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The 12 branding archetypes explained: what is archetypal branding and why your business needs one asap

How to speak to your customers on a deeper level of their primary desires, evoke engagement and increase sales? In this blog post we are talking about branding archetypes: what they are, what their meaning is and why knowing them is essential for your business growth.
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Archetypal branding provides a powerful framework for understanding people’s motivations and behaviours.

By understanding the different archetypes and how they affect our decision-making process, you can better target your marketing and messaging to resonate with specific groups of people, and your customers.

In order to find the perfect archetype for your company that can help your business grow you first have to understand what they are. Now is the time to learn! 

What are archetypes in the first place? 

Medusa head art_archetypal branding

Archetypes are primal, universal patterns that evoke deep emotions and associations within us. We see them in our daily lives through personalities found in TV, movies, friends and family.

They are found in our collective unconscious: the shared pool of memories, experiences and knowledge of all humans we have. It consists of symbols we see time and time again in our dreams, stories, and religions which represent different parts of our psyche.

Many decisions are often unconsciously influenced by these archetypes and knowing them can help us understand ourselves and others better. 

What are branding archetypes?

When we talk about archetypes, we are referring to the fact that these patterns exist within all of us.

That means your potential customers will be familiar with certain character types from TV shows or stories they’ve encountered before. You can take advantage of this shared knowledge to understand the different aspects of your business and how they work together.

When you understand archetypes, you can use them to improve your marketing and grow your business. 

3 different brand logos (each in a circle) on the left and a side profile pic on the right (in a circle)_branding archetypes

Branding archetypes are patterns or templates that we, at Brandician, use to create meaning in our branding process.

They give a sense of your brand and its relation to the world. Understanding your company’s archetype allows us to realize your vision, mission and values. It also helps us tell your story in a way that magnetically attracts the right customers, allowing you to differentiate your brand from the competition. 

Are brand archetypes a New-Age thing? 

Archetypes are more ancient than myths themselves. The Greek philosopher Plato and many great thinkers after him spoke of “elemental forms” and the original “categories” or patterns of everything in the material world.

Carl G. Jung portrait_branding archetypes
Carl G. Jung 

Carl G. Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and one of Sigmund Freud’s most famous students, conveyed this idea to the modern world. He suggested that archetypes are part of the collective unconscious and are genetically inherited.

In other words archetypes are the software of the psyche. Not only do we recognize archetypes, they strongly resonate with us because we are programmed for this.

Archetypal symbols have been used in many fields: literature, art, architecture and fashion design. They are found everywhere because they represent universal human thoughts and emotions. Although there are thousands of different archetypes, Jung narrowed them down to 12 fundamental ones that symbolize basic human reasoning, values and personality. 

How will knowing your archetype get you more sales?  

Archetypes can be a great tool for getting into the minds of your customers and understanding what motivates them. 

A bunch of paper money moulded into a brain shape_branding archetpes

Branding archetypes speak to your customers’ primary motivations that ultimately lead to engagement and trust, which is the foundation of a deep and lasting relationship between your brand and your consumers.

Each of the 12 archetypes has a different meaning, affecting one’s decision making process in different ways. The archetypes are always behind the scenes whether it be a follow on social media, a purchase of your product or service.

Knowing which archetype your ideal customer identifies with and which archetype is closest to your company’s mission, you can create marketing material and branding that resonates with them while remaining authentic to yourself.

When your brand  focuses on one archetype (reflected coherently in your words, colors and shapes used, etc.) and uses it consistently across all of your platforms, your customers will instantly recognize it and accept it as their own over time. This archetype is reflected through your choice of words, colors, and shapes (think of companies like Apple, Nike, and Google).

Archetypal messages are deeply ingrained in all of us, meaning you can cut through the noise faster and more efficiently by using them as your main marketing logic. It’s undoubtedly your competitive advantage!  

a side profile pic on the left (in a circle), connecting with only 3 one out of three logos (in a circle) on the right_branding archetypes

To make it a bit more comprehensive, all 12 archetypes are organized according to motivational theory*. Basic human instincts (drives) can be grouped into 4 clusters, positioned along 2 axes (see image below). They serve like a compass going from order/stability/control, change/risk/mastery, independence/self-actualization and to belonging/community.

This means most of us want to be liked and feel belonged, but at the same time go our own way as individuals. These are our profound human desires, pulling us in opposite directions. Yet, one prevails, either because there is unfulfilled yearning for it or familiarity.

This is how we are wired, and your customers think no differently. The sooner you embrace that and start incorporating it into your business strategy, the sooner you will start attracting your ideal audience.  

12 archetypes divided into 4 clusters_branding archetypes

*Based on the work of Abraham Maslow, Eric Erickson, Robert Kegan, and Ken Wilbur, as mentioned in the book by Margaret Mark & Carol S. Pearson “The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes

Identifying and harnessing your brand’s archetype is the most powerful way to reach its full potential.

How to find your brand’s archetype: 

Find your brand’s archetype and define your marketing strategy by comparing the descriptions beneath with what your company has to offer or your company’s promise.

1. Choose your customers’ main motivator: 

Ask yourself: What promises are you making to your customers, and what drives them to choose your products and services?

