There are 12 classic archetypes. These cover the spectrum, from those that convey comfort to others to those that create excitement. Choosing the right archetype for your business is essential. But first, review the classic archetypes and understand their role in creating a deep connection with their target market.
 

The Innocent

Goal: To be happy
Traits: Strives to be good, is pure, young, optimistic, simple, moral, romantic, loyal
Drawback: Could be naïve or boring
Marketing niche: Companies with strong values, seen as trustworthy, reliable and honest, associated with morality, good virtues, simplicity, can be nostalgic
Example: Dove soap, Coca-Cola, Cottonelle bathroom tissue
 

The Regular Guy or Gal

Goal: To belong, or connect with others
Traits: Down to earth, supportive, faithful, folksy, person next door, connects with others
Drawback: Could lack a distinctive identity and blend in too much
Marketing niche: Common touch, solid virtues, gives a sense of belonging
Example: Home Depot, eBay
 

The Hero

Goal: Help to improve the world
Traits: Courageous, bold, honorable, strong, confident, inspirational
Drawback: Could be arrogant or aloof
Marketing niche: Make a positive mark on the world, solve major problems or enable/inspire others to do so
Example: Nike, BMW, Duracell
 

The Outlaw

Goal: Break the rules and fight authority
Traits: Rebellious, iconoclastic, wild, paving the way for change
Drawback: Could take it too far and be seen in a negative way
Marketing niche: Agent of change, advocate for the disenfranchised, allow people to vent or break with conventions
Example: Harley-Davidson, Virgin (Richard Branson)
 

The Explorer

Goal: Finds fulfillment through discovery and new experiences
Traits: Restless, adventurous, ambitious, individualistic, independent, pioneering
Drawback: Might not fit into the mainstream
Marketing niche: Exciting, risk-taking, authentic
Example: Indiana Jones, Jeep, Red Bull
 

The Creator

Goal: Create something with meaning and enduring value
Traits: Creative, imaginative, artistic, inventive, entrepreneur, non-conformist
Drawback: Could be perfectionistic or impractical 
Marketing niche: Visionary, help customers express or create, and foster their imagination
Example: Lego, Crayola
 

The Ruler

Goal: Control, create order from chaos
Traits: Leader, responsible, organized, role model, administrator
Drawback: Could lack a common connection, or be too authoritative or controlling 
Marketing niche: Help people become more organized, restore order, create more stability and security in a chaotic world
Example: Microsoft, Barclays, Mercedes-Benz
 

The Magician

Goal: Make dreams come true, create something special
Traits: Visionary, charismatic, imaginative, idealistic, spiritual
Drawback: Could take risks that lead to bad outcomes
Marketing niche: Help people transform their world, inspire change, expand consciousness
Example: Disney, Wizard of Oz, Apple
 

The Lover

Goal: Create intimacy, inspire love
Traits: Passionate, sensual, intimate, romantic, warm, committed, idealistic
Drawback: Could be too selfless or not grounded enough
Marketing niche: Help people feel appreciated, belong, connect, enjoy intimacy, build relationships
Example: Victoria’s Secret, Godiva Chocolate, Marie Claire
 

The Caregiver

Goal: To care for and protect others
Traits: Caring, maternal, nurturing, selfless, generous, compassionate
Drawback: Being taken advantage of, taken for granted, or exploited
Marketing niche: Help people care for themselves, serve the public through health care, education or aid programs
Example: Mother Theresa, Campbell’s Soup, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz
 

The Jester

Goal: To bring joy to the world
Traits: Fun, sense of humor, light-hearted, mischievous, irreverent
Drawback: Could be seen as frivolous or disrespectful
Marketing niche: Help people have a good time or enjoy what they are doing, allow people to be more impulsive and spontaneous
Example: Motley Fool, Ben & Jerry’s, IKEA
 

The Sage

Goal: To help the world gain wisdom and insight
Traits: Knowledgeable, trusted source of information, wisdom and intelligence, thoughtful, analytical, mentor, guru, advisor
Drawback: Could be overly contemplative or too opinionated 
Marketing niche: Help people to better understand the world, provide practical information and analysis
Example: BBC, PBS, Google, Philips
 

Game Plan

Review these archetypes and consider what might be most appropriate to apply to your business.
 
Next steps:
 
  • Study the best examples of brands that apply archetypes well. Do you identify with any of them? Which archetype is your company most like?
  • Thoughtfully consider your company‚Äôs image and how your customers interact with, think of and feel about your company to determine the most suitable and compelling archetype.
  • These articles provide detailed descriptions of the 12 archetypes. Read them and consider how you might apply one to create a compelling archetype for your brand.
     
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