Branding is what helps companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and build connections with their customers. When companies give their brands humanistic traits and personalities, they create something tangible that audiences can relate to, which builds a stronger and more memorable connection.
Archetypes can help to guide companies in creating their brand by providing a model for who the company would be if they were a person. This creates more consistent and authentic branding that customers will appreciate. We’re going to delve into the different archetypes and how they can benefit medical device companies.
What are archetypes?
Archetypes are a set of different personality types that are considered to be hardwired into human nature. According to Carl Jung, every person falls into one (or sometimes more) of these categories. Companies can use these archetypes to inform and consolidate their brand messaging and external expression.
As archetypes are based on real human personalities, they add depth and complexity to brands beyond just looking good. Brands can become like their own person, with traits and characteristics that customers can relate to.
Why do archetypes matter?
Archetypes help brands to achieve consistency, connection and differentiation, all of which are essential for effective branding.
The importance of consistency in branding cannot be overstated as you want your customers to be able to recognise you when they come across you, wherever that may be. Aligning your brand tightly to a single archetype allows your brand personality to feel familiar to your customers. It allows you to communicate with the consistency and humanity of a real person.
There is so much choice out there for customers now and it is so easy to compare companies, so how do you stand out? Branding is all about creating something tangible, that an audience can connect with and feel a loyalty towards. The merit of your device isn’t enough on its own, instead, customers want to buy from a brand that they respect.
Building connection through branding is all about being relatable. When a person sees humanistic traits in a brand, they can relate to it and connect to it. That is why archetypes are so important, because they give you something to model your brand on.
Your medical device might be competing with lots of similar medical devices, in which case, focusing on the features and benefits of your device alone is not enough as they may be similar to other products out there. On the other hand, personalities are unique and have infinite possibilities, this means they can help to tell your customers who you are and your brand story.
Using archetypes to develop your brand personality can only make this stronger, allowing companies to appeal to what their customers want rather than just what they need. For example, customers looking to buy trocars have lots of choices, but they are probably more likely to choose to buy from a brand they aligned with personally.
The different archetypes
Let’s have a look at the different archetypes. As a medical device marketing agency, there are four archetypes that we come across most often, so we’ll be focusing more closely on those.
The creator archetype is driven by the free flow of creativity but stays within the parameters of control. They promote self-expression, imagination and innovation. They believe that if you can imagine it, you can create it.
Lots of medical device brands fall under this category due to their ambition to drive forward innovation. Due to their archetype, the marketing materials for these brands tend to be very creative, almost like pieces of art themselves.
Desires: Freeflow of creativity, to create something of everlasting value.
Traits: Expressive, imaginative, innovative, but also melodramatic and perfectionist.
Examples of Creators: Apple, Adobe, Lego, Medtronic (new branding), Willy Wonka, Steve Jobs.
The ruler is a dominant personality that seeks power above all else. Rulers are confident, polished and responsible, but they can also be controlling, entitled and cold. At their best they seek to provide for others in need and to be a leader, but they can also seem power-hungry. Think of people like Winston Churchill, Hilary Clinton and Jay-Z, these people all fit under the rule archetype.
Ruler brands evoke a sense of exclusivity. A few medical device brands such as JnJ Ethicon Endo show some traits of the ruler.
Desires: Control and power.
Traits: Confident and polished, but also can be cold.
Examples of Rulers: Mercedes Benz, Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Winston Churchill and Ethicon Endo-Surgery UK used strong language as a Ruler, but this has been softened recently and they are back to a caregiver archetype.
As the name suggest, this archetype is all about taking care of others. They are driven by a compassion to help others and will go out of their way to serve the greater good. The Caregiver exhibits parental like traits to make sure that other people are taken care of.
Johnson and Johnson is one of the most famous examples of The Caregiver archetype. Their commitment to making the world a healthier place can be seen very clearly in their altruistic actions as well as their messaging.
Desire: To protect others, the greater good.
Traits: Generous, benevolent but can be weak and masochistic.
Examples of Caregivers: Johnson and Johnson, WWF, Toms, Mrs. Weasley.
The Sage revolves around finding knowledge and truth. They believe that by gathering knowledge and sharing it they can make the world a better place. As their main ambition is to seek out knowledge, Sage brands are considered experts in their fields.
Marketing materials from Sage brands are usually refined and perfected, using a neutral or muted colour palette and they don’t feel the need to impress with any additives to what they produce.
Desires: Knowledge and truth to understand the world.
Traits: Wise, articulate, but occasionally cold and self-absorbed.
Examples of Sages: The Mayo Clinic, Google, BBC, Yoda.
