How to Put Your Brand Archetypes to Work

Build your brand archetype on universal truths, feelings and stories instead of stereotypes

Now that you have had a crash course in understanding what an archetype is, and how to figure out your own brand archetype, let’s dig a little deeper in how to use this gold mine. (For a quick review, here’s the first post in the series.)

Because our recognition and understanding of archetypes is “pre-programmed” into our consciousness, it is very easy for us to connect with or avoid others when we experience them.

Archetypes, their patterns and behaviors can be as familiar as seeing the “class clown” sharing an amazing comedy performance on stage to thundering applause, joining hundreds of other like-minded folks in fund-raising walks for favorite charities, or caring for a beloved family member. Unlike simplistic cultural stereotypes, archetypes are rooted in universal truths and stories that are rich and diverse.

When using archetypes for branding and business, it helps to understand the basic motivations for each of the primary archetypes. There are 12 basic human desires and needs that map to each of these:

As we are all different, our desires, needs and motivations will all be different. Since we usually have a dominant archetype, or two blended together, supported by subtypes, infinite unique variations can be created. My core desires of understanding, power and freedom may will be expressed very differently than for a person who craves mastery, belonging and service.

Snarky Tea sampler box

Snarky Tea sampler box

Snarky Teas is a fun example of how two different archetypes can be blended to work together. Snarky teas is a mash-up of the rebel and the caregiver archetypes, with a big dose of “your bff next door”.

Many holistic health and wellness brands blend the innocent and caregiver archetypes, with a dash of everyman/woman thrown in for extra seasoning. Lots of soothing, comforting colors and wise guru-sounding copy. Not Snarky. They revel in being “rebels for a cause” – improving your health through their magical blend of tasty, healthy teas and sassy brand voice.

Snarky Tea card content

I received a gift box of Snarky Teas for Christmas from a good friend who has the rebel/maverick as her primary archetype. Here’s a picture of the card they enclose in the sampler. An attitude that is certainly not my grandmother’s proper cup of tea – which goes to prove they have nailed their brand archetype. Their audience loves Snarky's brand voice sass and rebelliousness, and the pops of bright girly power colors!

The moral of the Snarky Tea story

Like a tuning fork, I will resonate and be attracted to people who share the same archetypal characteristics, and not connect to people with archetypes I am less attracted to or are the opposite. The ones that I resonate with are “my tribe.” They “get me and my brand.” We speak the same lingo and share similar stories.

The bottom line: Brand archetypes are used the same way so that you and your business can attract, relate and connect to the people who are a good fit for your tribe.

Example: Explorer brand archetype

Explorer archetype
The explorer craves learning and growing through adventure and exploration.

If you are an explorer or one the explorer/adventurer-related subtypes, you enjoy adventures and new experiences and see all of life as a journey of exploration.

Explorer Subtypes

Adventurer, pioneer, renaissance man/woman, seeker, settler, innovator, wanderer, nomad, vagabond


Core Desire

Having the freedom to find out who you are by exploring the world and beyond.

Your Goal

Live life to its fullest.

Power Words

Independence, experience, focus, drive, self-sufficiency, integrity, possibility, growth, discovery, ambition, bravery, freedom, non-conformity and the ability to be yourself.

Your Strategy

Seek out new experiences. Travel and explore often to push your growth and learning. Become inspirational to others by sharing your experiences. Push your own comfort zone. Celebrate the journey.

Your Themes

Freedom and individuality

Master Brand Models

Jeep, Patagonia, REI, North Face, NASA, YETI, Amazon, the United States of America, the Star Trek series, Amelia Earhart, National Geographic, Bear Grylls, and Indiana Jones from the Indiana Jones movie series

Your Story Plot

How I escaped or found my own path.

Your Life Lessons

Find different ways of expressing yourself and experiencing joy that do not rely on new adventures and external experiences. Develop internal reflection and the ability to plan for the future. Learn to appreciate life’s little moments.

Your mottos

“Don’t fence me in.” “You only get to live once. Make it count.”


Self-motivation and ambition


Adaptability, versatility, sharp awareness, enjoys learning about the world using his or her five senses. Comfortable with the unknown.


No patience for the routine and mundane. Can feel internally empty, since he or she is dependent on external factors to feel joy. Lack of planning.

Your Fears

Becoming trapped in dull routine. Losing your freedom and independence. Boredom.

Your Shadow Side

Selfishness. Struggles with making commitments. Needs absolute freedom and can’t be tied down. Can lose interest quickly if there is no direct connection to achieving a goal or achievement.

Your Brand Voice

Resourceful, open-minded, independent, curious, confident

Your Explorer Customers

Either adventuresome and energetic; or searching and restless. They may also feel trapped/bored, alienated or suffocated in their current situation.


Your Customers Feel Empowered to:

"Forge your own path." Empowered to take risks, go on life-changing adventures, alive, “no boundaries or limits,” challenge personal routines, experience more authentic and fulfilling living.

Use your archetypal characteristics, power words and voice to connect authentically with others

Archetypes provide useful navigation in communicating and interacting with others. By getting to know yourself better, you can become more flexible and adaptable in interacting with others.

By recognizing your brand’s archetypes, you can work with your brand’s strengths, values and purpose in ways that will benefit your business. Use your business and personal archetypes to align and build leadership, communication and collaboration within your organization and communities. By looking at the shadow side, you can identify negative traits, problem areas and blind spots that limit you and your growth.

Brand archetypes are ideal for attracting and building lasting relationships with your audience. Iconic brands use their archetypes consistently to connect to their customers, partners and communities. Look closely at the brands that you admire, and you will see their archetypes in consistent expression and action.

We all experience close ties and strong emotional attachments to brands we care about. Our emotional connections to these brands are brought to life by the stories, values and purpose they share with us. Brands that are unclear or confused about their archetypes try to please everyone and end up pleasing no one. This is why it is important to narrow your brand archetypes down to one dominant one, with one or two supporting archetypes that can be used to create a truly original, one-of-a-kind brand personality and voice.

When you listen to your audience, and can truly understand their desires and needs, you can connect with them through the power of your archetype’s voice and vision. This means you will need to do work to understand the main archetypes that motivate your audience and align your brand archetype with theirs. It is worth taking the extra time to include delving into your audience’s brand archetypes when you are exploring and building your customer/audience avatars or personas. Archetypes add a richness and liveliness that take your customer personas way beyond physical demographics.

 By tapping into your archetypes, you can create stories that will connect you to your audience, much like the ancient storytellers who passed down the heroes and villains of legends that still captivate us today.


Maja Haloway

As a director at Xylina, Maja helps clients find their ideal audience and connect to them through the right branding, messaging and marketing channels. Maja holds an MBA degree from St. Thomas University. She can be found at marketing, entrepreneur or techie-related meetups in the Portland OR/Vancouver WA area.

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