• Thomson Dawson

The importance of archetypes in brand storytelling.


Since the beginning of human civilization, all stories have been based in archetypes. To tell stories that impact the mind of customers, brand storytellers introduce the role of archetypes.


All transcendent stories have compelling characters. More importantly, these characters had story narratives they strictly adhered to. These characters are known as archetypes. The psychologist, Carl Jung, first used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He believed that universal, mythic characters—archetypes—reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over.


Archetypes have a well defined character and personality. In context to brand storytelling, these common archetypes can be translated into the components that define or personify a brand’s personality. Audiences recognize these brand personalities because the archetypes themselves are universally recognized.


Enlightened marketers understand their audiences and the how their brands will be incorporated as part of their customer’s personal journey or story. Enduring brands have a personality that fits perfectly into the customer’s story narrative.


This is not a coincidence nor is it a contrivance. If you are attempting to build the value of your brand the effort (and the financial resources) to communicate your brand’s personality at each customer interaction is always significantly less than for those brands who mean little to everyone and matter to no one.


If you study the brands that build uncommon relevance and resonance, you’ll recognize them as brands that created massive marketplace success with little need for or reliance on mass advertising.


Brands like Zappos, Starbucks (at the beginning), Facebook, Patagonia, IKEA, Herman Miller, and of course Apple have all mastered this principle. These brands are based on shared experiences with their most fervent customers.

In fact these brands, and others like them, owe much of their enduring marketplace success to word of mouth communication. Least we forget word of mouth is nothing more than a form of storytelling–told by the customer not the marketer.


Customers and consumers will incorporate the stories of relevant brands into thier own stories but only if your brand story is worthy of telling.


Building your brand story narrative based on shared values and personified through archetypes allows your audience to both recognize and understand why your brand matters, and to share it with others through the narrative of their own personal story.

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