We often work with clients to define and develop their ‘brand personality’ – a concept rooted in classic psychological profiling!
Psychologist Carl Jung posed the theory that 12 essential characters exist in everyone’s unconscious mind – each one jockeying for dominance. Over the years, marketing and branding experts have taken this idea and run with it, asserting that each brand fits into one of the 12 archetypes or ‘characters’.
These characters each exhibit traits that form the brand personality. So that you can identify yours, we’ve summed up each of the 12 options below – what they’re like and how they make people feel.
The change-maker. The enchanter. The mystic.
The Magician injects a little wonder into every interaction and insists on doing things differently from their competitors. They have big ideas to change the world and pride themselves on questioning the status quo. Amazement and wonder are their key traits. In the hands of the Magician, obstacles turn into opportunities and perceptions are altered. Nothing is as it seems. Magicians have the knack of taking an age-old problem and pulling a totally out-of-the-box solution out of their hat.
The idealist. The winner. The champion.
The Hero is the motivational speaker of brand personalities, with an insatiable drive to optimise the world and make it a better place. Performance-oriented Heroes aspire to inspire with every interaction. ‘You can do it!’ shouts the hero from the side-lines. ‘Live better. Demand more. Raise your expectations.’ Agile and dynamic, the Hero works hard towards their goals and never gives up. Unsurprisingly, many sports brands fit this brand personality.
The creative. The artist. The inventor.
The Creator craves individuality. With an intrinsic need to stand out, Creators set high standards and strive to create authentic and unique work that will endure throughout the ages. At their worst, the Creator is self-indulgent and histrionic. That said, given the right environment, the Creator can push boundaries or even break them, driving innovation and changes in perception that have long-lasting societal implications.
The adventurer. The seeker. The wanderer.
Discovery and inspiration drive the explorer, who wants to soak up all the world has to offer. ‘The Explorer’ archetype is a practical adventurer – intrepid but never caught without everything they need for their journey. This brand personality takes calculated risks that create a rich tapestry of varied experiences. All they want is freedom and a life lived out of bounds. Independent, self-sufficient and resourceful, the Explorer lives to traverse uncharted terrain and overcome challenges standing in the way of adventure.
The wild one. The mutineer. The lone wolf.
The Outlaw appeals to the wild side we all have, stirring feelings of ‘F*** this, I’m doing it my way’. Refusing to fall into line, the Outlaw plays by their own rules and rebels against societal norms that don’t make sense to them. The thing about the outlaw though is that, as much as they like to shock, deep down they’re softies with a heart of gold. A hardened exterior belies honourable intentions. If you’re a brand that wants to defy the mainstream and throw caution to the wind, embrace The Outlaw.
The clown. The light relief. The party-starter.
If your business isn’t afraid to have a sense of humour, you just might be the jester! Often your communications are tongue-in-cheek and self-deprecating (without trying too hard). You bring a smile to people’s faces. You prove that business can be FUN and it’s OK to be a little silly and immature sometimes. This playful brand personality is light-hearted and lively – even when the product or service they’re selling can be serious and practical. Their enthusiasm and enjoyment of life is infectious.
The romantic. The confidante. The sensualist.
Romantic love is one thing, but the Lover brand personality is interested in all types of close relationships. Communications and visual cues are centred around the bonds between parent and child, husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, and entirely platonic friends. Appreciative, sensitive and sensuous, the Lover aims to warm hearts, build intimacy and authentically reflect all the special relationships in our lives. Evoking emotion and celebrating human connection are the calling cards of the Lover.
The nurturer. The empath. The protector.
Selfless to a fault, the Caregiver is naturally nurturing and wholly focused on the needs of others. The caregiver is compassionate, sensitive and always knows the right thing to say to someone who’s grieving or experiencing hardship. Caregiver businesses are a safe haven for their customers, offering understanding, support and protection. Their products and services are known for being reliable and trustworthy. Many non-profits, healthcare organisations and baby product manufacturers align with the Caregiver archetype.
The democrat. The egalitarian. Mr Relatable.
Accepting and affable, the Everyman gets along with everyone and judges no one. This brand personality is good natured and likeable without appealing to any particular group. Lots of people can relate to these businesses and feel fondly towards them because every interaction is warm, welcoming and laidback. Often these are middle of the road, mass market businesses that cater to families and the middle classes. Make no mistake though – the Everyman is not boring or dull, merely genial and universally charming. Popular. The opposite of an acquired taste.
The child. The dreamer. The peacekeeper.
Above all, the Innocent is kind. They radiate contentment, harmony and inner peace. The Innocent is an eternal optimist who’s gentle, spiritual and zen. Wholesome without being judgmental or puritanical (and anything but cynical), the Innocent is deeply pure, values simplicity and assumes that everyone else does too. This brand personality appeals to all that’s good and true in consumers.
The patriarch. The statesman. The old guard.
Destined for role model status, the Ruler sets the bar in their industry and maintains exceptionally high standards. They exude success, stability and profitability, effortlessly exerting power and control. An air of self-assurance and sophistication wafts around these brands, who are unfailingly polished and on message. Unsurprisingly, the Ruler believes in rules and process. Accountability and action. This is an old-school brand archetype that evokes old money and demanding the best of everything.
The instructor. The truth-seeker. The coach.
Forever wanting to get to the bottom of things, the Sage brand archetype seeks wisdom and what we can ‘take away’ from any situation. Sage brands are inherently wise and don’t dumb things down for their audience. An ‘educational’ brand lexicon the trustworthy sage promises answers to questions you never knew you had, and solutions to the world’s problems. This is an archetype often favoured by news and media organisations.