Whether it’s running shoes, lawn mowers, cosmetics, accounting services, or bulletproof glass — B2C and B2B brands must inspire their target audiences to feel trust and connect on a visceral level. The problem is, manufacturing companies struggle to understand branding and create strong brands for themselves. We’re industrial marketers that are here to help with a quick primer on brand archetypes. We’ve also got a quiz that can help you better define your company’s personality.
How can better branding help my company?
A clearly defined brand will:
- Help you stand out from your competitors
- Attract new customers and make it clear why they should work with you
- Improve your relationship with customers by giving them a seamless experience
- Attract top talent and help with recruiting ideal candidates
What is a Brand Archetype?
In a nutshell, a brand archetype is just the personality that you assign to your brand. Psychologist Carl Jung created the concept of archetypes, identifying twelve different types. Each archetype is an ideal model of a type or group, or a typecast character. (Think of Captain Jack Sparrow as the archetypal Outlaw, or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz as the archetypal Innocent.)
Every archetype represents fundamental human desires, and when you associate your brand with an archetype, you’re tapping into deep emotions that motivate your customers.
A Closer Look at Specific Brand Archetypes
Take a look at the picture above— can you tell which archetype best suits your brand? If not, that’s ok: We’ve created a quiz to help you. It takes just a few minutes and clients have told us it was an extremely valuable exercise for their team.
How to Use Brand Archetypes in Content and Design
Once you’ve taken the quiz and determined which archetype best suits your company, you can create content and design elements that speak more directly to the emotions that will motivate your audience to engage with you.
By now, you know that content is an important part of any marketing plan, right? Well, content is also a great way to incorporate your archetype into your marketing. Whether it’s a social media post, a trade show brochure, or an email campaign, you should be speaking in one clear, consistent voice that aligns with your archetype.
If you’re the Creator, you’re always the Creator— if you jump from Creator to Sage to Jester, your brand will start to feel schizophrenic and confuse your audience.
Don’t forget to update your visual design to reflect your corporate archetype, too. Color, typeface, images, and layout should all be modified so that everything is adhering to the overall theme of your archetype. For example:
Take Harley-Davidson, for instance. They’ve fully embraced the Outlaw archetype, and they’ve made design choices to back it up. Relying on slick images of shiny bikes and videos of leather-clad riders as well as black tones highlighted with starkly contrasting white type, Harley-Davidson has gone all in on the Outlaw.
Compare that to Coca-Cola. With bright colors and typefaces communicating the idea of being fun-loving and carefree, they’ve fully immersed their brand in the Innocent archetype. As soon as you visit their website, you’re greeted with an airy feeling created by extensive use of white on their homepage. Coca-Cola doesn’t shy away from fun icons and lively animations, doubling down on the idea of their product making everything more fun.
Brand Archetypes in Industrial Marketing Strategy
Your archetype gives you a great place to start your marketing strategy. It will prompt questions like: how would The Creator engage with our ideal customer or our ideal employee candidate? It helps your sales team stay on-brand with their communications, both in person (on the sales floor, at a trade show) and online (sales emails).
When we take on a new client, we typically start with the quiz— asking each person on the team to take it as if they were the embodiment of the company — not their individual role. If the answers vary wildly, we’re able to help everyone get on the same page— and don’t worry if your answers are all different. That’s the norm!
Assessing your competition is another important step. Who are your competitors and what are their possible archetypes? Is your competitive landscape already full of Sage or Hero archetypes? Maybe you need to strike out on your own and be the Outlaw like one of our IT clients did.
The best brands take their unique personality and create an emotional response that inspires their target audience. First toward curiosity, then trust, purchase, and in a best case scenario – loyalty and brand evangelism. Figuring out your archetype is the first step toward connecting to your ideal customers.