THE HERO – Brand Archetype & Leadership

We need heroes.

The word Hero evokes images of Indiana Jones, Superman, Batwoman, Wonder Woman, and other larger than life beings able to make what no regular human could achieve. Or we hear playing inside our heads the melodic voice of Bonnie Tyler crooning about needing a strong hero, fresh from the fight in her ‘Holding out for a Hero’ 1984 hit single.

The Hero archetype is ancient, harking back to the mythic stories of Hercules, Theseus and the Minotaur, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, down to the King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. The Hero archetype carries with it a certain allure that inspires us to save the day and make the world a better place.

Of all the archetypes, the Hero is perhaps the one that is more intertwined with our western culture, and one that we unconsciously feel that embodies the epitome of leadership. During a global paradigm shift, the Hero archetype serves as an inspiration to help us develop our discipline, harness our energies and focus on helping bring about the change we want and to face the challenges that lie on our path.

As we move into unknown territory, it’s the Hero archetype that helps us acquire new skills and agility to face each presenting problem. While it may be cliché, Bonnie Tyler isn’t wrong: we are holding out for a hero.

Motivations

The motivation of the HERO archetype is to prove oneself through courageous acts and triumph over adversity. The goal here is to improve the world through their actions and mastery. ⁠The HERO engages with the world through becoming stronger, more disciplined, and harnessing its resources with competence.

The HERO archetype activates in us our protective instinct towards those who are more fragile and unable to help themselves.

Other related archetypes:⁠⠀

  • Warrior⁠⠀
  • Athlete⁠⠀
  • Team Player⁠⠀
  • Rescuer⁠

These similar archetypes are nuances of the HERO, revealing different facets of this quintessential archetype. Nevertheless, at the core of each of these related archetypes inhabits the heartbeat of the HERO, ready to face the challenges of our timers.

Challenges

The challenges of the HERO archetype reflect both the growing edges you have within your business and self, but also what you are helping your clients tackle and transform in their lives.

The challenges aspects of the HERO archetype already reveal our cultural misunderstanding of what true heroism and leadership entails. We see the shadow aspects of the HERO infest the boardrooms and the government halls.

Challenges:⁠

  • Arrogance⁠
  • Fear of vulnerability⁠⠀
  • Tempted by power⁠⠀
  • Need for there to always be an enemy⁠⠀

In a culture that glorifies war, using its language and mindset to address pandemics and health crisis, reveals how much work we have to undertake to recalibrate our understanding of how the HERO should embody leadership in these times.

Those who represent the HERO in their business are in the frontline of needing to transform how this archetype is to lead going forward in both life and business.

Heroism is only as good as it doesn’t give in to the temptation of arrogance, reckless bravado, and presumptuous bullying. Inherent in this lack of balance lies the trap that many heroes have fallen into, where they are seen as villains, while they think of themselves as heroes.

Businesses that embody this archetype need to keep a consistent check on how others are receiving their behavior while also being be held accountable to not fall into this age-old trap.

Strengths

The strengths of the HERO are your business magnetism, the elements that allow you to connect with your clients at an emotional level. These elements need to figure prominently in your products, services, and brand identity.⁠⠀

The strengths of the HERO archetype reflect what your business naturally has and should figure prominently in your services, products, branding, and customer service. These lie at the core of the HERO archetype and should be explored in more depth in terms of leadership now.

Strengths:⁠⠀

  • Courage⁠⠀
  • Pro-active⁠⠀
  • Competence⁠⠀
  • Endurance⁠

Part of the leadership allure of the HERO archetype is its ability to inspire heroism and a sense of being part of a worthwhile cause. Products and services awaken in its clients/customers the feeling that ‘they can be all that they can be.’ It inspires and helps them develop their capacities fully while giving them a sense of accomplishment.

Healthy HERO archetype businesses reveal their leadership in how they bring out the best in teams, in their employees, and their customer base. Their leadership style focuses on taking care of themselves and each other. There’s a sense of shared pride in taking care of what needs to be done, and of discipline and commitment.

The HERO archetype leads by example, and as such, it needs to be held accountable for its actions and have some time for self-reflection, to not give itself to its shadow.

These times of collective paradigm shift brings with it an opportunity to each of the core brand archetypes. Being aware of what is your brand archetype will help you steer your business or organization with a fresh new take on leadership — the kind that is deeply needed now while staying aligned with the gifts of your brand archetype.

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