A graphic primer on archetypes
Let me offer you a glimpse into one of the dark secrets of marketing and advertising. Marketers have been shamelessly using this Jungian concept to great effect. You can ignore the next line if you want to skip heavy theory. Jung had come up with 12 archetypes that seemed to explain most common human motivations, with its own sets of values, traits and personalities. If you are a brand owner who is trying to grapple with what can be the content and style of your communication with consumers, you can pick from any of these 12 jungian brand archetypes.
Lets start with the regular guy archetype. There is something so disarming about this simple and straight positioning. If you have ever fallen for the boy next door (or girl) you would understand the power of the everyday ordinary.
At the other extreme is the Ruler archetype, that promises to make you feel like a king, to set you apart from the poor commoners!
Where would rulers be without their soldiers. So here comes the hero archetype that takes up causes on your behalf and fights on your side! As the world gets to be an angrier place, and many are spoiling for a fight without knowing what to fight for, the Hero archetype is always helpful with a suggestion on what you could take up.
But heroes do not always win, as many fall by the wayside as martyrs. The rebel archetype is often their nemesis. The Rebel archetypes turn conventional wisdom on its head and changes the turf to suit your style. They’ll convice you that what is yuck is tasty, and make you feel as if you are fighting a lone battle against the world. This can give a tremendous sense of purpose to the off-center folks that manages to even make up for the bad taste.
But then battles aren’t won by brawn alone, right? So here comes the sage, who gives a very objective and analytical take on things and gives you the assurance of solid knowledge. Who doesn’t fall prey to some sage advice?! Sages are ofcourse expert at making you feel totally inept without their guidance.
Lest all this intellectual stuff weigh heavily on our poor consumers, there is always the comforting comfort and the nurturing nurturance of the nurturer archetype. They can be trusted to take care of you all the way to the grave.
Now that could be too passive for some consumers, who like to figure it out for themselves and trust their own wits. All they need is a partner as they set out to explore for themselves. The explorer archetype just points at the door, and lets them discover for themselves. Even when consumers have a very bad experiuence, they’ll take it as just another bend in the road to discovery.
If you believe that even explorers are passe in this Right brained world created by Steve Jobs and evangelized by the likes of Dan Pink, the future belongs to creator brands! Just Do it Yourself works even better that just Just do it.
But in reality, most of us are too tied up with the mundane chores opf living to create and explore for ourselves. You have the money, just call in the Magician archetype, and they’ll do it for us. The magician promises instant and total transformation, nothing less. You just pay up and give in.
Lest we assume that a better future is all that consumners desire, there are many consumers who just want to travel back in time, revel in nostalgia and prefer being frozen in time. The Innocent archetype is when consumers want to reject the present and exist in a simpler, better world. Wrap them in a cocoon that never opens up, and just get some valind post dated checks before they become inaccessible for ever.
Even if you don’t know the meaning of narcissism, the truth is that more and more people are falling in love with themselves more passionately than ever. The only statistic that is growing faster than dicorce rates are the incidences of splurging on oneself, retail therapy, self-gifting and the likes. The Lover archetype celebrates unabashed self love, as long as it results into a love and eventual purchase for their products too. Nothing can create desire like the Lover, and nobody is worth falling in love as much as yourself. Or atleast that’s what the Lover archetype would make you believe.
If you have managed to read through all the 11 archetypes, and feel brain-weary and dull, that is just the way most consumers feel in this rush-hour stress of modern living. Like the Jester archetypes who makes you laugh so much, that all rationality seeps out, and you do whatever the jester bids you to do. The Jester never laughs at his own joke and only laughs on the way to the bank.
All you have to do as a brand owner is to just figure out which of these timeless archetypes suits you the best.
I assert my right as the artist for all the above cartoons, although I have no clue how to enforce it.