A. Self actualization, independence, fulfillment

  • Promises you might be making: Helping customers reach their full potential, overcome challenges, achieve personal goals, express their individuality.
  • Drivers for choosing your products/services: Customers believe your products or services are a tool for their own growth and self-improvement. They want to become the best version of themselves.
man showing photo of him_archetypal branding

B. Social belonging, connection, community

  • Promises you might be making: Offering a place of acceptance, shared values, sense of belonging, opportunities for meaningful interactions.
  • Drivers for choosing your products/services: Customers believe your brand fosters a shared identity and connects them with like-minded individuals. They seek to be part of something bigger.
hands formed together with red heart paint_archetypal branding

C. Order, stability, structure

  • Promises you might be making: Providing reliability, dependability, simplification, peace of mind.
  • Drivers for choosing your products/services: Customers want to reduce stress or uncertainty in their lives. They value solutions that make things easier and instill confidence.
a side profile photo of a pilot in his uniform, wearing hat and sunglasses _archetypal branding

D. Achievement, legacy, change.

  • Promises you might be making: Aiding in goal attainment, supporting ambition, offering exclusivity, or symbolizing success.
  • Drivers for choosing your products/services: Customers believe your brand aligns with their aspirations and helps them make a positive impact. They may want to be recognized for their choices.
a person extending their arm and holding an umbrella in front of a yellow wall_archetypal branding

2. Select your Archetype

Once you’ve chosen between the 4 motivators, see which one of the 3 archetypes in this category (see below) best describes your brand’s mission:

Self-actualization, independence, fulfilment


Brandician Archetype icon Innocent

Goodness shines through

Promotes optimism, simplicity, and pure intentions, appeals to customers seeking safety, reassurance, and nostalgia.


Brandician Archetype icon

Forge your own path

Discovers new possibilities and experiences, attracts customers seeking adventure, excitement, and self-discovery.


Brandician Archetype icon Sage 2

Knowledge is your guide

Provides wisdom, knowledge, and guidance, attracts customers who value truth, understanding, and intellectual pursuits.

Social belonging, connection, community


blank passport photo within a gray square_everyman archetype

We’re all in this together

Represents belonging, relatability, and understanding, connects with customers seeking authenticity, down-to-earth values, and social connection.


a darker pink heart shape in a lighter pink square_lover archetype

Passion is everything

Seeks connection, intimacy, and beauty, resonates with customers seeking passion, romance, and belonging.


Brandician Archetype icon Jester

Live, laugh, connect

Brings joy, humor, and entertainment, resonates with customers seeking fun, lightheartedness, and connecting with others.

Order, stability, structure


apricot coloured cross in a lighter coloured square_caregiver archetype

Your well-being is our mission

Provides comfort, support, and nurturing, resonates with customers seeking empathy, well-being, and community.


darker green artist palette in a lighter green square_creator archetype

Imagine, then create

Expresses individuality and brings ideas to life, connects with customers who value creativity, self-expression, and uniqueness.


a soft pink crown in a darker pink red square_ruler archetype

Order from chaos

Offers stability, security, and control, attracts customers who value tradition, authority, and high standards.

Achievement, legacy, change


dark blue trophy within a blue square_hero archetype

Rise to the challenge

Overcomes obstacles and achieves goals, motivates customers who value bravery, strength, and making a difference.


a dark orange lighting in a lighter orange square_rebel archetype

Dare to be different

Challenges the status quo and rebels against conventions, appeals to customers seeking individuality, freedom, and breaking the rules.


a dark purple star in a light purple square_magician archetype

Possibilities made real

Transforms challenges into opportunities, appeals to customers seeking growth, innovation, and problem-solving.

Did you find your brand’s archetype or are you not quite sure which one fits your business best?

Let us guess: you found your business in more than one description?

Why can’t you be all of them?

You probably selected more than one archetype. That’s completely normal, since all 12 are embodied in us, but it’s important to remember that you (your business) can’t be everything for everyone. Trying to appeal to a broad audience can dilute your message and confuse your customers. Instead, focus on the archetype that is most relevant to your company and target that one with laser precision. Archetypes provide a framework for understanding people’s motivations and behaviours, so use them to your advantage!

assorted fedora hat lot_brandician_archetypal branding

It can be difficult to pinpoint the right archetype for your own business at first, even though there are many branding archetype quizzes out there.

Your core message is usually hidden between the layers of your product or service descriptions and a quick introduction to archetypal narrative in this post doesn’t give you any practical advice on how to weave that into your marketing strategy.

You naturally want as many people as possible to know what your company has to offer and limiting yourself to a specific audience seems like a counter-productive business move. We can guarantee you this is not the case. You need someone from the outside to view your company in an objective, yet understanding way and strategically examine every part of your business, so they can bring it all together with a strong, clear message.

Brandician’s team is here to help: we have years of experience crafting marketing campaigns and messaging that resonate with our clients and their customers. Let us help you select your brand archetype and start with the branding process.

It just works, simple as that!       

We’ve been using this powerful approach for understanding ourselves and our clients for years. Without fail, it works like a charm every time. 

Check our success stories or contact us to learn more!

P.S. Can you guess Brandician’s archetype?

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