The hero values honour over everything and will do whatever they can to avoid losing. They are ambitious and persistent, with a drive to gain power. Rocky Balboa is one of the most famous examples of the hero archetype.
Often sports brands take on the Hero archetype as they want to encourage people to push themselves to achieve bigger and better things. They often feature strong colours and bold shapes, as they want to challenge you and inspire achievement.
Desires: To prove their worth, power.
Traits: Brave, determined, ambitious and unrelenting.
Examples of Heroes: Nike, Adida, FedEx, Wonder Woman.
The Outlaw goes against the norm at every opportunity. They want to do things differently and go against societies’ expectations, either for selfish reasons or to help others. Think of Robin Hood. Outlaw brands often use edgy, unexpected advertising to shake things up.
Desires: To disrupt the status quo.
Traits: Sharp, free-spirited, but sometimes out of control.
Examples of Outlaws: Harley Davidson, Mountain Dew, Jack Daniels, Batman.
The Innocent archetype has a desire to keep things simple and live happily. They seek to do things free of corruption to bring harmony to the lives of others. Innocent brands tend to use muted colours and soft imagery with a clear and honest message.
Desires: Harmony, paradise.
Traits: Optimistic, moral, honest but can be irritating and childish.
Examples of the Innocent: Aveeno, Coca-Cola, Dove, Forrest Gump.
The Everyman is wholesome and genuine. These brands don’t try to impress or shock customers with bold claims and messages, instead they try to appeal to the masses with straightforward messaging. Their branding is nothing fancy, rather it is relatable.
Desires: Belonging and enjoyment.
Traits: Friendly, genuine, reliable but they can be mundane.
Examples of the Everyman: IKEA, Ebay, Tesco, Dr. John Watson.
The Jester, as the name suggests, is about humour and fun, but there is also a deeper level to the Jester as they use humour to illuminate hypocrisy and level the power playing field. They can take a serious subject and make fun of it in a way that is comfortable for the consumer.
Desires: To live joyfully, innovation.
Traits: Joyful, carefree, original but sometimes irresponsible and cruel.
Examples of Jesters: M&Ms, Old Spice, Skittles, Chandler Bing.
The Lover brand is all about evoking emotion and making people feel special. They are not just about evoking romance, but all types of relationships such as familial and friendships. They evoke a sense of connection and intimacy. In practice, these brand use adjective rich language and passionate imagery.
Desires: Relationships, to create a special feeling in others.
Traits: Passionate, but occasionally obsessive and shallow.
Examples of Lovers: Chanel, Haagen-Dazs, M&S, Princess Diana.
Magicians make dreams come true. They are always coming up with solutions for problems through their knowledge of how the world works. Magician brands are all about bringing something special into the lives of their customers.
Desires: To transport people and create something special.
Traits: Charismatic, healing but occasionally dishonest and distant.
Examples of Magicians: Disney, Dyson, Tui and now Sky with their latest TV advertisements, Gandalf.
The Explorer has the goal to live an inspiring and fulfilling life. They are independent thinkers, forging new paths to find purpose in life. Any brand that veers off the beaten path and forges their own way can be considered an Explorer.
Desires: Freedom, fulfilment.
Traits: Independent, ambitious, spirited, but also restless and flaky.
Examples of Explorers: Jeep, National Geographic, Patagonia, Huckleberry Finn.
Aligning with an archetype
When it comes to figuring out which archetype your company aligns with, it is not always straight forward. It is not as simple as choosing the archetype you like the most, the one you want to be, but instead it is about figuring out which one you already are. A company trying to be something they are not can appear inauthentic and may damage their reputation.
Occasionally, companies may find that they don’t align comfortably with just one archetype. They may have characteristics of two archetypes, but companies should never choose to align with 2 archetypes with more than a 70-30 split. As in, your brand should be at least 70-100% one archetype.
How to use archetypes for branding
Once you have decided on an archetype to align with, you can begin to build your branding around that, allowing it to guide your choices so that you create a consistent tone and feeling.
Archetypes can be used to help determine messaging, voice, colours and personality. This can then be distributed across multiple platforms to begin appealing to and building a connection with your customers.
Which archetype are you?
Archetypes are fascinating, but they are also useful. They are a great tool to give your branding a clear direction, but remember it is incredibly important that you base your branding on an archetype that your company already aligns with, not the one you want to be.
About Podymos Podymos is a dedicated medical device marketing agency. We are passionate about sharing relevant knowledge to expand our clients’ capabilities. If you would like to find out more about what we do, you can visit our services page, or get in contact with us.
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