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The power of archetypes: a journey of self-discovery for brands

~ by Samantha W


In the vast landscape of psychology and storytelling, archetypes serve as fundamental blueprints that define and illuminate the human experience. These timeless patterns of behaviour and symbolism resonate universally, reflecting our deepest motivations, fears, and aspirations. Exploring the realm of archetypes not only enriches our understanding of ourselves but also sheds light on the intricacies of the world we inhabit.


What are Archetypes?


Archetypes, as conceived by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, are primordial images and motifs embedded in the collective unconscious — a reservoir of shared memories and instincts that shape our perceptions and behaviors. They manifest in myths, legends, dreams, and everyday narratives, embodying essential facets of human existence.


The Twelve Classic Archetypes:


1. The Innocent: Represents purity, simplicity, and optimism. Seeks happiness and safety.


2. The Everyman/Everywoman: Symbolizes relatability and resilience in daily struggles.


3. The Hero/Heroine: Embodies courage and the aspiration for greatness.


4. The Outlaw/Rebel: Challenges conventions and defies authority. Seeks liberation.


5. The Explorer: Driven by curiosity, adventure, and discovering the unknown.


6. The Creator/Artist: Symbolizes innovation, imagination, and artistic expression.


7. The Ruler: Represents authority, leadership, and a sense of responsibility.


8. The Magician: Embodies wisdom, intuition, and the power to create change.


9. The Lover: Seeks passion, intimacy, and profound emotional connections.


10. The Caregiver: Provides nurturing, compassion, and selfless support to others.


11. The Jester/Fool: Embraces humor, and spontaneity, and reminds us not to take life too seriously.


12. The Sage/Wise One: Offers insights, enlightenment, and a deeper understanding.

The Significance of Archetypes:


Archetypes hold profound significance in our lives and brand storytelling. They deepen self-awareness, facilitate personal and brand growth by unveiling unconscious patterns. Archetypes elucidate universal human experiences across cultures, allowing brands to tap into collective meaning. They enhance storytelling by imbuing narratives with depth and resonance. Aligning with resonant archetypes promotes authentic emotional connections between brands and audiences.


It is essential we understand the profound significance of archetypes in crafting authentic and resonant brand narratives. No human, or brand, is just one thing. Therefore, we must look at archetypes as a multi-layered tapestry woven from industry archetypes, core archetypes, and influencer archetypes.


The Authentic Archetypal Identity

While universal archetypes represent typical, recognizable patterns, truly resonant brands go a step further by developing an authentic archetypal identity. This archetype amalgam distills the brand’s core essence, blending various archetypal influences into a distinctive persona that authentically personifies the brand.


By unearthing these authentic archetypal identities, brands can forge profound connections with their audiences. These identities embody the characteristics that resonate with the brand’s core customers — reflecting how they see themselves or the aspirational qualities they’re drawn toward.


An authentic archetypal identity becomes the brand’s north star, ensuring its positioning, messaging, visuals and actions project a resonant, cohesive narrative that cultivates belonging and kinship with its community.


Discovering Your Authentic Archetype

In today’s crowded marketplace, consumers crave authentic connections with brands that share their values and worldviews. Embarking on a journey of archetypal self-discovery empowers brands to forge profound emotional bonds with their audiences.


Discovering Your Dominant Archetypes:

Identifying your primary archetypes involves introspection and exploration. These personalized archetypal identities become the wellspring from which authentic brand narratives flow, resonating deeply with their target audiences.


The process involves:

1. Self-Reflection: Contemplating recurrent themes, brand ethos and customer connections.

2. Archetype Assessment: Utilizing tools and guided exercises to identify potential archetypes.

3. Consultation: Seeking guidance from branding experts versed in archetypal psychology.

4. Integration: Embracing the complexity that individuals/brands embody multiple archetypes simultaneously.


I will showcase the use of archetypes in branding by using my business as an example:

A brand’s industry archetype identifies the foundational characteristics and values inherent to its sector. For us, operating in the creative industry, our industry archetype is naturally The Creator.


However, we are a different kind of agency — location independent, with clients from all around the world and team members who work remotely and travel as much as possible. This yearning for exploration and how we bring it into our work shapes our core archetype, The Explorer (70% of our brand personality).

The language and positioning strongly aligns with The Explorer:

1. Emphasis on movement, travel, and a location-independent lifestyle

2. A sense of wanderlust, freedom, and escaping the conventional

3. Seeking new experiences and perspectives

4. Highlighting adaptability and a fluid approach

5. The brand name itself, “On The Run”, reinforces the Explorer mentality


While The Explorer dominates, our brand is influenced by The Maverick archetype (30%), which comes through in our unconventional, rule-breaking approach to creative work:

1. Challenging traditional agency models

2. Offering a disruptive, fresh perspective

3. Emphasizing independence and going against the grain

4. Promoting a diverse, non-conformist team


Our Globetrotting Mythsmiths archetypal identity captures the curiosity of The Explorer while channeling The Maverick’s pioneering spirit.


Remember, archetypes are not restrictive molds but dynamic symbols that shape narratives and catalyze profound growth. By embracing your authentic archetypal identity, you embark on a transformative odyssey of self-discovery, realizing your brand’s truest, most resonant essence.


The Significance of Archetypes:

Archetypes hold profound significance in our lives:

- Self-Discovery: Exploring archetypes deepens self-awareness and facilitates personal growth by unveiling unconscious patterns.

- Universal Themes: Archetypes elucidate common human experiences and behaviours across cultures and epochs.

- Narrative Enrichment: Archetypes enhance storytelling, imbuing characters and plots with depth and resonance.

- Psychological Healing: Engaging with archetypes promotes healing and transformation by integrating fragmented aspects of the psyche.


Conclusion:

Embarking on a journey of archetypal exploration unveils hidden dimensions of our psyche and enriches our understanding of human nature. Whether resonating with the Innocent, the Hero, the Sage, or a blend of archetypes, embracing these timeless motifs empowers us to navigate life’s complexities with greater authenticity and purpose.


Work with Samantha W


“Solving niche challenges founders face”.


Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)

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