Coke inspires. Patagonia awakens the explorer and begs us to experience the natural world. Victoria’s Secret evokes the seductive lover when we buy sexy lingerie. Nike fuels greatness, and charity: water makes us want to donate our birthday money to help change lives.
To the casual consumer, the power that some brands hold seems like a mystery or stroke of luck. The force behind the world’s most influential brands is actually a science–an intentional positioning strategy grounded in years of psychological research. When you find yourself loyal to your favorite brands and inspired by new ones, you’re subconsciously forging a connection with that brand’s archetype. A brand archetype is a personification of a brand on a human level.
According to Dr. Carol Pearson, a leadership consultant, speaker and author, there are 12 individual brand archetypes, and each of them is associated with specific motivations, values, drivers and attributes.
The 12 archetypes are:
- The Caregiver is moved by compassion, generosity and selflessness to help and serve others. e.g. – Campbell’s, Johnson & Johnson and TOMS shoes.
- The Every Person believes in the inherent worth and dignity of all–expecting very little from life but committed to teaching through empathy, realism and street smarts. e.g. – Gap, Habitat for Humanity and Trader Joe’s.
- The Hero is tough and courageous, overcomes tremendous obstacles and persists in difficult times. They are most fulfilled when they can rise to or overcome a challenge. e.g. – Nike, Robert Irvine and the U.S. Army.
- The Innocent is a spontaneous, trusting child who always sees the bright side of a situation and is able to maintain an optimistic, spontaneous, trusting outlook. e.g. – Charmin, Avon and Hello Kitty.
- The Explorer moves past the known to explore new, uncharted territories. When crowds go one way, explorers choose a completely different path, embracing the journey rather than the destination. e.g. – The North Face, Subaru and Starbucks.
- The Rebel embodies rage about structures that no longer serve, even when these structures are supported by societies and our conscious choices. Rebels are rule breakers and catalysts for change. e.g. – Harley Davidson, Virgin and Diesel.
- The Lover lives to experience pleasure, achieve intimacy and follow bliss. e.g. – Victoria’s Secret, BMW and Godiva.
- The Creator fosters imaginative endeavors, aiming to express and turn away from mediocrity. e.g. – HGTV, Canon and Lego.
- The Jester lives to have a good time, making the most mundane experiences something fun. e.g. – GEICO, Taco Bell and Skittles.
- The Sage seeks the truths that will set us free in seeing the world objectively and providing course-corrective solutions based on objective analysis of our actions and choices. e.g. – Wikileaks, Oprah and The Wall Street Journal.
- The Magician seeks out the fundamental laws of science and metaphysics to understand how to transform situations, influence people, and transform visions into reality. e.g. – TED, Disney and SpaceX.
- The Ruler inspires us to take responsibility for our own lives in our society and in the world at large by creating environments that invite gifts and perspectives of all concerned. e.g. – Rolex, Rolls Royce and American Express.