As Within, So Without – Brand Archetypes and Your Business

Much like people have personalities, so does your business. ⁠⠀

Think of it this way: your business, whatever it may be, is your brainchild. It has its own personality, purpose, desires, and needs. More importantly, it has its own RESONANCE — its way of being in a relationship with your clients. ⁠⠀
Archetypes embody universal stories that all humans share and the roles we play in these stories. ⁠⠀
Much like humans can be Lovers, Heroes, Outlaws, etc. ⁠⠀

So can businesses have an archetypal quality to how they show up in the world through their services/products and their brand identity. ⁠⠀
In short, an archetype — before you even get to brand identity as in your logo, color scheme, etc. — allows your clients/customers understand what your business is all about, and as such, it will attract a certain kind of client and be resonant with that market. ⁠⠀
Archetypes reflect what your business is all about, its purpose, desires, needs, and challenges. ⁠Knowing your business archetype allows you to get very clear on your marketing because archetypes lie at the core of your business. Knowing this will help you with all the other spokes of your business from the creation of your services/products, your company culture, and your marketing. ⁠⠀

What is a brand? ⁠

The brand is the difference between your can of soda and your Coke/Pepsi. It’s why you choose between one or the other. ⁠It’s the difference between Ringly Bros Circus and Cirque du Soleil. Both are a circus, but they are not the same. ⁠

Your brand is your relationship cord with your client.

Some say it’s not what you say it is, but what your market says your business is. ⁠From an esoteric perspective, your brand and the archetype that aligns with it gives it something other that makes it stand out in the market. It gives it personality, a story, and a resonance that will align with your market. ⁠

But remember that archetypes are not stereotypes. They are multi-layered. They evolve and deepen. Stereotypes are limiting, but not archetypes. ⁠

Your brand will evolve as you and your business evolve. ⁠

Understanding what your business’ Brand Archetype will help you keep the development of your business connected to something other, going beyond marketing trends. ⁠

Branding involves more than just business and marketing knowledge. It’s about working with psychology to understand the emotional connection that your business establishes with your market.

Brand Archetypes give you a compass in which to understand the personality, story, and purpose of your business. It will inform everything that will come after it. ⁠

Your marketing doesn’t determine your brand archetype. ⁠Your brand archetype determines your marketing, your company culture, your business philosophy, and even what you create and produce.

It’s your lighthouse in the midst of a changing sea.

Let’s do an exercise:⁠
Think about what comes to mind when you see these names: ⁠⠀
Rolling Stones — The Beatles⁠⠀
Green Day — Dave Matthews Band⁠⠀
⁠Lady Gaga — Beyoncé

Or even: ⁠⠀
Brad Pitt — Paul Rudd⁠⠀
⁠Marvel — DC Comics⁠⠀
⁠Disney — Netflix⁠
All are successful and are their own brand. But when we think of Brad Pitt vs Paul Rudd, we know there’s a difference in emotional connection. Each tells a different story, despite both being actors. ⁠⠀
Each product/service grabs us because they embody an archetype. ⁠⠀
We have always used archetypes in advertising. Think about the Green Giant, which reflects the archetype of the Green Man. But going beyond symbols, your brand archetype encompasses the symbolic significance of your business. ⁠⠀

Marketing the usefulness of your product is great, but that’s just half of the job. Working with your brand archetype allows you to stand out in a way that is aligned with who you and your business are. ⁠⠀
Remember, business is deeply personal because it’s made up of humans with their needs for emotional connection and meaning. ⁠⠀
Now think about your business.

What do you think is your business archetype?

We see this often enough with some of our clients. They come to us for a project and when we ask them about their business and what they represent, they are often at a loss for words. ⁠⠀
Yes, they can say what they do, but they have a harder time connecting to the story and the bigger vision of their business. ⁠⠀
Others will use cliché words to describe what they want to be. ⁠⠀
Thought-leader is a current favorite, alongside, change-maker. ⁠But being a thought leader is not an archetype. ⁠⠀
It’s an empty adjective if one doesn’t connect to something deeper and bigger than this description. ⁠⠀
Now understanding what is the archetype behind your business will help you get clearer and thus more resonant with your market. It gives it meaning, story, and a frequency that informs everything about your business. ⁠⠀
Think of some thought leaders that you admire. ⁠⠀
Say MLK, Dalai Lama, Bill Gates, Ariana Huffington, Brené Brown, Oprah, and the list can go on and on. ⁠⠀
All in their own way are thought-leaders shaking up our cultural status quo, but behind being thought-leaders they embody a different kind of archetype that gives their persona/personality something other that enables them to connect to large groups of people in a way that is different from each, and yet makes them also thought-leaders. ⁠⠀
Working to uncover what is your brand archetype will help you go beyond cliché descriptions and give your business, your marketing materials, your messaging something that comes alive and is in alignment with your and your business’ purpose.

Businesses are made of people. People are not rational 100% of the time. People make decisions that are emotional and connected to story and resonance. ⁠⠀
In actuality, business is deeply personal and connected to story, because human beings are first and foremost storytellers. ⁠⠀
Brand Archetypes help you understand the soul of your business that is both rational and emotional too. Understanding your business brand archetype is an exercise that marries imagination and psychology. ⁠⠀
A successful business is not just a product or service. It’s a culture. Your business brand is a repository of meaning and value.⁠
Above all else, humans and today’s consumers want more than anything an experience of meaning and value, not just the product itself. ⁠⠀
Brand Archetypes help you understand the core meaning behind your business and how to use this in resonant marketing and product/service creation. ⁠

Your business has many parts and at its core is — YOU. ⁠⠀

Putting it all together is hard because we are often too close to see the big picture. We need others to help us see the potentials and blindspots we are missing. ⁠⠀
The marriage of psychology and brand archetypes to help you envision your business brand from a more holistic perspective. ⁠⠀

Understanding your business Brand Archetype is an invaluable tool that allows you to:⁠⠀

  • Develop better products and services⁠⠀
  • Create a brand identity that is aligned and cohesive⁠⠀
  • Structure your messaging in a way that is authentic to your business and its purpose⁠⠀
  • Be more confident in your business strategy without the loss of focus⁠⠀

Lastly, business is deeply personal. ⁠⠀

Your story, your business are intimately connected.

The marriage of psychology and archetypes to help you see your business, your brand from a different perspective. One that will clarify for the road ahead, while helping you stay aligned with your business. ⁠⠀
It takes away the guesswork, the flip-flopping between the latest marketing strategies. It helps you stay grounded and focused on what matters for you and your business. ⁠

No matter what kind of business you have, you are both the mother and father of this business. ⁠Your business is your brainchild, but it also carries with its own purpose and personality. ⁠⠀
That’s what crafting a brand strives to do: bring out the personality of your business and create a resonance with the market. ⁠It’s vital to explore how you, your story and your business intersect. It’s through this process — Brand Genesis — that we use to arrive at your Brand Archetype.

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