If you own a craft spirits brand, you are likely both imaginative and idealistic. Possessing these traits helps you navigate the challenges of the craft spirits industry. They also align you with the Magician archetype.
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung was fascinated by archetypes, or the idea of recurring motifs, ideas, or themes in the human psyche and human culture. He described many different archetypes that he theorized underpinned all human endeavor, from family and social bonds, to religion, to business and marketing.
While archetypes started out as a means to explain the collective unconscious, Jung’s archetypal theories can also be applied to the development of brands. Many that we love, like Apple, Google, Disney, and Jeep, are clearly linked to one or more Jungian archetypes. There are 12 archetypes that are particularly relevant to modern brands: the Innocent, Everyman (Regular Person), Hero, Outlaw, Explorer, Creator, Ruler, Magician, Lover, Caregiver, Jester, and Sage.
Why Use Archetypes?
Simply put, understanding your brand archetype gives your brand a personality. That archetype doesn’t have to match your character as the founder or owner. Successful brands use the shared expectations and traits of archetypes to define how they communicate to their target audiences and create content with impact.
Using archetypes in marketing unifies the marketing team and creates a deeper connection with consumers through shared emotions and experiences. Choosing an archetype also gives your brand a baseline for creating a specific voice and tone. The chosen archetype for your company needs to be considered in all content creation for your brand. For instance, if you select the Jester archetype, your social media content would have a joyful, mischievous, comical, and irreverent voice. If you choose the Sage archetype, your content marketing will be educational and informative.
How To Choose Your Brand Archetype
Your brand archetype doesn’t have to mimic the traits of your ideal customer; instead, it appeals to your potential customer. All 12 archetypes are designed to appeal to consumers in some way. Maybe it’s feelings of intrigue from an archetype like the Outlaw, or a vicarious connection to the Hero. Many factors go into choosing a brand archetype: product cost and type of product, location, distribution channels, and more.
For example, if your product is uber high-end, the Jester archetype will likely be challenging to execute when designing a luxury label with embellishments. If you aim to have your beverage in cocktail clubs, an archetype such as the Innocent may not appeal to the table service crowd looking to get rowdy — perhaps the Outlaw would be best for this scenario.
It is common for brands to blend multiple archetypes. After all, the archetypes often share traits. The Outlaw and the Explorer both take the path less traveled. The Hero and the Caregiver are both caring. Keep in mind common characteristics when blending archetypes. Brands that combine vastly different archetypes (think: 70% Caregiver and 30% Outlaw) need to handle marketing carefully to avoid confusing the audience and end up with ineffective and contradicting content marketing.
Brand Archetypes in Design
Participating in a brand workshop before establishing your brand guidelines and designing your logo and label helps align the look and feel of your brand with one of Jung’s 12 personalities. Consistency is easier if you keep your archetype in mind from the beginning of brand building.
If you already have visual brand guidelines for your brand, choose an archetype that falls within that visual system. For instance, if your branding and labels are idyllic and innocent, the Regular Person archetype is right for you. If your branding is rugged, tough, and daring — you guessed it — the Outlaw is right for you.
How To Use Archetypes in Marketing
Think of your archetype as the heartbeat of your brand. Whether communicating with customers on social media or creating content, consider the chosen archetype(s) in every instance. Beyond voice and tone, brands can use their archetypes for topic selection in content creation. For example, an Outlaw vodka brand might take the opportunity to create content and blog posts about dating app tips, best nightclubs, or taking a stance on vodka as a legitimate spirits category.
A brand with the Explorer archetype might create content centered around the desire to explore and discover in the form of photographic and written content like inspirational quotes, how-to exploration guides, or camping gear recommendations. Consumers who relate to the Creator archetype can be hard to market to because they often believe they can create something with more meaning. Prompting followers to post their own user-generated content and creations is an excellent way to tap into the Creator traits.
Consistency Is Key
The brands that consumers deeply connect with have clear and consistent archetypes. One of the most beloved yoga and exercise clothing companies of all time, lululemon, hits the mark with the constant usage of the Magician archetype. The brand conveys and transforms the consumer mindset through content that projects the values of inspiration and personal power.
One thing that lululemon has as a large corporation that many distilleries do not have is the bandwidth to frequently create thoughtful content that aligns with their archetype. Consistency can be difficult without bandwidth. It can be daunting to dig deep and take the time to consider every story, image, and word that is projected into the world from your brand.
Start small. The first step is determining your archetype. From there, make a goal to produce content for your website, blog, or social media that reflects your brand traits at least once per week. The more the archetype is used, the easier it becomes to tap into the unconscious collective — the part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which the individual is not aware, but can trigger deep connections and brand loyalty.
Karen Locke is founder of High-Proof Creative (highproofcreative.com), an award-winning branding and marketing agency for the craft spirits industry. She is author of High-Proof PDX: A Spirited Guide to Portland’s Craft Distilling Scene, was a food and drink writer, and worked at marketing agencies for nearly 10 years prior to launching High-Proof Creative. Karen has been published by GQ magazine, Bon Appétit, Sip Northwest, and more. Karen joined the Women’s Distillery Guild as a board member in 2018, and currently serves on the board of the Portland Culinary Alliance. She is also a member of the Women of the Vine & Spirits.
The 12 Brand Archetypes
Traits: Pure, optimistic, straightforward, moral, loyal, happy
Example: Old Parr, Talisker, Dove soap,
Coca-Cola, Cottonelle bathroom tissue
The Regular Person
Traits: Supportive, faithful, person next door, connects with others, warm
Example: Tito’s Handmade Vodka, George Dickel, Home Depot, eBay
Traits: Courageous, bold, honorable, strong, confident, inspirational
Example: Absolut Elyx, Nike, BMW, Duracell
Traits: Rebellious, iconoclastic, wild, fights authority
Example: Easy Rider Bourbon, Gem & Bolt Mezcal, Harley-Davidson,
Virgin (Richard Branson)
Traits: Restless, adventurous, ambitious, individualistic, independent, pioneering
Example: Westward Whiskey, Headwind Vodka, Jeep, Red Bull
Traits: Creative, imaginative, artistic, inventive, entrepreneurial, nonconformist
Example: Distillery of Modern Art, Lego, Crayola
Traits: Leader, responsible, organized, role model, administrator, orderly
Example: Tanqueray Gin, Crown Royal, Microsoft, Barclays, Mercedes-Benz
Traits: Visionary, charismatic, imaginative, romantic, spiritual, sentimental
Example: Monkey 47, Disney, Wizard of Oz, Apple
Traits: Passionate, sensual, intimate, romantic, warm, committed, idealistic
Example: Disaronno, Victoria’s Secret, Godiva Chocolate, Marie Claire
Traits: Caring, maternal, nurturing, selfless, generous, compassionate
Example: Pomp & Whimsy, Campbell’s Soup, Johnson & Johnson, Heinz
Traits: Fun, light-hearted, joyful, mischievous, comical, irreverent
Example: Aviation Gin, Copper Dog Scotch, Stoli, Ben & Jerry’s, IKEA
Traits: Knowledgeable, trusted source of information, wisdom, and intelligence, thoughtful, analytical, mentor, guru, advisor
Example: Singleton Scotch, Suntory Whisky, BBC, PBS, Google, Philips