Breakout Branding with Archetypes

Have you heard about this thing called branding with archetypes?

What the heck is an archetype anyway? Why should you be branding with one?

Well, your branding (and marketing) is about to get a huge facelift. Your life is going to be more productive and focused. I promise.

I LOVE the brand archetype process because it is simple, yet really powerful.

Let's get real for a moment. Most business owners are NOT marketing experts.

Instead, you are forced to think about marketing because you need to sell stuff. Your stuff. Your brilliant services and useful products. In order to do that you need some knowledge of marketing. Whether you like it or not.

The typical marketing efforts made by most small business owners might include trying a bit of social media, creating a LinkedIn account, attending networking events, and asking people to refer you. One of these avenues might work really well, but the rest are probably just ok. You might create a Facebook post that gets a lot of attention one week and then nothing you do gains any traction for the rest of the month.

Sound familiar?

Branding with archetypes is about to change all that.

Why is Zeedia Media qualified to help with your branding? We have a separate website dedicated to Brand Archetypes. It is a tool that helps companies determine their archetype.

The rest of this article explains how to use the website to discover your brand.

What is an Archetype?

An archetype is a universally understood concept that invokes a powerful emotion.

In other words - it is a "thing" that every person on the planet understands in exactly the same way BECAUSE we are human. This "thing" is powerfully rooted in how we understand the world. Each archetype produces a specific emotion in us every time we think about it.


Wouldn't it be amazing if your brand produced a powerful emotion in people and they understood immediately why they should care about your company? Heck yes! (fist pump). This is what branding with archetypes is all about.

Here is an example: Think of the word MOTHER. The Mother Archetype

What are some adjectives you'd use to describe a typical mother?

Kind, caring, supportive, loving, nurturing, etc.

How do mothers make you feel? Loved, safe, warm, understood, etc.

Now, imagine traveling the world and asking the same question to different people in different countries (in their language, of course.) Everyone would use very similar words to describe a MOTHER.

Every person on earth understands the concept of a Mother. A mother is one of the 12 main archetypes. These main archetypes have been defined by Carl Jung (and other smart, brainy people) because they exist in all cultures all over the planet. There are more than 12 archetypes, but these are the main ones and therefore, the ones we start with.

The 12 Main Archetypes

Click each one for a deeper dive into that archetype.

The Mother

The Lover

The Jester

The Hero

The Outlaw

The Guru

The Neighbor

The Innocent

The Ruler

The Artist

The Magician

The Explorer

You can also hear podcasts on each one of these archetypes. Give 'em a listen.

Hmmm. Wondering which one you are? Let's find out!

Branding with Archetypes

When you pick an archetype to build your branding around (we'll get to how to do that in a moment) you become singularly focused on an emotion you want to invoke and an idea you want to convey. Nothing else matters in your marketing. This can be a huge relief to people who have been trying to "do it all" in their marketing or don't even know where to start.

Take Nike for example. I know, I use this example a lot, but Nike is arguably one of the most successful brands on the planet. The company almost never makes a brand mistake. Why? Because they have embraced THE HERO archetype fully and powerfully. Everything Nike does is about youth, vigor, sweating, achieving, moving JUST DO IT! RAH RAH.

All of their marketing is high-energy and they want you to feel like you can do anything if you wear their products. They are so good at this they don't even talk about their products in their ads anymore.

Think about it - When was the last time Nike mentioned something about their shoes? Do they talk about the quality of the stitching? The leather? The color choices? No. Because that is not what a HERO does. They don't talk about their customer service either - not HERO.


branding with archetypes

So, by choosing an archetype you instantly know what you ARE going to focus on in your marketing. Equally important, you install know what you are NOT going to focus on. This is powerful and freeing.

If you choose Hero and you need to create a new brochure for your company you ask yourself things like:

  • What types of images should I use?
  • What colors are Hero-like?
  • What is a good Hero font?
  • What words convey Hero-like feelings and qualities?

The amazing thing is that you already know the answers to these questions because you are human and you instinctively understand what a Hero is and what types of things demonstrate Hero-ness.

See, I promised your marketing was going to get easier.


Hand Slap Moment: The biggest brand mistake you can make is NOT choosing an archetype and not trying this way of branding. Many big national and international companies use this technique, but most small local businesses do not. If you do, you will already have a major advantage over your competition.


Choosing an Archetype

branding with archetypes 2

Sometimes a business owner will ask, "My company is in XYZ industry, so what archetype should I be?"

This is a valid question but one that I NEVER answer. All the archetypes are powerful in their own right and they can all be used in any industry for any type of company. It is how you embrace it that matters. I will offer this guidance though - If your company is in an industry that is dominated by one or two archetypes or your direct competitor is clearly one particular archetype DON'T pick that one.

Most insurance companies these days are The Jester (Aflac, Progressive, etc.) Is it because insurance is really boring so they have to make us laugh to pay attention? Probably. However, if you are a new insurance company in town I'd suggest you be anything BUT The Jester. You want to stand out from your competition - not blend in.


Which Archetype Are You?

There are a few different ways to choose an archetype and we have devised a step-by-step process that makes it quick and fun.

Sometimes people look at the list and one archetype very obviously fits with their company. Done and done.

More often it takes a bit more deciphering. If you have a team of people who are collaborating on this decision the following process will work really well.

Step One: Take the Brand Archetype Questionnaire.

Put your business hat on and answers the questions about your company. Your results will be given to you immediately and will list all 12 archetypes in order based on your answers. If you have a team of people, create your login for the system, and then inside the system send invites to your team. This way, all of your answers will be compiled in a handy chart and you can see how they compare.

Note: If you are a solopreneur or don't have a team to make this decision with you, it can be helpful to enlist a few people who can also take the questionnaire on your behalf. Your spouse, partner, best friend, parent, client, or someone who knows about your business. Different perspectives are always helpful. Being a business owner can be lonely. We need all the help we can get.

Step Two: Sign up for a Brand Discovery Session

After everyone has taken the questionnaire the next step is to participate in a Brand Discover session. This is a magical group brain-storming session led by one of our Zeedia Media mobsters.  This can be done in person or via zoom. It takes about 2 hours. We will lead your group through different aspects of your business like culture, clients, products and services, future endeavors, competition, etc. Lots of words will be thrown around. We categorize them. We color-code them. We talk about them. Magic does really happen. At the end of this session, almost always, an archetype reveals itself.

Step Three: Decide on an Archetype

At the end of the session, it is often obvious. Sometimes it's not. A common dilemma is trying to decide between two different archetypes. Your team may need time to think about it and discuss it further. It is possible to pick two or combine two archetypes into a hybrid. We can discuss how this is done if your team is stuck here.

Step Four: Infuse Your New Archetype Into Everything You Do

Now the real fun begins - Branding with archetypes! You can do this on your own or work with Zeedia Media to help.

You will need to look at every aspect of your brand and determine if it is aligned with your new archetype. Start with brand elements such as your logo, color palette, fonts, etc. You may need to just tweak here and there or undergo a major overhaul. Some businesses even choose to change their name after picking an archetype.

There is a process to this re-brand and an order that makes sense. It is usually done over the course of 3-6 months. It can be a bit overwhelming to think about it, but we have a plan that implements the changes in a way that can fit with your timeline and budget.

The reassuring news is that from day one of using your new archetype your brand is already better.

Ready to get started?


Let us know what you discover. Which one did you choose? Contact us if you need help deciding.



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