What is it you provide that makes your clients' lives better?
You might think the answer is straightforward.
Mops that clean themselves—no more mess!
Cars that are friendly on the environment—no more fossil fuel guilt!
Web design that empowers businesses to own their sites—no coding involved!
But that's not what I'm talking about.
What is it about your brand that makes clients' lives truly better?
Not just in terms of what you sell—but the value you bring to each customer's life?
Comfort? Motivation? Joy?
You might not really know.
Honestly, it's rare that you get feedback that in-depth from your customers. Especially about something that's so hard to pin down. Seriously—we're talking some Jung-level shizz.
But determining that special something is exactly how average businesses become successful brands.
Companies invest millions of dollars in consumer research panels and studies. But we don't all have those kinds of resources.
Luckily, there are strategies to help businesses start honing in and finding that key to their brand.
One great tool: brand archetypes.
These are 12 characters that all great brands embody. Each archetype has its own characteristics, strengths, challenges, and unique value it brings to customers.
And anyone can find their archetype—and get a kickstart into those insights that take brands to the next level.
So what are the brand archetypes, and which one are you?
Let's find out!
What is a brand archetype?
A brand archetype is the role that your brand plays in your consumer’s life.
How do you fit into their narrative and what emotions does your brand convey? The brand archetypes will help you answer these questions for your business.
Once you understand which archetypal category your customers have put you in, you can cater to their needs and speak directly to them.
So what are these archetypes, you ask?
The 12 brand archetypes:
The Magician: Logical, analytical, insightful
The Patriarch: Dignified, authoritative, inspirational
The Angel: Optimistic, innocent, pure
The Enchantress: Mysterious, tempting, sensual
The Actress: Glamorous, dramatic, involved
The Troubadour: Joyous, free-spirited, agile
The Jester: Witty, resilient, daring
The Warrior: Confident, powerful, heroic
The Queen: Relaxed, comforting, social
The Mother Earth: Stable, genuine, nurturing
The Matriarch: Organized, systematic, controlled
The Sage: Wise, visionary, mentoring
Let's get specific:
If you're really going to use this archetype as a guide for your business, you need the low down on each one.
The 12 Brand Archetypes
1. The Magician
WHIZZ • EXPERT • EXPERIENCED
Traits of The Magician:
If you're a Magician, your business comes off as logical and insightful. But not cold. Customers trust your expertise and know you'll steer them in the right direction.
Magicians are commonly businesses that are in a specialized industry. If you have a lot of specific expertise that is hard to explain to a layperson, you're most likely giving off a Magician vibe.
The Magician's strengths:
The great thing about Magicians is that your clients trust your opinion. They know that you've got the goods, and they want you to take their pain points off their hands.
The Magician's challenges:
The downfall of Magicians is remaining personal—while communicating your expertise.
Having a business built on insight means you know your stuff, but it doesn't make you instantly likable. But this is easy to fix with kind and supportive messaging, so don't you worry Magician!
Famous Magician: IBM
2. The Patriarch
DIGNIFIED • STRONG • LEADER
You have built-in gravitas that makes customers see you as a credible source. Customers perceive your steadfast success as a source of inspiration. Your brand is a noble role model within your industry.
Patriarch archetypes do well in a luxury industry because of their dignified air. People trust that your business knows what's cutting edge and worth their time.
Patriarchs are great at being leaders and guiding their clientele with a steady hand. If you play your cards right, your customer base will trust that you're going to steer them in the right direction.
Be wary of your leadership coming off as condescending. It's an important distinction in your messaging that you are a guiding force, not an arrogant ruler.
Famous Patriarch: Rolex
3. The Angel
PURE • INSPIRING • NOSTALGIC
Your customers rely on your business to be optimistic and pure. Your brand is built around spreading joy and inspiring others.
Angel brands are cheery, innocent, and pretty rare. It's tough to navigate a brand that's both benevolent and proactive. But it can be done. Coca-Cola is a perfect example of prominent advertising that does wholesome super well.
Angels are able to pull off whimsical and nostalgic messaging better than anyone else. Being goofy and generally delightful will make your customers excited to hear from you again.
