How to Build Business Success with your Archetypes

Leverage your brand archetype throughout your business

Successful entrepreneurs and business leaders leverage the power behind their business archetypes. Business archetypes can be used to help understand the culture and values that impact business growth and success. They also provide useful reference points for conversations that engage and connect people, and also help manage change within your organization.

Your dominant brand or business archetype and the influencer archetypes can be used in a variety of ways, similar to other personality preference profiles such as the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Eneagram.

Corporate States of America

Graphics credit: Corporate States of America by steve-lovelace.com

Use your brand archetypes consistently in all of your marketing and communications

As we discussed in the previous blog post, you need to be consistent with how you use your dominant archetype and influencer archetype blend. Make sure that all of your business communications, content and marketing campaigns come from the heart of your brand. Your influencer archetypes are used to add differentiation, versatility and variety. Like a strong combination lock, your unique blend will protect your brand from competitors and help it to stand out from the millions of undifferentiated, confused business brands who don’t know who they are or what they stand for.

When used consistently, it is a like a lighthouse beacon that guides and attracts your audience to you. Be like Nike, Apple, Harley-Davidson and Starbucks and a host of other enduring brands. They have learned how to tap into their brand archetypes to build and maintain iconic brands that have withstood legions of competitors and changing markets.

young heroines

Build a thriving business around your dominant archetype

Your dominant and influencer archetypes can also help guide you in how to set up and run a successful business that fits you like Spandex sportswear. Use your archetype profile to help you identify your business culture’s strengths and weaknesses. Play to your dominant archetype’s core strengths. Your influencer archetypes support your dominant archetype. You feel comfortable tapping into the strengths of your secondary archetypes. While they may not be as strongly developed or feel as natural, they should be used with your dominant archetype to anchor your business model and decisions.

If your core archetype is an Explorer, you will excel in and thrive on navigating uncharted territory. You and your business will thrive on learning and growing through adventure and exploration. Your drive is to escape from mundane, boring routines, and show others how to create their own adventures. You feel most alive when you don’t feel fenced in or trapped. Your weakness and shadow side are lacking patience for the routine and mundane, lack of thorough planning and follow-through, making unrealistic, grandiose plans, or not being able to make commitments.

On the positive side, you will be the one to create and build new, innovative products and services that thrill your customers, like Zappos, North Face, Yeti and REI. Each one of these iconic Explorer brands has a unique personality that appeals to specific audiences. Zappos is fun and friendly, blending in elements of Caretaker, Everyman and Jester archetypes. North Face is built on serious research and testing, reflecting its Sage influencer archetype. Yeti’s rugged, “bear-proof’ products are also engineered using its Sage influencer, but they like to keep things authentic and off the beaten track with a healthy dose of Rebel/Maverick rule-breaking. REI is the everyman/communitarian version of the Explorer archetype, with its focus on community building, learning and environmental advocacy.

Use your secondary or influencer archetypes to develop needed skills and capabilities

Next take a look at the lower-ranking archetypes that are represented in your archetype profile. While you didn’t score as high in these archetypes, they represent opportunities to grow and stretch. The strengths and characteristics of these middle-ranking archetypes can be used to bust out of ruts or plateaus in your business.

Identify your business archetype’s weaknesses and shadow sides

Finally, the archetypes where you scored the lowest represent the undeveloped, weak or shadow sides of your business archetype. This archetype is typically the Achille’s heel of your business. Going back to our Explorer brand archetype example, you may be brilliant in coming up with new ideas for products and services, and not so good at following up with customers or keeping track of business details, like bookkeeping or taxes.

Here’s where you have some interesting options to consider. I’d like to introduce you to a simple but effective way of evaluating and ranking the challenges that I learned from Sandra Yancey, founder and CEO of the eWomen Network.

As a female entrepreneur, Sandra has plenty of “been there, done that” experience on the way to building a successful multi-million-dollar business. First, assess and rate what your top business priorities should be, using a simple 6-part technique

Sandra’s take is that there will always be things that you love doing as part of your business – these are the things that motivate you. And then there are the things that a real PIA to take care of – the tasks or projects that leave you feeling drained or burned-out. For our explorer archetype, this would probably be routine but critical tasks like paying bills, invoicing customers, and collecting the money. Her recommendation is simple and direct, like a smack upside the head. Sort the nasty task into one of three buckets:

  • #1. Ditch it. Ask yourself, is this truly necessary and important to my business success? If the task is a not-critical, but-nice-to-have kind of thing, ditch it. Ask Stephen Covey says, you want to focus your precious time and energy on the things that are most urgent and most important, not just the urgent little ankle-biters that waste so much of our time. (Zero email inbox, anyone? In my wildest dreams, and I have given up on that fantasy. I now sort daily email into buckets that are prioritized.)
  • #2. (Just) Do it. Like Nike says. If you are a solopreneur who has to do everything to keep the business running, then you are responsible for the whole kit-and-caboodle, and there is usually no escape. Best to just set up time to do it and get it done so you can get back to the stuff you love. Set up an accountability partner, a sweet reward, whatever it takes to get the darn thing crossed off your to-do list. Your goal is to grow so you can move this ugly task to the next level #3.
  • #3. Delegate it. Ideally, this is where you aspire to. Look to your strengths and working on the top-priority items that will propel your business forward. Find someone who loves doing this kind of task and can do it professionally and expeditiously at a reasonable price.

For many of us, this means finding people resources who complement our archetype’s skills and prowess. For our Explorer archetype example, finding a Caretaker/Sage blend who loves business accounting, or a social media virtual assistant who is Lover/Caretaker/Everyman might be the perfect person for planning and executing your social media strategy consistently so that your fans love you and your adventures even more.  Or maybe you need a Lover/Caretaker/Magician type who can assist you with building great customer service.

The bottom line is that all the iconic brands that we have talked about were once little bitty baby brands and had to go through the same growing pains as the rest of us. Find a few great brands that you really love and respect. Dig deeper to learn their story on how they got to where they are today. What comes naturally to them that inspires you, and what hard lessons did they experience that you can learn from? I recommend building a brand archetype guidebook/journal and documenting your discoveries. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated, as long as you can track your business brand adventures and map out how to get to where you want to go!

Additional resources:

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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