Strategy

From brand archetype to brand personality

Jan Gevers
Jan Gevers
Digital Strategist

Tips and tricks to put your brand archetype to good use!

Great, you have determined your brand archetype! You are one step closer to creating a consistent brand story that captivates your audience and deepens their emotional connection with your brand. Now what? How do you go about effectively using a brand archetype to power your business?

We have compiled a couple of tips & tricks to get you started!

Haven’t yet discovered the benefits of brand archetypes?

Avoid interpreting archetypes literally or reverting to stereotypes

Does your brand resonate most with the Magician? That does not actually mean that you need to conjure up mind boggling experiences at every turn or that you need to bury your communication in glitter and fairy dust.

Conversely, while your company might be naturally inclined towards the Caregiver archetype because you provide services that comfort or nurture, that doesn’t mean you need to steer clear of the more bold characters like the Ruler. They are, after all, neighbors on the brand archetype wheel so they possess similar qualities. In this case, they share the higher purpose of providing structure.

Think of a brand archetype as a framework rather than a cliché. An individual’s personality consists of multiple dimensions and a brand is no different. In fact, a brand reflects several brand archetypes to varying degrees. It is up to you to give substance to the framework these archetypes provide, in line with your brand’s unique values and characteristics.

Your audience won’t actually see your brand archetype. But if you successfully use your archetype to develop and refine your brand personality and communication, they will respond to the character traits of your archetype nonetheless.

From brand archetype to brand personality

“I can’t quite put my finger on it but there is just something about them that I like.”

Have you ever felt this way about a company or brand? This X factor or mysterious je-ne-sais-quoi that attracts customers to a specific brand has to do with the brand personality. It is not always blatantly obvious but it is something that your target audience will intuitively feel and connect with.

So how do you refine your brand personality with your archetype in mind?

Consistent brand communication

In order to craft a powerful brand story and consequently communicate that story in consistent messaging, it is important to have a deep understanding of your brand and the archetype it embodies.

Think about your brand in terms of a sensory experience. How does your brand look, sound, smell, feel and even taste? For instance, if your brand archetype is the Hero, your brand might be best represented with bold, vibrant colors. Your brand might have a strong uplifting scent, a firm touch and a motivational, confident voice.

Once you have added in some layers, you will have a much clearer idea of your brand and how you want it to be perceived by your prospects.

Crafting the words

A brand archetype helps to humanize your brand as prospects don’t want to speak to a company. They want to speak to a person. As such, your brand voice and the wording you use play an important role in how you would like your brand to come across.

You can easily infuse your communication with your brand personality, using the archetype as a guide. Say your primary brand archetype is the Lover and you have a web shop. Instead of using micro copy simply stating that “Your basket is empty.”, why not insert a little Lover personality and write something like “Your basket is feeling a little lonely. No worries, we can fix that! Click here to browse our lovely product range.”

Perfecting the design

We have already discussed colors, but a visual representation of your brand requires you to put some thought into several other elements as well. For example, what types of shapes suit your brand? Is your brand best conveyed with strong contours, geometric shapes, thick lines and sharp corners? Or does it flow more with lines that are rather curvy and fluid?

What types of fonts mesh well with your brand? Do you require playful lettering or something more traditional or clean? Finally, what is the texture of your brand? Does it feel firm, rugged or velvety soft?

An archetype guide & checklist

When you have sorted out all these verbal and visual aspects, you can start to construct a powerful brand presence that ties it all together in consistent messaging. 

Introduce your team to the concept of brand archetypes by developing a guide that explains how to apply it throughout the company.

It is also helpful to draw up an archetype checklist that takes into account your brand archetype values and character traits. Your team can easily refer to this cheat sheet when crafting campaigns or regular messages.

A brand style guide: The Branding Bible for your company

Finally, you can incorporate all brand elements, including the brand archetype, into a detailed brand style guide. This would be the handbook par excellence for all employees to maintain consistency throughout the entire organization.

A brand style guide typically contains the following elements:

  • The visual identity: define the color palette (primary and secondary colors), logos, photography, typography, iconography
  • The brand identity: describe the archetype, brand voice, name and tagline, target audience, the mission

It is important to include definitive guidelines on what to do and what not to do in which context (e.g. online versus offline channels) and to illustrate this with examples. This way you make sure it is crystal clear for everyone at all times how the branding should be used to obtain a strong, consistent brand identity with a clear message.

Steal the spotlight

A brand that appears confused is like a watercolor, swept away in a whirlpool of vibrant brands. On the other hand, a brand with a strong core identity and consistent brand voice - strengthened by an archetype - will steal the spotlight.

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