A common pitfall for Angels will be appearing juvenile rather than innocent. Your brand should be going for timeless over trendy, so don't follow whatever 'kids these days' are up to. Follow your angelic moral compass.
Famous Angel: Coca-Cola
4. The Enchantress
MYSTERIOUS • ALLURING • EXCLUSIVE
Your brand is mysterious and tempting. Customers want to be a part of your club so that they feel 'in' on the secret.
With a name like Enchantress, you may think that these brands are typically feminine and seductive, like Victoria's Secret. But that's not necessarily true.
Although Victoria's Secret is a good example, there are a wide variety of brands who stay tempting without crossing into raunchy.
Apple is an Enchantress to look up to because their advertising is always alluring. When Apple releases its newest gadget—there's a line out the door.
A great thing about being an Enchantress brand is that you have built-in momentum in your marketing. When people are on the edge of their seat waiting to hear from you, you don't have to worry about making a splash.
Make sure you don't go quiet on your audience. If you don't give your customers anything to look forward to, you can appear aloof. Or worse, you'll be forgotten.
Make sure your messaging is alluring rather than vague as heck!
Famous Enchantress: Apple
5. The Actress
GLAMOUROUS • SOPHISTICATED • BOLD
Glamour is your brand's top export. You are sophisticated but not quite intimidating or cold. You're seen as a brand that is innovative while always retaining a strong emotional connection with your audience.
Because Actress brands are all about glamour and drama, they're often luxury or beauty businesses. But no matter what industry you're in, your attitude is bold and unapologetic. You are emotional about your customers and they reciprocate your feelings.
A benefit about being an Actress brand means that you can pull off a daring and dramatic ad better than your competitors.
of all of the perfume and car ads you've seen that have classic music and moody lighting—they're total actresses.
Appearing self-absorbed is the biggest challenge Actress brands face.
It's easy to get carried away with the exciting happenings of your brand. But make sure you still feel emotionally available to customers.
Famous Actress: Chanel
6. The Troubadour
EXCITING • GENUINE • JOYFUL
Your brand is straight-up fun! Your joyous biz keeps you flexible and exciting to your customers. You can take whatever comes because you've got a comeback prepared.
Troubadour brands are a total blast—but that's not to say that they're immature. Your customers are looking for a brand to cut through the fog of blah messaging that they're inundated with. Cue the Troubadour with their bouncy messaging and bright visuals.
The great thing about being a Troubadour is that being chipper and bright comes across as genuine. You can joke around and be goofy with your customers without it seeming off-brand.
Appearing grown-up can be a big challenge for an archetype that's so funny and fresh.
When it comes time for a hard sell tactic or crisis management, make sure that you've got on-brand but appropriate messaging tools in your arsenal.
Famous Troubadour: Lego
7. The Jester
WITTY • DARING • PROVOCATIVE
Your brand is witty and daring. Throughout different seasons and happenings, your customers can look to your business for a good attitude and fun offerings.
Unlike the Troubadour, the Jester is provocative and has some spicy substance.
Old Spice is a total Jester because their wit is edgier than something you would see from a Troubadour like Lego. And Old Spice's color palette isn't crazy bright and fun. Old Spice is funny but keeps it edgy.
Being a Jester makes you super likable. Your customer is looking for wit to keep their attention and a product they can get excited about. A Jester is the perfect package for a consumer who is bored of their same old song and dance.
A tricky aspect of the Jester life is striking a balance between embracing irony and coming across as out-of-touch.
Be careful taking it over the edge: you don't want your sarcasm to end up feeling more caustic than witty.
Famous Jester: Old Spice
HEROIC • CONSISTENT • STRONG
Your business is confident and heroic. Customers look to you in times of uncertainty because your brand is consistent and strong.
Warrior brands have the leadership skills of a Patriarch but they aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. Customers want a brand that motivates them to be better in many aspects of their life.
Nike does an awesome job at inspiring their customers to be fit and have a badass attitude.
Being a warrior means that your brand exudes strength. This helps your customers like and trust you because they're sure that your brand is here to stay.
Being a warrior can be difficult because you can feel emotionally vague.
