Archetypes and Brand Purpose: How to Use Archetypes to Create Deep Brand Meaning

by | Jan 31, 2018 | Archetypes, Brand Development

Welcome to the first in a series where I’ll be sharing why archetypes are the most powerful way to develop your brand. Not only do they help you get clear on your core brand essence, brand personality and voice, it also guides your brand to align with purpose.

If you look around you’ll quickly realize the language of “brand” is everywhere. From young to old, entrepreneurs to CEOs, more and more people are empowered to express who they are and the work they do to the world.

But how many of these people or organizations really understand WHY they do what they do?

This is where brand archetype discovery can help to connect the deeper motivations behind what you do and how you do it.

The power of archetypes is their ability to bring with them a lifetime of meaning and emotion in a way that everyone understands.

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What are archetypes?

They represent how we show up in the world, whether as an individual or as a collective. Archetypes are universal stories and journeys we all share. They’re the lessons we learn and the decisions we make while in search of a fulfilling life.2

Archetypes are often linked to personality traits, but they’re more than that. Personality traits can become complex and require constant explanation. For example, what comes to mind or how do you feel when I say pure, virtuous, optimistic, wholesome, spontaneous, and honest?

What if I simply say innocent?

The power of archetypes is their ability to bring with them a lifetime of meaning and emotion in a way that everyone understands. They’re also inclusive. While they may have certain defining qualities, there’s no one story or one way to describe a hero. Everyone gets to add their meaning to the greater whole.

How do archetypes benefit your brand?

First and foremost, they provide clarity of meaning. Meaning is a brand’s most important asset. Meaning gets to our emotional needs and speaks to our intuition.1 Archetypes are simple but powerful packages of meaning. And when a brand is deeply connected to their meaning they build strong internal cultures and loyal customers.

Next, they help to differentiate you from other options out there in an authentic way. There’s no engineering of an ideal brand persona required. Your natural gifts and unique vision of the world become your differentiation. I like to explain this to clients as a focus on “create” rather than “compete.”

Lastly, because they’re timeless, archetypes evolve with you as you and your business change. You may find the same ones apply today as they did ten years ago but have come to mean something different. Or you may find ten years later, a new set of archetypes represent the growth you’ve experienced.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be diving into the twelve core archetypes and what those mean for current and emerging brands. I know the topic of archetypes has been done before. But I ask you to follow me on this journey as we look at them from a different angle. Mainly, how they relate to motivation and purpose in our lives.


1: Mark, Margaret and Pearson, Carol S. The Hero and the Outlaw. McGraw-Hill, 2001

2: Hartwell, Margaret Pott and Chen, Joshua C. Archetypes In Branding. HOW Books, 2012

About The Author

Jason strongly believes in business as a force for good. Bringing a rare balance of strategic thinking and design thinking, he helps clients build insight through a mindful framework. For more info on how a mindful approach to brand strategy can help your startup or small business, visit

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