Brand archetypes

Have been reading about brand archetypes:

And I couldn’t help but wonder whether this a standard practice in branding :thinking:?

The reason I’m dubious is because, while on the surface it seems very clearcut as to what brands adhere to which archetype, it does seem somewhat subjective and it varys from source to source.

Do you use such a tool yourself or see merit in it?

Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it true

Never read such gibberish in all my life.

How do I unread things?

I should be clearer.

This is known as paredolia. Or psychological attribution.

It’s delusional.

And from what I can make out it’s copied verbatim from other sources.

All designed to dredge up clicks.

Apophenia… That’s what I was trying to think of

My opinion is that almost anything based on the work of Carl Jung has its roots in indecipherable nonsense.

Successful companies develop personalities — intentionally or not. Some companies nurture their brand personalities. Others don’t. Harley Davidson’s outlaw personality is a prime example of a carefully nurtured brand personality.

However, breaking down these personalities into 12 categories seems simplistic and ill-conceived. Coming up with even more categories and finding companies that fit would be easy.

I think there are as many different company personalities as there are different companies. Each one is unique (just like people) — a combination of a million different traits. But it’s a mistake to take one characteristic within a personality, assign it to a category, and then reduce and define that personality by that one, single trait.

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Exactly. If it were as simple as 12 distinct categories, we’d all be out of a job, given that our job is to take brand uniqueness and communicate it.

Thanks all for saving me the trouble of reading that. Minutes of my life I don’t need to waste. LOL!

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I think it makes sense to have a clearly defined personality of the brand, to keep the messaging and tone-of-voice consistent. How would you go about packaging a brands personality up, so that it could be passed off to a third-party and be understood and implemented?

I think the personality of a brand needs to be experienced before it’s possible to fully understand it — especially from the perspective of the emotional qualities the brand personality evokes. A description of a personality can never be anything other than superficial. Even worse, a one-word description of a personality is all but useless except in the broadest sense.

In addition, I think the brand needs to reflect the personality of the company and its products in a way that is realistic and natural — not invented. The brand needs to evolve naturally with some nudging here and there at critical points.

Here’s a personal case in point. A few years ago, we were developing a campaign for a government agency that sold hunting permits. Sales were declining like they were across the rest of the country.

Their previous marketing consisted of perfunctory press releases saying when the application period began with a few mentions of how well the elk and deer herds were doing.

We told them they needed to quit selling the permits and, instead, sell the image in an emotion-driven, first-person narrative. The image was one of man against quarry — a predator stalking its prey. An ancient instinct passed from father to son over countless generations. We might work in cities but our soul is in the wild with our prey. We’re one with the cougars and the wolves — apex predators who are born to hunt.

The higher-ups at the government agency said it was corny, overly sentimental, and didn’t mention much of anything about when or how to apply for a permit or how well the deer herds were doing due to the agency’s management efforts.

We ended up contacting a video production company, then spent several hours talking to their creative director about our vision. They got it and made a short video of rugged, unshaven men packing their gear just before dawn on a cold morning. The colors were muted. The video was grainy. The audio consisted of short, gruff sentences. Anyway, it conveyed the personality we had in mind.

We showed it to the government agency higher-ups, then just let them talk. They immediately launched into reminiscing about their hunting trips and the times they’d endured this and conquered that. The testosterone in the room was flowing freely before we reminded them that no one in the room was talking about how well the deer herds were doing or when the application dates started or how to apply for a permit.

They finally sort of got it. Hunting license applications increased significantly that year, interrupting a 15-year downward trend. The next year, they reverted to form with their press releases and the decline resumed.

Anyway, my point is that no matter how carefully we tried to explain the image and how it would emotionally resonate with the target audience, they didn’t get it. They needed to experience it first before it clicked.

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I like the way you break down the gibberish.

I took one look at the material on that website and rolled my eyes.

It’s unreal what people can put on the internet and gather a following with.

Anyway - just wanted to say good job breaking it down in to why it’s gibberish. I was going to but I wasn’t that bothered.

I was just thinking it’s definitely assigning patterns and meanings to things that are completely unrelated to each other. Like seeing a face in the clouds.

