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Brand Building Using Archetypes

Building Your Brand Credibility Using Brand Archetypes

October 18, 2021
by Nora Carson

Is your brand working you or working for you? Getting your brand right is important to the longevity of your company and your job. Learn how brand archetypes can help build brand identity and trust with current and potential customers.

Is your brand working you or working for you?
As a marketer, you’re responsible for more than ever before. Not only are you contributing to sales results, promoting products/services, and executing marketing campaigns, but you’re also in charge of “building a strong brand,” which historically is hard to define and even more difficult to measure.

However, a brand that doesn’t resonate with its intended audience will be irrelevant and, eventually, overpowered by the competition. So getting it right is important to the longevity of your company — and your job.

Enter the FUEL approach to brand development: brand archetypes.

What is a brand archetype?

Brand archetypes bridge the gap between your brand’s cognitive offerings and intuitive motivations.

What role does your brand play in your target audience’s life? Why are certain targets attracted to you? We then use this as the lens to approach questions like “what is that gap between their cognitive choices and their intuitive needs?” Archetypes identify those shared motivations… shared intersections.

In the definitive workbook, Archetypes in Branding, the authors note that “Archetypes can facilitate brand relationships by aligning what the brand says it is, what it does, and how it’s perceived and known.”

Finding, establishing, and using archetypes liberates brands (and stakeholders) by allowing you to identify and align yourself behind a framework versus creating a brand identity from internal surveys with questions like “if we were an animal, which one would we be and why.”

This alternative navigational system makes it possible to find the meaning that is right for your brand and to preserve, nurture, and enrich that meaning over time… They force you to make a choice, embrace an idea, and immerse yourself in the depth and breadth of that concept as opposed to being caught up in an endless and often meaningless debate about a list of attributes.

From the book The Hero and the Outlaw, by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson;

How do brand archetypes help?

FUEL Brand Archetype Wheel

Rather than ask the question, “What is the tone and voice of our brand?” we now can state, “As a Rebel archetype, your brand voice would sound like this…” Or “If you were an Explorer, your brand would show up looking like this…”

How do you find your brand archetype?
There are three main steps to getting started with developing your brand archetype:

  1. Motivations: Identifying how your brand’s motivation (what problem do you solve) aligns with your audience’s needs (what problem are they seeking a solution for).
  2. Exploration: There are 60 archetypes to consider, but once you have identified the mutual motivation, you can quickly narrow it down to less than three potential options.
  3. Narrative: Reexamine how you talk about your brand and company. Does your brand story align with your archetype? Think beyond your target audience and include employees and key stakeholders. Does your story resonate with their specific and unique needs?

Brand archetypes can be hard to do alone. FUEL can help.

But going at this alone can be challenging. Having an outside, objective perspective and expertise to guide the process internally can yield the best results.

At FUEL, we work with our clients on a series of workshops focused on studying potential archetype options, identifying the right direction, and collaboratively working to write or rewrite their brand’s purpose, vision, and mission statements, while also articulating the brand DNA and brand principles. These elements greatly inform the brand’s positioning, narrative, and visual identity, which then serve as a solid platform for your brand, marketing, and content strategies.

If brand strategy and establishing your brand voice sounds a little hypothetical and out of reach, you’re not alone. FUEL has helped a diverse group of companies from Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, to Dodge Industrial, and Sandline Legal Services, develop their brand archetypes and brand identity systems to help propel their growth and overall marketplace success.

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