Stay tuned in with your customers even though it might be easy to put on the tough guy facade. Warriors can seem closed off without some emotional language sprinkled into their messaging.
Famous Warrior: Nike
9. The Queen
Where the Actress archetype is dramatic, you are cool and collected. Your brand is social and never frenzied. You have fun with your audience, but you never lack substance or grace.
The Queen archetype is exactly what you would think. Think of an actual queen. She is graceful and calm but definitely sympathetic and kind to her audience. No matter what field you're in, you can be a Queen archetype. You just have to be collected and confident.
Being a Queen brand means that you're a calming presence for your customers. While your audiences deal with their day-to-day stresses, your brand is an aspirational reminder to them to keep calm and carry on.
Make sure that you're keeping up the energy in your marketing. Being cool as a cucumber might make it easy to fall into a sleepy tone. Keep your messaging engaging with powerful calls to action.
Famous Queen: Dove
10. The Mother Earth
STABLE • RELIABLE • CONSISTENT
Your business is stable and nurturing. You provide good advice and consistent quality for your customers and they appreciate your reliability.
Your brand is the epitome of providing substance for your customer. Nothing you do should be vapid or chaotic because you are always thinking about how to serve your customer.
Mother Earths are brands that make their customers really feel taken care of. This nurturing quality is essential as customers typically feel like businesses take advantage of them in the marketplace.
It's essential that your customers trust you. And luckily for you, your nurturing personality makes that trust much easier to achieve. Consumers often feel that companies rarely have their back in tough times. You can show them how important they are to you and your business.
Because your brand is at the far end of the substance spectrum, keep your capabilities in mind. Make sure that you're still letting your customers know that you know your stuff. Even though you're one of the most comforting brands out there, you're still serious about business.
Famous Mother Earth: Volvo
11. The Matriarch
ORGANIZED • MASTERFUL • IN CHARGE
You are organized and masterful. Your brand always has a plan and your customers appreciate the way that you easily take charge.
A Matriarch has substance and by no means have their heads in the cloud. When your customers interact with you, they want to know that you have your sh*t together.
Matriarchs are great at taking care of all the details while their clients are enjoying themselves. And that kind of good karma keeps people coming back.
The great thing about being a Matriarch is that you can tell it like is. Because your dream client is looking for expertise, your brand can feel comfortable about being honest and taking charge.
But having so much knowledge can be a double-edged sword. You're able to control your image, but don't try to control your environment too much. This could come across as overbearing. Keep your messaging refined instead of frenzied to avoid a controlling vibe.
Famous Matriarch: Mercedes-Benz
12. The Sage
MENTORING • INNOVATIVE • INTELLECTUAL
You are wise like the Magician, but offer the mentoring of a Mother Earth. Your brand uses its expertise to pass on lessons to the community it serves. Combining your intellect with substance helps customers relate to you.
Sages are the smartest helpers you could ask for. They're always looking to serve, and their innovation makes them extremely helpful.
The word 'mentor' is key for the Sage brand and should be used to your advantage. Customers are looking for a relatable guide, and Sages are here for them.
A great aspect of the Sage archetype is the substance that you bring to your expertise. You are able to integrate kindness into otherwise lofty and dry topics. Think about how innovative Google is, yet how they're still accessible to everyone.
The difficulty of being a Sage brand is striking a balance between being welcoming and innovative. It might be easier to leave your customers out of the loop, but a Sage brand prioritizes education over ease.
Famous Sage: Google
Which brand archetype are you?
Each archetype has its strengths—which are you?
Take the quiz!
You've dug deep and found your archetype—now go forth and conquer!
See how you can implement this archetype in your visual branding, messaging, and promotions. Using the perceptions of your business as a tool to find your dream customer is savvy and necessary.
Feeling like you need call in the experts?
Now go rock it!
Hoot Design Co. is a marketing, branding, and design agency located in Columbia, MO. We specialize in creating a custom and comprehensive marketing strategy centered around your business's unique strengths and educating you with the tools you need from day one. From logo design to branding, website design and execution, and ongoingsocial media marketing and content marketing strategies in-person and through online courses, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.