The first minute, raises the seemingly simple question…”Who…. are…. you….?”
Branding – how do you know if you’ve got it wrong?
Start with “Who you are” and why this is so important.
More often than not it’s a gut feeling. You are looking at some piece of communication, your website, your brochure and saying to yourself “I don’t like this. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t feel right.” That’s where my client, SGA was at when they approached me with “We need a new website.” Rather than just diving in, I decided to first answer the question “Exactly why was the current website so wrong?” (beyond the obvious dark and and dull look…)
This question led me to explore archetypes and their relevance to design and branding. The answer revealed what goes wrong when you don’t use them correctly.
Archetypes are Design Critical
If you are a global brand – you won’t need to read any further. You will know all about archetypes because your business has to communicate to people from different cultures around the globe. However, this ability to communicate easily and clearly is just as important locally.
It very quickly became clear to me that the reason the SGA website was so wrong was because the archetype was wrong. The designer, whether they knew it or not, had positioned them as the Explorer when they were not. That is why although it looked “professional” it felt so wrong to them. They would look at the site and feel in their gut this was not who they were. This meant the communication was off. Incongruous. It was leading to confusion, discomfort and most ultimately distrust, because they were presenting themselves as something they were not.
I developed a workshop to explore and define their archetype. They were SAGE.
Once you know who you are you can start to tell your story
Design is about storytelling. Powerful stories resonate because of two things the story is clear and memorable and the story teller is true to themselves and tells the story believably.
These are the two important reasons to understand your archetype. Firstly, so that your audience gets where you are coming from, understands who you are and believes your story. And secondly, so that you understand who you are and use this to guide important design choices as well as marketing, communications and positioning choices.
Archetypes for Leaders and Entrepreneurs
If you are the leader of your organisation you can take the test. (You must be the founder or driver behind the business for this to work). Answer for yourself and it will be true for your business.
Below is the list of the twelve archetypes. My advice is ignore the name and read the values and do not to confuse “WHO YOU ARE” with “WHAT YOU DO” when choosing the right one. The right one is the one that resonates most deeply with you.
For example, I am the Magician – without question – I make things happen, I find win win solutions, I help make dreams come true, etc etc etc – all these are core to me. The way I do it is with creativity – so ARTIST/CREATOR does resonate, but is more about what I do and how I do it than WHY.
Identify With Your Archetype:
Remember its not about ‘generally agreeing with’ – its about your core. What is fundamentally true in your heart. What drives you. Your WHY.
1. The Innocent
Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Strategy: to do things right
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
Talent: faith and optimism
The Innocent is also known as: Utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.
2. The Everyman
Motto: All men and women are created equal
Core Desire: connecting with others
Goal: to belong
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretense
The Everyman is also known as: The good old boy, regular guy/girl, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbor, the silent majority.
3. The Hero
Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: exert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage
The Hero is also known as: The warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.
4. The Caregiver
Motto: Love your neighbor as yourself
Core desire: to protect and care for others
Goal: to help others
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
Strategy: doing things for others
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
Talent: compassion, generosity
The Caregiver is also known as: The saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.
5. The Explorer
Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul
The Explorer is also known as: The seeker, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.
6. The Rebel
Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Core desire: revenge or revolution
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom
The Rebel is also known as: The outlaw, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.
7. The Lover
Motto: You’re the only one
Core desire: intimacy and experience
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment
The Lover is also known as: The partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.
8. The Creator/Artist
Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination
The Creator is also known as: The artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.
9. The Jester
Motto: You only live once
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
The Jester is also known as: The fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.
10. The Sage
Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.
The Sage is also known as: The expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, mentor, teacher, contemplative.
11. The Magician
Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Talent: finding win-win solutions
The Magician is also known as: The visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.
12. The Ruler
Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
Strategy: exercise power
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: responsibility, leadership
The Ruler is also known as: The boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.