Almost every consistent brand can be linked to one or two archetypes – a brand typology rooted in the psychological framework created by Carl Jung at the beginning of the 20th century. We explained what they are and why they are more popular than other brand classifications in the previous post.
There are 12 different archetypes, all of which can be used to personify a brand. In part 1, we looked at the boldest, most powerful and self-confident archetypes: the Ruler, the Hero and the Outlaw. In part 2, we examine three completely different archetypes – the Caregiver, the Innocent and the Regular Guy. Brands based on these archetypes have distinct identities but share some similarities. They all come across as warm and human, don’t try to be better than others (or at least don’t use it as a point in their brand strategy) and build soft and gentle brand stories.
So what are the key differences and main characteristics of each archetype?
Caregiver brands’ narrative is about supporting and nurturing others and caring for their well-being. They create a perception of unselfishness and open-heartedness, and, in this way, build reassurance and trust. Almost all baby care brands are based on this archetype, which not coincidentally, also functions under a different name – the Mother.
A textbook example of a Caregiver brand is Nivea. When many other care and beauty brands, in order to stay relevant, focus on innovation and expertise, Nivea prides itself on using the same basic product formula, which cares for skin and protects it, for more than 100 years. Nivea has spent years building up a unique and consistent brand, creating such associations as gentleness, warmth, closeness, softness, and care.
A less obvious example of a Caregiver brand is Starbucks. By many publications, Starbucks is considered an Explorer brand, but aside from the name and the green colour in the logo, there are no Explorer traits in its equity – Starbucks’s brand strategy is not about discovery and exploration. The company markets its locations as warm, welcoming and cosy places, in an attempt to make Starbucks a “third place” – somewhere for people to spend time in between home and work. Its mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit” and its messaging revolves around inclusiveness, warmth and nurturing relationships.
Innocent brands want to be perceived as pure, simple and optimistic and portray the world around them as a happy place. Although they might sound delicate and un-competitive, some of the brands built on this archetype are the most powerful companies in the world, with the most famous examples being McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola’s brand strategy for decades has been based on the same pillars: taste and refreshment on the functional level and happiness and inclusiveness on the emotional one. Coca-Cola impersonates a happy, idyllic world, where everyone is joyful. Although the brand has changed its communication strategy, moving from “Open Happiness” to more product-driven “Taste the Feeling”, its ideology remained consistent – Coca-Cola is still an Innocent brand revolving around happiness.
Another example of a brand falling into the Innocent category is Corona. Corona has built its brand equity around associations with the summer, picturesque sunsets, white sand and tropical beaches (the beach state of mind). The idea of enjoying a tranquil atmosphere with friends on the beach while drinking Corona is a key part of the beer’s brand strategy, giving off connotations of paradise and a carefree life.
Brands in the Regular Guy archetype aim to be on the same level as the consumer, treat them as equals and express traits of unpretentiousness and humbleness in their brand strategy. Regular Guy brands integrate themselves as part of the community, and don’t try to be outlandish or outstanding.
Ikea grasped the concept of the Regular Guy archetype like no other brand. Its communication celebrates the beauty of everyday life and demonstrates that it can be experienced by anyone. The Regular Guy archetype is engrained in the origins of Ikea, with the company’s founder Ingvar Kamprad – a frugal, yet hugely successful man, well known for driving second hand cars and wearing clothes from flea markets.
A less-known example of a Regular Guy brand is Jack Daniel’s. The company’s campaigns portray Jack Daniel as a local, down-to-earth man and his employees as well-skilled but the “buddy” type of guys. The brand never takes itself too seriously, makes multiple references to collaboration, friends and family and features strong elements of familiarity and authenticity – “Even as the seasons change, Jack remains”.
In the next article, we’ll go from the warm and gentle archetypes to the contributors and creators – brands that want to bring something valuable to the table – knowledge, innovation or fun. These are the Sage, the Creator and the Jester.
Read part 3.
For more examples of brands based on different types of archetypes, go to BrandStruck, where each brand strategy analysis has at least one archetype assigned to it.
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Magda Adamska is the founder of BrandStruck.
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