Or watching my favourite comedy show Ancient Aliens. Instead of celebrating the genius of people, there’s simply no way we could move rocks on our own, Aliens had to have travelled lightyears to Earth to show us and help us move rocks around.

I was at the Pyramids of Giza, and stood by the Sphynx. They’re not ‘that’ big.

There was one temple built that they insisted must have had technological help with.
And I looked it up and researched it while watching the show. Sure enough, it took 200,000 people and 50 years. Hardly relying on alien technology there.

Anyway - I just wanted to compare this ‘archetype’ nonsense with Ancient Aliens.
Did my own little apophenia there.

It’s quite easy to do, create emerging patterns to fit your own goals.

It happens every day. Like if you’re running late you always seem to get all the red lights. But the truth is you probably get as many red lights as you do if you’re early, you just don’t care that you have a red light and ignore it.

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That’s because the human brain is hard-wired to find pattern and commonality in things. Helps us make sense of the world – order from chaos. Humans abhor a chaos. Oftentimes, what we do, as designers, is to try to create new neural pathways and disrupt the cognitive status quo. Change the pattern in order to change the behaviour.

Ah, I know what just happened here; I picked the wrong orifice to talk out if again, didn’t I?!

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:rofl: I think we all do that.

Thanks for taking the time to write all that, why do you think it is that they reverted back to doing their press-releases after your campaign was so successful?

What do you mean by that - I think it’s easy to relate to a story about hunting, even if you’ve never been hunting before, but what if the brand is selling a product completely foreign to you or something abstract and B2B that you can never really experience per se?

What likely happened with the elk/deer story is that they were emotionally driven by the advert presented to them that they went with it.

The licenses soared, the population declined.

So they reverted to the old way, as it drove fewer sales and balanced the elk/deer population.

I think @Just-B had a similar story before about how a government agency and fishing licenses.

There’s an inherent cost of increasing hunting licenses, more land being trudged on, more animals being slaughtered, more camping sites to clean, and more fires being set. More trash to remove and so on.

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I think when just B gets back, you’re gonna find it wasn’t anything about land usage or herd strength.
Just a gut feeling…

This is a tangent, so I’ll keep it short.

Many U.S. states sell hunting permits in lotteries. There aren’t enough of some species to satisfy demand, so people pay a fee to enter the state-sponsored lotteries (called drawings).

In some instances, applicants must also purchase a general hunting license before applying. If an applicant draws out, they need to pay still another fee for the actual permit for that species.

The campaign’s purpose wasn’t to sell more permits since they always sell out. The objective was to get more people to enter the drawings.

Each year, the state issues an odds report on the chance during the previous year of drawing a permit. Since the campaign was more successful than anticipated, the odds report showed that the drawing odds for that year had decreased significantly due to the increased number of applicants.

The lower odds resulted in blow-back from hunters who complained that their chances of drawing a permit were lower. The government agency decided they had made a mistake in getting more people to apply for permits when there were already too few permits to meet demand.

General interest in hunting is declining across the U.S., but interest in big game hunting in the western U.S. still outpaces the supply. In addition to getting more people to apply for permits, they wanted to reverse a downward trend while hoping to push more people toward hunting other species, like ducks, geese, and some upland game species where plenty of hunting opportunity still exists and where demand is low.


Steve Jobs touched on that issue.

Creating a demand for a product that’s “completely foreign” or “abstract” to the target audience necessitates familiarizing that audience with the product in a way that satisfies a latent demand, whether practical or emotional.

B2B is a bit different in that the practical to emotional ratio shifts more toward the practical, but the basic problem is the same — familiarizing the target audience with the product or service in a way that creates the demand.

Whether easy or difficult, there’s really no other way to do it. The challenge is figuring out how, and that’s a case-by-case problem, and what ad agencies are paid to untangle.

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Think Ford might have said more assembly workers. He basically had the ideas of a conveyor type system to speed up assembly lines.

Benz was the first to create a car.
Although goes back da Vinci…

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Yup, a single cylinder, two-stroke engine designed by Carl Benz and mounted on the back of this contraption in 1885. I wonder how many still exist.

I wonder what people thought when they saw that.

Didn’t someone have to walk in front of the car waving a flag or something…

Apparently the first ever speeding ticket was issued to one of them for doing 8mph – four times the legal limit!

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