Using Brand Archetypes in Your Small Business or Startup

For many small businesses or entrepreneurs just starting out, brand archetypes can seem unnecessary or too complicated for their start-up goals. Most small enterprises are looking for traditional markers like social media followers, a growing newsletter list or market traction via social shares. What most of them DON’T realize is that by defining, and then using, a brand archetype throughout their marketing will bring these results about much sooner.

Today I’m showing you how brand archetypes can work in any size of business, not just Nike or Disney. You don’t need a million-dollar budget, a PR team or traditional advertising to use archetypes. And the best part of defining a archetype for your brand? It’s (almost) immediate payback in uncovering your ideal customers’ core desires, wants and needs.

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Why Brand Archetypes for Your Small Biz or Startup

Entrepreneur, small business, solopreneur, startup….whatever you call yourself one thing is clear: you’re not a well-established, multi-million dollar company. That generally means you have a small (if any) marketing budget, you may have a few loyal customers and you want growth. Like, now.

Brand archetypes are the perfect place for any small business to start. They help define your target market, speak directly to potential customer’s pain points, tell a brand story worth remembering, and bring the ‘human’ to your marketing strategies. Most importantly, they give your customer something to believe in.

What most small business owners don’t consider is using brand archetypes to build brand awareness, engagement and loyalty. Maybe it hasn’t crossed their path or they believe archetypes are for companies with more marketing money to spend...whatever the case may be, I’m hear to offer you some good news.

Brand archetypes are beneficial and available for every type of business, big or small!

Wait A Minute...What’s A Brand Archetype Again?

Before I jump into the how-to’s of using brand archetypes in your marketing, I think it’s best I backtrack and remind you why they are so awesome in the first place. This article is a good place to start.

As a leading expert in media and brand psychology, studying and working with some of the top minds in psychology and marketing, I can say that brand archetypes are the defining factor (aside from your story) that speak directly to your ideal customer. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,

Archetypes are the universal connection between human experience and meaning. Archetypes embody the stories and journeys that human beings share across time and space. They align us with a cause, value and purpose while helping us understand complex emotions, experiences and lessons along the way.

I studied archetypal psychology in college and became fascinated with character development as an avid reader growing up. Carl Jung’s work led the way for archetypes to take center stage in assessing human development, evolution and relationship dynamics, which opened an even broader Pandora’s box when placed in the context of 21st century marketing practices.

It wasn’t until I became fed-up with the automated world of online marketing that archetypes - especially in relation to branding - became a success for both myself and my clients.

Seeing how customers react to archetypes (here’s a great case study) showed me that brand archetypes weren’t merely a myth, but a viable way to conduct business in an ever-connected world.

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3 Ways To Use Brand Archetypes Starting Today

The good news is you don’t need to be an expert to start using brand archetypes in your marketing efforts. Now that you understand why and how they best serve your business, you can integrate from there. Remember, you don’t have to make a massive overhaul to your marketing strategy! Starting small is better than not starting at all.

1 | Define your brand archetype

First, you’ll need to determine which archetype best represents your brand. This free quiz is a great place to start. For those wanting a more in-depth and accurate targeting, I recommend this deep-dive analysis instead.

2 | niche down

Once you’ve got your primary archetype, you’ll want to explore its qualities, values and associations more in-depth. By aligning your brand with an archetype you’ll speak to a  particular segment of the overall market more clearly and with greater ease. This is a great way to organically niche your business, especially if you are struggling to do so with traditional avatar exercises.

For example, if you’re aligned with the Hero archetype you’ll most likely be a “knight in shining armor” for your customers. Your product or service may help your customers feel like a Hero. Or perhaps you’re brand story will align with the Hero’s quest we’ve all come to know and love. These stories inspire and invoke courage when the going gets tough or there’s a mile-high mountain to face.

3 | own it

You’ve got your archetype, you understand its qualities and now you need to use it in your marketing. A great place to start is using the language of your archetype to help ideal customers not only find you but fall in love with you as well. This might include keywords, hashtags...anything that your customer is searching for or using themselves online.

You’ll also want to embody your archetypes core values. This is not the same as having the same brand story as other businesses with your shared archetype! An archetypes values are independent of your brand’s story. When working with values, look to the universal themes or emotions resonating with that particular archetype (ex: nobility, integrity, intimacy, equality, playfulness…) and align your brand from there.

Your story builds from the values to incorporate the reason why you’re here today….and what you can offer your customer in the future.

Your turn! Take this short quiz to learn more about your brand’s archetype. If you’ve got questions or thoughts on this article, share them in the comments below. And of course, here’s to being brand - freakin’ - fabulous!