21 Mar Archetypes In Branding
A more conscious way of building business models and personalities
Marketing, branding and communications have been using models and research based on opinions on how and what needs to be communicated to consumers to achieve profit. With that model, the why is usually not the message’s focal point. Yet, charismatic and legacy brands have been observed to emphasise the Why and lead their communication strategies with it. The Why makes us tell a story that comes from the heart, and the heart is the only way we connect authentically.
The Power of Archetypes
Mirable Marketing is launching a year-long commitment to unveil the power of archetypes in creating charismatic brands and helping clients lead with their Why to build lasting and genuine customer bonds.
Our why is the inherent passion for communications due to the impact marketing and branding have on how business influences all aspects of our lives, from food, transportation, and education, to health, art and housing.
“Industries, public utilities, educational movements, indeed all groups representing any concept or product, whether they are majority or minority ideas, succeed only because of approving public opinion. Public opinion is the unacknowledged partner in all broad efforts.”
~ Edward Bernays, Propaganda
Not only do charismatic brands throughout human history share specific characteristics, their communication strategies, aesthetics and behaviour in the public domain are timeless and everlasting. People perceive charismatic brands without a substitute, such as Disney, Apple, Lego, and Ikea.
During a recent branding session for YSpace, our COO, Mira Kopanarov, shared the stories of brands such as Plato, Aristotle and Shakespear. The most impressive fact about these brands is that they are still with us almost 2,300 years later (for the former). Plato and Aristotle are not just people; they carry knowledge and form beyond human existence. Their theories are the foundations of modern media studies. They have been instrumental in building the concept of drama and making other brands, such as Shakespeare’s, the most successful brands in human history.
“People have personalities. Brands have personalities. If you want to do good business by building a successful brand, you need to be skilful about matching your market with your brand.”
~ Jay Ogilvy
Psychology and mythology have examined similarities in characteristics, behaviour and other aspects of human life. Scholars like Carl G. Jung and Joseph Campbell have concluded that archetypes are an intrinsic part of our lives and are instrumental in understanding how we exist, behave and feel in a social context.
“Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of activities of the human body and mind.”
~ Joseph, Campbell, The Hero With Thousand Faces
Modern Myths and Stories
Data and research are inevitably important for validation and justification, but bridging the gap between science and creativity, or the left and the right brain, is the true measure of success and how timeless brands have achieved their immortal status. We no longer tell stories and myths of gods, heroes and lovers; we have brands like Hollywood, Pixar, Marvel, Deadpool and Wonder Woman. Companies that brave out to explore the archetypal branding approach walk a shortcut path to a more sustainable and relevant way of doing business.
“In an age in which many people crave a deeper sense of connection to their work and want business to demonstrate greater integrity and accountability, the creative and mindful attention to archetypes can facilitate a more authentic, holistic and human way of being in business.”
~ Margareth Hartwell, Joshua C. Chen
Branding, Marketing is your mother.
Marketing is the mother of branding with her overreaching and encompassing tools, techniques and communication methods. Branding is the gut feeling your overall marketing efforts inspire in one’s emotional state. Branding is the consciousness of your company that helps facilitate the connection between a company and customers. A relationship that sparks magic and usually exists between people in a social context. It is the cosmic dust that makes Pinocchio alive!
Branding is not a logo
Often mistaken for a logo, font or colours, branding is intangible persona marketers create to communicate with and understand people. The basis of such intricate work is rooted in psychology and how we as a species connect, communicate and perceive the world around us. To be successful, the brand communicates not only with customers and the wider public but everyone, including employees, vendors, and spectators. The symbols used to solidify brand guidelines and corporate identity packages are indeed the packaging, but the true essence of a brand is the emotional connection and attachment.
Branding could be confusing, especially if you are starting your business now. It could also be confusing for companies that have been in operation for decades and have lost the connection with the true essence of their work. It is then that challenges appear without an apparent way of resolving them. You may even witness low employee morale, broken processes, and loss of sales. Many companies want to control their brands, not realising that the customer is the one that feels and determines what the brand truly is. In a sense, we don’t create one brand but thousands and millions, depending on your reach.
Throughout decades of experience and working with brands and communications strategies, the number one gap we see is the intent to shorten the work on branding. The reason for that is usually financial due to not understanding the value or a perceived way of how the brand should be, but the underlining cause is often fear of exploring deeper and what it may reveal.
Archetypes embody the universal stories and emotions we share through time and space. We may continue to push innovation, but the essence of our being is not different to that of the people around us and those before us. Archetypes represent how we manifest our roles with nobility or fear in the stories.
What was the strategy from the past
The father of Public Relations and Propaganda, Edward Bernays, also the nephew of Freud, very clearly understood the correlations between the human psyche and mass manipulation. He utilised public relations power differently, influencing public opinions throughout and establishing behaviour we take for granted, such as eating bacon for breakfast, for example. Unfortunately, his work has impacted how advertising and public relations operate today.
On the positive side, customers’ time-starved and overwhelmed psyche demands a different approach to how we do business communications. Pouring financial energy endlessly into digital advertising and finessing customer personas through online behaviour and click-through rates is proving to lack consciousness. Furthermore, it overwhelms marketers and business stakeholders to perfect every communication from their company. Depth psychology is pointing us in a different direction.
In the following Branding Series, we will explore the various archetypes, how they relate to branding, and how to establish lasting and conscious bonds for sustainable business models and growth.