You can tell a lot about a person by the type of movies they watch.
What’s your go-to genre? The last movie you watched that really made you feel something?
Nothing excites me quite like a period piece. From the costumes, to the sets, to the dialogue, I’m continuously enamored by the attention to detail it takes to transport viewers to another era. One misplaced element and the jig is up.
Historical films can also be oddly comforting. Instead of losing ourselves in a distant period, we often find the challenges the characters face are oddly consistent with our own.
It’s what makes movies so captivating, right? The plot lines and characters may differ drastically from our day-to-day experience, but we identify with them somehow. It’s these underlying themes, or archetypes, that make the unknown, familiar.
What are Archetypes?
Carl Jung introduced archetypes (Greek for original pattern) to the forefront of psychology. Jung’s 12 archetypes refer to the stories that have pervaded art, literature, and religion since the beginning of time. “The images derived from the collective unconscious”.
These models give context to humans’ relationships with each other, themselves, and the world. Their very existence reflects the human need to connect ideas, identify patterns, and create structure in chaos. This is what makes them so effective in giving brands a relatable and consistent point of view.
What Archetypes Mean for Brands
The world’s top brands use archetypes to express who they are in a way customers can connect with.
Take these brands for example:
- Adobe uses software to empower creatives to create something of enduring beauty or value. They are The Artist.
- Trader Joe’s is the “nice guy/gal” customers count on for straightforward products and pleasant service. They are The Everyman.
- Jeep is the friend who always has camping gear in their trunk, and invites others to journey off the beaten path. They are The Explorer.
Archetypes are a powerful tool to draw your brand’s essence to the surface. They outline your story and create a more tangible structure for your brand’s personality.
The Fuller Picture of Brand Personality
Circling back to our movie characters from the beginning, no hero is exactly the same. While they might all save cats from trees or carefully guard their double life, their unique origin story gives nuance to their approach.
The same goes for your brand. After defining your archetype, we go deeper to shed light on the aspects of your personality that your archetype may not account for. These traits create a fuller picture of how you look, sound, and act, resulting in a more comprehensive and unique reflection of your brand.
Personality in Practice
Think about the 5 or 6 words that you want to pop into your customer’s brains when they interact with you. Are you their sophisticated, knowledgeable advisor? Their quirky, cool friend? Somewhere in the middle?
What does that person look like to you?
When identifying your personality traits, it’s important to think about how you imagine them showing up in your brand. “Bold” could look like a flashy color palette and cheeky brand voice, but it could also describe a brand that’s dark, moody, and witty. Getting specific about what these words mean to you helps set the right expectations for the final result.
After you choose a trait, think of a few ideas for how it could show up in your brand’s design, messaging, and behavior. It could be as simple as using question marks to signal curiosity, or an upbeat tone to signal vibrance.
If you’re having a hard time picturing a personality trait at work in your brand, it may be worth re-evaluating why you chose it. While it’s up to your rebranding team to determine how your personality shows up, your choices should feel congruent with who your brand already is.
As we all strive for more meaningful connections, brands have an opportunity to be more human than business. By getting clear on your personality, you set your brand up to tell a more compelling story from start to finish.
Get a head start on your brand’s story by downloading our Brand Thinkbook.