How do you attract your ideal customer? Your brand needs a personality. At Lioncastle, we use a system called Brand Archetypes to make sure the brands we develop feel authentic and realistic. The idea is to apply both strengths (to be attractive) and weaknesses (to be relatable) to the brand while making sure the strengths/weaknesses are consistent with the customers’ experiences.
The 12 main archetypes come from psychology: Caregiver, Citizen, Creator, Explorer, Hero, Innocent, Jester, Lover, Magician, Rebel, Sage, and Sovereign. Here is a list with some more detail on each.
As an example, let’s imagine a health drink company that we’ll call GreenDrink. The best way to sort out what archetype is best for GreenDrink is to start with who they want to attract and what motivates those people. In the case of GreenDrink, they want to help the average person to live a little bit healthier. Their target customers are going after a better life, but aren’t crazy about health. They’re not the kind of people that make kale smoothies every day. They just want to occasionally drink a healthy drink and feel good about themselves.
Let’s go back to the list. So far, we can rule out a few possibilities. We can’t go with Rebel, Sovereign, or Hero because those three archetypes tend to be more driven towards revolution, control, and mastery (respectively), and those don’t fit the profile we’ve built so far. There isn’t any archetype that stands out as a perfect fit yet, so we have to get more detailed on the customer profile.
GreenDrink’s marketing team thinks more about their ideal customers and decides that they’re the kind of people who love trying new things. They’re carefree and resistant to routine.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Explorer sounds perfect:
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The explorer is also known as: The seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.
So now that we have an archetype, how do we apply it? As I said at the start, the goal is to use the strengths to attract and the weaknesses to relate. For GreenDrink, we might develop interesting and wild flavors and market them in such a way that they sound like something that hasn’t been done before.
Visually, we would use bold and bright colors, avoiding neutrals and anything that could feel “boring” or too corporate. The writing on their website would talk about “new frontiers” and “not conforming to kale.”
To utilize their weaknesses, they would talk candidly on social media about “getting distracted” pursuing flavors and ideas that didn’t work. They would show videos of taste-tests gone wrong, all part of the journey and part of the exploration process. They wouldn’t be ashamed of wandering down dead ends — those dead ends would make their audience appreciate them all the more!
I hope you’re getting a sense of how to use archetypes for branding your business. Here are some resources to help you apply archetypes to your branding:
Check out Kaye Putnam’s Brand Quiz to find out what archetype is best for you. For someone who wants to DIY their branding archetype, she has incredible free and premium courses and materials on each archetype and how to apply them to your business.
Finally, if you want consultation on taking your brand to the next level, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org — I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.
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