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The Importance of Archetypes in Branding


People have personalities, brands have personalities. If you wish to be successful by building a good brand, you need to resonate the message between the market and your brand. Archetypes incorporate the universal stories and journeys that all human beings share. They also display how we demonstrate the roles we play within those universal stories, the lessons we learn and the paths we choose to walk. They raise our dreams, imaginations and desires. Marketing experts use archetypes to creatively and intuitively determine brand inconsistencies and strengthen trust with users.

When you look at a group of characteristics, you will be able to identify what archetype suits the best for that group. Margaret Mark & Carol Pearson stated in their book The hero and the outlaw that “Archetypes are the heartbeat of a brand because they convey a meaning that makes costumers relate to a product as it were actually alive someday, they have a relationship with it and care about it”. This is exactly what we are trying to achieve with it with our personality. We want our audience to feel something for our brand as if we are alive in some kind of way. We want to build that relationship and we want them to care about it.

When you are strategizing your brand, you need to identify your brand role, your brand persona and your brand audience and you need to consider all of the elements at play.

We all play different roles around the people around us. The same is for your brand. Your audience aspirations and where you fit into their lives are often the key elements to understand our brand role as a brand.

The archetype formula mix is a formula that allows us the expression of personality while at the same time keeping refined and focused personality within the archetypal framework. If we were to choose only one archetype, It would be hard to choose the personality of a brand. Archetypes work because they personify a group of behaviors that we instinctively know.



There are 12 main types of archetypes but these can be also be segmented in more defined 60 subcategories.

Archetypes are specified by desires. We all have basic human desires. We aren’t taught to want or need them. We just do. They are instinctive and primitive.

Here are the basic human desires that each match with a specific archetype;















What can Archetypes do for us


Focusing communications campaigns/ initiatives

Archetypes have resolved brand inconsistencies by:


  • Focusing communications campaigns/ initiatives

  • Facilitating corporate cultural integrity

  • Developing a system of managing brand meaning

  • Bridging conversations stuck between right and left brains

  • Assisting in uncovering previous unidentified roadblocks

Archetypes enhance true with users by:


  • Aiding in the creation of the congruent brand story and value journey.

  • Igniting intuitive and emotional understanding of the brand, internally and externally

  • Unifying directions during transition or start-up

  • Facilitating a holistic perspective that is experienced as authentic and transparent.


When we are targeting Ocean minded conscious buyers we are targeting a very unique audience. Let’s have a deeper look into the most common archetypes used by ocean startups and organizations.


The Explorer


The explorer has the inner drive to push himself out of the comfort zone and the conformity of everyday life into the rugged environment that they feel most like home. The explorer is thirsty for freedom and has a connection with the outdoors. Their desire is strong and pulls them into nature whenever possible. They don’t want to be fenced in and they often feel the confines of modern life weighing on them. Brands that want to communicate with this type of audience usually speak with a fearless or daring voice that will evoke these adventurous emotions. Some sub archetypes within the explorer are the pioneer, seeker, adventurer and generalist. In the ocean industry, these would-be surfers, divers, sailors, free divers, fishing, kayaking and any other water sports that combine adventure and discovery of something new.



MESSAGE EXAMPLE: You only have one life, make it count.

Some examples of brands that use the explorer as their core archetypes are Patagonia, Outerknown, Yeti


The Outlaw


The outlaw is a rebel and no conformist with the edge. They have a desire for a revolution partly to change the world for the better but partly for the anarchy involved with changing the world. They have a disdain for rules regulation and conformity that would remove any form of freedom or choice that they might have or anyone else’s freedom of choice as well. They are good at the core but anger is a big part of their motivation and it can become the dominant force. Without a fight, the outlaw is lost. The core desire for the outlaw is for a revolution and liberation. To get the attention of an outlaw you need to prove that you see the world the same as they do and that the status quo is the common enemy. Some sub archetypes that belong to the outlaw archetype are the activist, Gambler, maverick, rebel, reformer.

MESSAGE EXAMPLE: You don’t have to settle for the status quo. First, demand more, second, go out and get it.


One example of an ocean brand that uses the outlaw archetype as its core archetype is Sea Sheperd. A clear example of a fighter that defends the ocean at all cost and by all means.




The Caregiver


The caregiver is a selfless personality who is drive by a desire to protect and care for others especially those in need.. The caregiver safeguards the collective is a steward of the family or community and is motivated to directly nurture and protect aspects of humanity and the planet. Powerful and sometimes self-sacrificing is a multifaceted manager, offering safety and promoting accountability and liability in service to protecting others from harm. Those who resonate with caregiver archetypes are usually compassionate with their cause and their defendants. Other sub-archetypes of caregivers are angel, the guardian, healer and samaritan.

MESSAGE EXAMPLE: Everyone deserves care and we must all strive to bestow service upon one another

Examples of Ocean brands that use the caregiver family archetypes are 4ocean. 4ocean messaging is more like a protector or a guardian. When you buy from them, you are basically helping them to serve and protect the ocean from its main threats.





The Creator


The creator has a desire to create something new and exceptional. Something that wasn’t previously there and something that has some sort of enduring value. They need to express themselves with their individual talent and they strive to bring their vision to life through that expression. Creators believe that if you imagine it, it can be created but are often stifled by their own desire for perfection. Creators have innovation in their hearts and they have a strong desire to create something original that wasn’t there before. To appeal to a creator a brand might display an inspirational or daring or provocative voice or a message to challenge their creator audience to see potential everywhere and to uncover originality with liberated imagination. Other sub-archetypes in the family of the creator are the artist, entrepreneur, storyteller and visionaries.

MESSAGE EXAMPLE: See potential everywhere and uncover originality with liberated imagination.

Examples in the Ocean industry brands are recycled fashion, product innovators and handcraft artists using recycled materials pulled out from the ocean.



The Innocent


The innocent is a positive personality with an optimistic outlook on life they crave safety but ultimately they want themselves and everybody else around them to be happy. They are honest and they’re honest and pure and they have no ill will towards anybody. They don’t hold on to grudges and they believe that everyone has the divine right to be who they truly are. To be truly authentic. They see beauty in everyone and have this next to see the inner beauty that others don’t see. The innocent has a desire for safety and to be protected. They believe life is simple and that simplicity is elegant. Elegant, optimistic, honest and humble is the language tone and they will speak with an innocent tone. They have this connection to nature and to purity. Their home is likely filled with natural or organic products and they want brands to be full of goodness.

MESSAGE EXAMPLE: The most wholesome things in life are unadulterated.

Examples of Ocean-minded lifestyle brands that use or target innocent archetypes are products that are not harmful to the environment such as organic or recycling products. Their branding might also promote that they are not harmful to local economies and that they offer equal opportunities and fair wages to their employees.


Brand transition moments are a great opportunity to use archetypes to help understand the business trajectory. Now, have you found out what archetype your brand is? what about your audience? Do you know how to mix archetypes together?

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Author alek1986

I'm an e-commerce consultant, Shopify Developer and a Water sports keen enthusiast. For the last 10 years, I have thrived living near the water in Central America and the Caribbean where I have evolved as a PADI Divemaster, Marina & Dive center director, Web & Booking apps developer for multiple Leisure organizations and practiced other sports such as surfing, kite surfing, sailing and paddleboarding. I have also partnered and been involved in multiple social-environmental projects such as Swim for Haiti, AVAV & 4Ocean. Today I enjoy building & developing multiple Shopify stores from stunning Lake Leman, Switzerland.

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