Finding Your Market Through Brand Archetypes

Understanding the concept of brand archetypes helps us work out who to market to as well as how to.

Do you have a defined audience for your own business? It’s very important. Read on to find out how to work it out.

We are rightly advised to stand out from the crowd, write compelling content, tell stories, have calls to action and a marketing funnel. These are all valuable methods, but… Who does your compelling content and story telling appeal to, or who do you want to stand out to? It can’t be everyone.

I give you two scenarios:

1. Targeting A Specific Market

You wish to target a very specific market such as those who “dream of retiring to an island life through smart blogging”. I’m referring here to “Blogging From Paradise” where Ryan Biddulph talks about blogging as well as his life of world travel. He doesn’t only appeal to other young, fit and adventurous types. He also reaches those who dream of travel or just enjoy reading about living in different places. (Thinking of myself here. I’d  happily be a “gray nomad” blogger.)

If Ryan didn’t come across as adventurous, well-traveled, friendly and encouraging, he wouldn’t have gained credibility or trust. Ryan lives his dream and makes others think it’s possible for them too. He represents the dream for freedom common to many of us who work for ourselves.

You see the concept regularly in ads – the “How this guy lived on the street and now lives in a mansion” kind of thing. Of course this doesn’t only appeal to the homeless but to those struggling financially and those seeking success. Many of our heroes are those who overcome difficult circumstances and eventually triumph.

2. A Wide Market

Your aim is to generally sell to other businesses, bloggers, or those wanting to make an income from home.  A massive range. We all have different personalities, interests, needs, experiences, preferences, and dreams.

You can still succeed if you find a way to stand out. You’ll have read that before and likely wonder how to achieve that.

The answer: You narrow your focus, develop a distinct identity and appeal to your chosen more specific audience on an emotional level. You don’t try to reach the whole world.

We have help in finding our specific market through the concept of Brand Archetypes.


Brand Archetypes

An archetype relates to a typical example of a person or thing. Carl Jung first applied a theory of archetypes to powerful personalities in literature. He based these on observation of differing, but repeating, patterns of thought, images, and action that occur regularly across people, countries and continents.

Based on our unconscious minds, they are characteristics, values, attitudes & behaviors we recognize and relate to.  We each have all the basic archetypes within us, but which ones dominate in us differs.

These same principles are used by branding specialists today. The idea is to work out which archetypes your business appeals to, or you want it to appeal to. Focusing on these gives you a solid basis on which to attract, and meaningfully communicate with, your audience through your website, advertising, social media or individual contact.

The Main 12 Archetypes

  1. The Innocent
  2. The Regular
  3. The Hero
  4. The Outlaw
  5. The Explorer
  6. The Creator
  7. The Ruler
  8. The Sage
  9. The Magician
  10. The Lover
  11. The Caregiver
  12. The Jester

You can see them here on the outer circle of this image taken from a slideshare on Brand Archetypes by Emily Bennet.

These 12 satisfy 4 main psychological needs: structure, paradise, connecting with others, and the need to leave a mark on the world.

Take a look through the whole slide show for examples of different archetype based ads.

Brand Archetypes

We can gain an insight into our audiences interests through what they write on blogs and what they post on social media (images they share on timelines, interests and likes in their profiles) But we need to dig deeper to discover what drives these interests and what compels them to share what they do. What needs, desires, or dreams do they represent?

For Example: I enjoy the TV show “Criminal Minds Beyond Borders” but not because I’d like to be a heroic, crime solving, globe trotting detective. I enjoy the problem solving mysteries, and learning about different countries and cultures). I work from home, have lived in various places and travel when I can afford it.

I believe I fit more into the explorer and sage categories. With a need for freedom and understanding, I’ve always sought out my own paradise.

More Information on Archetypes

Before you work out, or decide on, what archetype(s) you market to, have a look at the descriptions of each in one of these articles.

Looking at the brands used as examples in these articles makes it easier to understand.

For more information on branding take a look at the PAC post: How To Create A Personal Brand.

It’s important to use the right language to appeal to your archetype audience:  Our PAC post Language That Sells – How to Spice Up Your Writing and Sell Anything will help you with this.

It’s worth working out which archetype dominates in you. It’s the one you understand more, are more passionate about, and have experiences related to. Don’t you think this archetype is also the best audience  to target with your business?

Can you relate more to one of these archetypes? Do you think your personal or business brand reflects this?

I hope I’ve given you food for thought here. As for me, I’m hungry to understand it more so  that I can apply it, but that’s just the “sage” in me. 🙂

Sue Bride


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    1. Ikechi Awazie July 2, 2016
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