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Brand archetypes for deeper connections

Written by Mikula Ristic - 9 mei 2023

Mikula Ristic

Brand Expert

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How to: connect your brand on a deeper level with your audience?

A brand is so much more than your logo, the colors and the visual appearance of your business. Do you often wonder how you can achieve connections on a deeper level between your brand and your target audience? Well, that’s all about branding actually, but you need to take branding a lot more seriously for this to happen.

Strong brands have unique stories. With brand associations that connect on a deeper level with customers, the target audience, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. In other words, we are talking about a strong brand positioning.

For the best practices, we look at larger brands on a daily basis. McDonalds, Nike, Apple, and all other major players. And what every brand can learn from these big ones, is how brand archetypes play a role in their dominant positions of the market.

Brand archetypes give substance to your brand positioning 

All brands mentioned above use the power of brand archetypes. For a better understanding of the concept of archetypes, we take a side path to the world of psychology. Important founder of the concept of ‘archetypes’ is the psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. According to Jung, we can distinguish twelve different archetypes. Characters who have the same mindset, values ​​and beliefs that are consistent over a longer period of time.

You can also apply the twelve archetypes to brands. In this way you can perfectly match the human norms, values ​​and beliefs of a certain group of people. Choosing an archetype is therefore the best way to give your brand personality and to create an emotional connection with your target group. For example, brands such as Mercedes and Rolex make you feel successful and Ben & Jerry’s and Coolblue give you the feeling of fun.

You can link the twelve archetypes to human motives

There is a Caregiver in every person the moment his or her child is born. This first example clearly shows that you can only link an individual to an archetype. Every person experiences their own distribution over all twelve archetypes and that distribution also changes over time.

This may have to do with the stage of life someone is in. In this way, every teenager has an enhanced presence of the Explorer within. In the search for who they actually are and what they want to do in their lives. To work on their independence and their own personality in this way. As adulthood approaches, the urge to explore in most cases diminishes.

In the overview below you can see what all twelve archetypes are. And how archetypes can contribute to the primary functions of life. For example, the archetype Ruler helps to keep control and the Jester to have a good time. The Hero will help you act bravely, while the Outlaw will help you break existing rules.

Strong brands help fulfill these drivers

In the overview above you see the 12 archetypes. Brands that respond to an archetype can focus on the wants and needs of people who fit in and scale under a particular archetype.

For example, Bombay Sapphire, the ‘blue’ gin, responds to the desires of a Creator. The desire to create something new is fueled by advertisements showing that a glass of gin should be served as a work of art. Freely translated with the accompanying text: donate something priceless.

There can also be a very strong desire for the motives of a certain archetype. For example, due to needs that have been suppressed or snowed under for years. Think of businessmen who dedicate their lives to a successful business. Why should they buy a Harley-Davidson? Right, because they have been missing the Outlaw feeling for years and have a strong desire for it.

Curious about the 12 archetypes?

Then read on, below you will learn more about all archetypes.


This archetype is not purely about innocence. It is mainly about traditions and dreams. Dreaming of what it was like. And dream of how it can be. The main goal is to be happy. Brands that respond very refined to this are Coca-Cola, Disney and McDonald’s.


Unlike the Innocent, the Explorer is not about dreams. The Explorer is all about chasing dreams. The explorer emerges here in the individual. This is not necessarily literally about traveling or sky-diving, but mainly about the underlying objective. Experiencing a better life. Local, foreign brands are often perceived as attractive. Another well-known example is Starbucks.


Number three in the list of ‘independence’ is purely focused on wisdom and intelligence. Learning and growing as an individual in order to better understand the world. That is the purpose of the Sage. Brands like McKinsey and Adobe are trying to do their part in the quest for intelligence.


The Regular guy or gal, also called the Everyman. This archetype purely stands for group feeling and equality. No person is more or less than the other. And products and services must be accessible to everyone. Volkswagen and Ikea are well-known brands that were founded with the aim of serving the common citizen.


Not just wanting to fit in, but entering into deep relationships. That’s where the Lover comes into play. It’s about attraction and intimacy. This is not only about people, but also about experiences. Hallmark greeting cards say that with every card you give a piece of yourself.


The Jester lives in the here and now. And most of all wants to have fun, have a good time and light up the world by living in the moment. Not all, but all together! An example brand that organizes its entire campaigns is Pepsi. In addition to fun, a Jester also excels in brainstorming sessions, because of its ability to think out-of-the-box.


This archetype responds to the wishes and needs of people. The goal is to make the world a better place. How? By helping others, taking care of them and making them feel safe. So a Caregiver really focuses on the other. Well-known examples are Volvo and Nivea.


The name of the archetype speaks for itself. The Creator wants to encourage others to be creative. The perfect example of this archetype is Lego. By playing and building with the blocks, people discover new possibilities. Their creativity is challenged. Another nice example is Sesame Street. Each episode of the program has a topic with the underlying aim of challenging children on a cognitive, social and emotional level. Everything at Sesame Street is geared to this: the neighborhood, the characters and the ‘Monsterpiece Theater’.


The Ruler likes control and power. Status and prestige are highly valued by this archetype. It is therefore the Ruler that challenges you to go for success. Ruler brands are therefore best known for exclusivity, style and class. This is how you feel successful and influential. Ralph Lauren, Mercedes Benz and Rolex are appropriate examples of this.


Above all, the Hero wants to be the best. With the aim of positively influencing the world. Strength and competence are important qualities, but so is courage. And the will to make a positive impact. Nike is the great example when it comes to hero brands.


Positive changes can also be achieved through a disruptive approach. Thus the Outlaw. The dividing line between Hero and Outlaw can be very thin. The Outlaw in this case is more rebellious and revolutionary. Take Harley-Davidson and Apple as examples.


The Innocent is a dreamer. The Explorer chases dreams. And the Magician makes other people’s dreams come true. So there is a clear difference here, so that the Magician also comes close to the Hero and the Outlaw. Make an impact magically, as MasterCard and Polaroid, among others, do.

Now it’s up to you

Your product or service is irrelevant in choosing a brand archetype that fits. For example, in the market of strong alcoholic beverages, all 12 archetypes are being used a lot. Grey Goose (vodka) and Belvedere (vodka) differ a lot in how they present themselves and what type of connection they try to make. 

Brand archetypes: the road to a deeper connection

You allow people to really feel a connection, because they identify with your brand. This does not only work for corporates and multinationals. Every brand can accomplish this, as long as you do it right.

Curious about how you can use archetypes for your own brand? Do not hesitate to send me an email via the button on the left. Ask me your question and I will fire some tips and tricks back at you.

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