The notion of archetypes was first developed by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung in the 1940s. According to Jung, archetypes are themes which have universal meanings across cultures, and are part of our collective unconscious. Fast forward to today and you'll see similar archetypes in the world of marketing and business branding. Business archetypes can help you better define your audience, fine-tune your niche, and influence the way you market your business.
The 12 business archetypes
Below you'll find a brief description of each of the 12 business archetypes, its personality and some well-known example brands.
As you read through them, consider which represents the essence of your business / brand the most. If you find that you relate to more than one personality, you may want to consider aligning your business towards just one archetype, in order to increase the focus and congruence of your brand.
1. The Sage
The Sage is truth-seeking, educated and aware. This is a wise, intelligent and knowledgeable business archetype.
Sage archetypes are rigorous researchers and reject misleading messaging and ignorance. They are driven by the desire for truth and knowledge, and encourage their customers to think for themselves.
Sages collect and present reliable information. They don't necessarily innovate. Instead, they share knowledge with a quiet sense of authority - they don't make any loud or crass marketing statements.
A business modelled on the Sage archetype is authoritative, full of case studies, research, demonstrative articles and guides.
Examples: Hubspot, Moz, BBC, Google, The Economist
2. The Innocent
Happiness through simplicity is the utopia for the Innocent. Businesses of the Innocent archetype are faithful, optimistic, minimalistic and zen-like. They have a naivety and sense of pureness about them.
Transparency is vital, and anything unnecessary in a product or service is usually removed. Innocent businesses look for simple solutions and enjoy creating happy, stress-free and optimistic products and services for their customers.
Examples: Dove, McDonald's, Innocent Smoothies, Coca Cola
3. The Explorer
If you like to push boundaries, create experiences, and continually seek out new things, you will relate to The Explorer business archetype.
Explorers are seen as trailblazers and pioneers who seek out new opportunities and possibilities. They are courageous and adventurous. They create services, products and offers that push boundaries, help people feel free and nonconformist. They enjoy providing support to fellow adventurers who seek out the extraordinary.
Examples: Tesla, The North Face, GoPro, Land Rover, Lonely Planet
4. The Ruler
Ruler brands are prestigious and high-end. They exude power and influence, and provide products and services that create a sense of authority, success and supremacy.
Rulers are leaders in their industry. Their philosophy is to be exclusive and to be the best. They thrive on control and influence, and dislike chaos.
Examples: Rolex, Rolls Royce, American Express
5. The Creator
Creators are visionaries who value authenticity, artistic expression and individuality. They provide products and services that help others turn their creative ideas into reality.
Creators invoke a sense of boundless possibilities of what you can do with their products and services. The sky's the limit!
Examples: Pinterest, Etsy, Lego, Adobe, Apple
6. The Caregiver
Caregivers help, protect and nurture others. Loyal customers of Caregiver brands value the safety and security promised to them.
These are the businesses that take care of society, the planet and anything else that captures their interest. They are compassionate, kind and selfless. But they're not to be mistaken with the Innocent.
Caregivers love building groups and communities around their brands. They have a competitive edge due to the nature of their focus - to care.
Examples: UNICEF, Salvation Army, Pampers, Fairy, World Wild Fund For Wildlife
7. The Magician
Magicians make dreams come true and problems disappear. They create products and services that amaze us. Nothing seems to be impossible to them, and they'll make the impossible achievable for their customers.
Businesses who demonstrate the 'wow' factor are likely to be modelled on the Magician business archetype. You'll find visionaries behind many Magician business brands including entrepreneurs, entertainers and inventors.
Examples: Disney, Red Bull, Dyson, Gorilla Glue
8. The Hero
Heroes are the epitome of courage, strength, perseverance, mastery and competence. They save people through self-mastery. Hero businesses are the ones that inspire people through self-belief and personal transformation. Their motto is, "Where there's a will, there's a way."
Hero businesses often position themselves as the good guys amongst their competitors. They stand up to the bad guys in their industry and defend the underdog.
Examples: Nike, FedEx, Duracell, Red Cross
9. The Outlaw
Also called The Rebel, these guys are the rule breakers and the anarchists. They are daring, exciting and intoxicating. Outlaw businesses create products and services that invoke a sense of freedom and rebellion for its customers. Outlaws don't follow the crowd; they push their industry boundaries and have a revolutionary attitude.
Examples: Harley Davidson (of course!), Diesel, Virgin
10. The Lover
Beauty, attraction, commitment, intimacy, sensuality and passion are the key buzzwords for the Lover. Oh, how the Lovers adore indulging the senses in every way possible!
Lovers will bare their skin, their soul, and their heart to consume you. The Lover business archetype focuses on becoming an all-encompassing and captivating cushion of sensuality for their customers.
Examples: Jo Malone, Chanel, Hotel Chocolat, Victoria's Secret, Godiva
11. The Jester
Jesters bring humour, laughter and fun to their customers. They remind us to stop being so serious, and love to joke and prank around.
Jesters are never boring, and are not afraid of appearing silly or making fun of themselves. They bring a sense of fun and joy, and often have a quirky take on the world.
Brand examples: M&Ms, Skittles, Mailchimp, Dollar Shave Club, Ben & Jerry's
12. The Everyman
Solid salt of the earth people are the epitome of The Everyman. They know their values, strengths, weaknesses and they stand by them. They're down to earth and know their place in society. Their marketing campaigns focus on common daily activities and routines. Their overarching message is: There's nothing wrong with being normal.
Everyman businesses are no-nonsense, unpretentious and humble. They provide carefully considered products or services combined with traditional values, and they usually stay in business for a very long time.
Examples: Budweiser, Ikea, PG Tips, Visa