I’m sure that almost everyone, who’s ever dealt with the branding process, has heard about the brand archetypes. The topic is quite actively discussed on different platforms, and there are millions of free brand archetype quizzes you can easily use to define which archetype is relevant for your business or your personality. It’s become a trend among branding specialists to exaggerate the brand archetypes related to their clients in their visual elements, product packaging, advertising campaigns, and public behavior if we talk about personal brands. And that’s not bad, because the more visible and touchable the archetype is, the easier the process of audience recognition might be.
But here come a couple of very sensitive moments:
1.You must be sure the archetype is correctly defined
If you are a business owner and you’ve been asked to take an archetype quiz, take it seriously. You may also invite some of your trusted guys from the top management to take a quiz too. Compare your results, discuss them, exchange your thoughts. It will help you all develop the common vocabulary for the next steps in your branding process. On the other hand, if you see that your results differ from those of your colleagues, it may give you some new insights into how others see the company from inside.
2. You must be totally honest with your audience, and explore your archetype, don’t just choose the one you find more attractive
If you are choosing an archetype for yourself, not exploring it, that might cost you the whole reputation of your business, audience awareness in general, and also the profit of your brand’s financial activity. Let’s not talk about companies much, I’d like to provide a small example of a very famous personal brand. I know that the army of ‘little monsters’ might strongly disagree, but I’ve got a feeling that we’ll never see the good old Gaga again. Before ‘The star is born’ the contradictory and very attractive image of a slightly insane genius was obvious, and would evoke strong feelings (love, admiration, disgust, or shock), but would never leave you indifferent. What happened in the film? We saw a very emotional, deep personality, but a bit ordinary, too real, and not extravagant at all. And after that, she releases ‘Stupid Love’. So whom to believe: the Mother of monsters or a romantic artist from the film?😒 Never cause a contradiction in the audience’s perception. Because if you are far from the archetype you would like to choose, simply don’t choose it. Be yourself. Because novelty, shock, and trends will fade away, beware of what you’ll be looking like in the end.
3. The archetype (or certain combination of archetypes) is a more or less stable notion, and every change of it has to be logical and appear due to inner changes in your business strategy or personality
The other issue is also about the change, but the genuine and a natural one. We grow older, our tastes, believes, and values change too. But be sure you are constant after the change and don’t just modify yourself according to the new trends. For example, I’d like to point to the other famous personal brand, Angelina Jolie. If you remember the start of her career, she was frankly too open, a bit too seductive, would play the roles of super feminine creatures, and have numerous love affairs. She was a pure Lover with some elements of Jester. But then after becoming a mum and starting her charity and altruistic activity all over the world, the image became calmer, the beauty is not that aggressive any more, and even the roles she plays are totally different. She’s more a Caregiver now. And what’s very important here, she is very consistent in her new archetype, and we believe her.
As for companies, we’ve seen a lot of examples of very successful rebranding cases, when the archetype evolved and found its new implementation in the brand attributes. Not vice versa, when a company changes a logo and tries to convince the audience it’s done due to the inner changes.
4. Pay attention to how comfortable you or your business feel inside the defined archetype
The implementation of the brand archetype is VERY important. How you translate it through your emotional filters and imagination is the key. If you look at the pictures below, you’ll find two different examples of the clown/joker image. The one to the right is more about a deep feeling of sadness, loneliness, the way she perceives herself in this world. At least, I think so. And the one to the left has a different message: a sort of challenge, cruelty, danger. So, if you found out the archetype of your personal brand was the Outlaw, don’t try to copy the style of Rammstein (music group) with their contradictory texts and aggressive behavior, if you are more like Joan of Arc or Greta Thunberg.
5. Be sure it’s easy for your audience to make an emotional connection with your archetype
The way of your archetype implementation, your voice and appearance strongly depend on your audience. It’s believed that the true value of arts in the eyes of the audience. So, no matter how extraordinary and original you, your product or your company are, it’s nothing without the audience recognition. The more understandable you are, the easier your path to the clients’ hearts is. But if you choose to remain those extravagant colorful and strange, be ready for the thorny path, full of paradoxes and misunderstandings in your relations with the audience, especially if they are still not ready for you. If you are that Malevich-style combination of Magician and Creator and your audience thinks in the same way, you are a lucky happy guy. But if you produce baby shampoo in the package with Kurt Cobain’s picture on it, I won’t say it’s nonsense, but be aware of how easy for your target audience is to understand you.
6. Think of how suitable the certain archetype is for the industry you represent, and how to make its implementation more customized and effective
Let’s go back to Nirvana-style baby shampoo. The issue is that all the industries have their own standards and permissible limits. Remember, if your opinion differs from what others expectations, be ready to provide your reasons to convince the audience. Again, beware of the short-term effect of shocking content. Think about how long the expiration period of your strange message is. Being yourself is quite an expensive thing. On the other hand, we live and work for our audience. If they don’t recognize you, your brand probably exists only in your head.
I hope, you enjoyed the topic. Waiting for your feedback. And I’m glad to announce that due to the high demand, short (4 sessions) course “Think like your audience” is again available for companies and individuals. Just send a DM on social media or book it directly from the site.
Lots of love,