
The Magician has the desire to search out the fundamental laws of how things work and to apply these principles to getting things done. Entrepreneurs are often Magicians as are athletes. MasterCard has a memorable ad campaign featuring magical moments.

The Regular Guy, Lover, Jester; From time immemorial, people’s desire to connect, interact and belong has been a primal urge. Brands that are embodiments of these archetypes are powerful because they express likability, popularity and connectedness.
The Regular Guy triggers behaviour that allows us to fit in a group and place a value on all people. Bata, Maruti 800, Times of India newpaper all evoke this archetype.

The Lover helps us in becoming attractive to others and also helps us to develop skills of emotional and sexual intimacy. Lakme, Nirma beauty soaps, jewellery adverising tap into this emotion.

The Jester teaches us to lightern up, live in the moment and enjoy interacting with others. The Jester’s willingness to break rules makes for a good brand identity for things like fun foods that are not necessarily good for you. Lays chips, Cadbury chocolates, McDonald’s etc. Pepsi is the classic Jester brand poking fun at the leader Coca Cola.

The Caregiver, Creator, Ruler; Man’s need for stability and control finds expression in these archetypes.

The Caregiver is moved by compassion, generosity and a desire to help others. ICICI bank, Surf, Vicks Voporub embody this archetype.
Creator brands are inherently nonconformist. The Creator is about self expression. Magazines such as Femina, New Woman bring information about grooming, cooking, decorating that help women recreate themselves.

The Ruler knows that the best thing to do to avoid chaos is to take control. Gaining and maintaining power is therefore a primary motivation. Most brands in male product categories use this archetype. Think, cars, alcohol, clothes, cigarettes etc.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment