everyday can be a domingo

The influence of Archetypes in our daily lifes

Wouldn’t it be great to have a useful tool to help us get to meaningful connections; one that helps us pull together associations that make sense and can be used for future branding strategies…
Consider Archetypes…

So what are archetypes and where does the idea come from? The concept of  archetypes actually originates in Platon’s concept of ideals and patterns. In the mid-1900’s psychologist Carl Jung took Plato’s thinking a step further and developed “psychological archetypes” defined as: “characteristic patterns that pre-exist in the collective psyche of the human race that repeat themselves eternally in the psyche of individual human beings and determine the basic ways that we perceive and function as psychological beings.
Jung defined it as “forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constituents of myths and at the same time as individual products of unconscious origin” (C.G. Jung, Psychology and Religion). The premise is that people come into the world with patterns of instinctual behavior waiting to be developed, awakened and explored. Psychologist Erik Erickson then identified three psychosocial stages of life that everyone goes through, and they are:
– The preparation stage for separation (dependence)
– The journey to find the individual (independence),
– And the return to community (interdependence).

Carol Pearson then took Jung’s concept of psychological archetypes coupled with Erickson’s life stages and developed twelve distinct archetypal personalities that serve as natural inner guides that we use as we go through life.
Below is a brief description of the twelve archetypes:
Archetypes of the Preparation stage
The Innocent – defined as the pure and trusting part of us that retains faith regardless of personal experience
The Orphan – the part that has been betrayed, abused or abandoned
The Caregiver – the ability to nurture and care for others and ourselves
The Warrior – the ability to protect and defend ourselves and set limits and goals
Archetypes of the Soul Journey
The Seeker – the need to search for something different, seek meaning, explore and wander.
The Lover – the ability to care, to bond to make commitments and have passion.
The Creator – the ability to open the imagination and bring forth something that never existed before.
The Destroyer – the ability to choose to let go and rid yourself of things that no longer support your values
Archetypes of the Return
The Ruler – the ability to use all of our resources and to take responsibility for ourselves and others.
The Sage – the ability to attain wisdom, seek truth
The Magician – the ability to change what needs to be changed by acting on our own visions
The Jester – the ability to experience life fully
Knowing these archetypes helps us understand human behavior, how we are living and leads to an understanding of our needs as consumers. These lead to the researcher’s ability to provide clients with insight and appropriate, strategic brand recommendations.
As Antonio Nuñez says on his book Será mejor que me lo cuentes, with these patterns we can start to discover what is the meaning or purpose of the life of people, where storytelling of brands substitute the tribal storytelling around a bonfire, when the shaman told tales to explain through fiction the true meaning to life.
Think about the people you know, everyone’s personality fits with one of the twelve archetypes, right? Well if you think about the top brands, most of them have symbolic and aspirational stories: ones that connect with something very deep in consumers.
These original archetypes still exist and apply to contemporary marketing and in this case are used as universally recognized patterns (nothing to do with stereotypes, which are too standard to develop) which recur in society and help us to understand, recognize and assimilate the world. They can be used to guide the direction of brand communication to a deep-seated place within the human psyche, and in turn, it is easier for consumers to identify with brands that have archetypal meaning.
Mark and Pearson in their book:  The Hero and the Outlaw – Building Extraordinary Brands through the Power of Archetypes, define the twelve archetypes expressed most often in pop-culture today. Below is a list of the different archetypes, what their primary function is and an example of a brand that exemplifies the archetype (unfortunately the scope of this paper does not permit an explanation of each):
Brands such as Disney (know for being the happiest place on earth) and Coke (slogan: It’s the real thing) are all traditional brands that promise an experience of paradise and happiness with their brand; thus, classifies the brands as Innocent archetypes. How about Apple computers? Ever notice that their logo is an apple with a bite out of it (which symbolizes the forbidden fruit in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and in this case represents forbidden knowledge) and their motto is Think Different. The Apple brand is the ultimate Outlaw archetype: the brand stands for independent thinking and creativity and is known for being the anti-corporate computer. Take the brand Nike, the preeminent hero archetype. The brand’s long-standing mission (which enables and inspires athletes to perform at their best) is Just do it. Historically, the name “Nike” is actually the name of the Greek goddess of victory. No wonder top athletes in each sport (such as Michael Jordan) are often spokesmen for Nike!
And Starbucks, the cultural phenomenon. Notice the logo − it is an image of a female sea goddess (a cross between a mermaid and siren). Then, the masculine name, Starbuck, was actually the name of the first mate on the whaling ship in the classic story of Moby Dick. Starbucks, the ultimate explorer archetype, delivers on its explorer theme consistently in its logo, name, packaging, product and service. The product is and becomes whatever you want, desire and create; there are endless coffee and non-coffee choices, combinations and possibilities for the exploring customer. The service delivers on customization of the consumer’s beverage down to the most intricate detail. Notice, how they even ask customers for their name while creating beverages and write your name on the cup; this signifies that it is your cup of coffee, made to order for you.
These examples demonstrate that the brand image (the external meaning intended by marketers such as the merchandising, packaging and logo), is consistent with the brand essence (the internal meaning interpreted by the customer experience). Imagine if they were not consistent and a brand, such as a retailer, is trying to position itself as a Caregiver archetype, one that is trying to help and provide products that help customers with their busy lives, but instead does not successfully deliver on its intended mission and instead customers perceive the in-store experience brand as having poor customer service with disgruntled employees. When brands fail to match up with an archetypal identity and if there are noticeable inconsistencies between the brands image and essence, they are usually less successful.
How can understanding archetypes help in your research?
Before fieldwork, do some homework and a pre-immersion session to get relevant information and learn factual research on your brands image: such as the history, who created it, when was it created, how it is positioned, who does it appeal to and how is it doing in category.
Then, conduct qualitative research to uncover the brand essence: the raw materials and brand truth such as, what is the relationship consumers have with the brand, why do they use the brand, in what circumstances, what is the brand known for, how do consumers use the brand, and how does it fit into their lives? It is essential to understand the role of the brand: what jobs does the brand fulfill? What I mean by jobs is based upon Christensen book  The Innovators Solution, where he argues that customers hire products to do specific jobs. For instance, a cup of coffee in the morning could serve many jobs: to wake me up, to put something warm in my body or to while away the time on a boring commute to work. Knowing what underlying jobs a product gets “hired to do” can give brands a competitive advantage to improve and deliver on their products so they fulfill the intended job.
Generate conclusions about the brands archetype to see if it aligns with one of the twelve universal ones. Is it the appropriate archetype? Is the archetype relevant and meaningful to the target market? Is the archetype consistent with the brand’s image and essence?
Assess the archetypes of the competitive set: understand how the brand is performing against competitors, does the competitive set live up to the intended archetypes? Is there an opportunity for a new archetype in the category? Think about what will differentiate your brand from another and make sure you deliver you message in a clear, consistent, meaningful and aspirational story.

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