Brand Archetypes, pt. II
12 × 5
I didn’t plan on writing a second part to this idea. The first half was a book review: something I rarely write. I read and reviewed The Hero and the Outlaw by Carol Pearson and Margaret Mark. It was a novel concept to me: pulling Jungian psychology and tactfully applying to brand and marketing.
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.
I also can’t help but take time to mention other archetypal or personality assessment tools that uncover similar consistencies. They are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Enneagram, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. All are worth observing and testing within brand and marketing contexts but this is exclusive to the twelve Jungian archetypes as expounded by Pearson and Mark and no deeper still by Hartwell and Chen.
Archetypes can be found throughout all of Tolkien’s Middle Earth, C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series, Harry Potter series, The Bible, and Star Wars. As a matter of fact George Lucas directly referenced and credited Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, a comparative mythology narrative.
An archetype is a universally familiar character or situation that transcends time, place, culture, gender and age. It represents an eternal truth.
After reading The Hero and the Outlaw, I picked up Archetypes in Branding: A Toolkit for Creatives and Strategists by Margaret Pott Hartwell and Joshua C. Chen. Pearson and Mark published The Hero and the Outlaw in 2001. Hartwell and Chen published their book in 2012, so there is a more updated and modern lens through which their case studies are observed. Hartwell and Chen also published their book as a spiral-bound workbook with cards to be taken out exercised in group settings for discussion. Each card—representing each archetype—is double sided: acknowledging the left and right hemisphere of the brain: intuitive and creative; and logical and analytical.
A symbol, theme, setting, or character-type that recurs in different times and places in myth, literature, folklore, dreams, and rituals so frequently or prominently as to suggest (to certain speculative psychologists and critics) that it embodies some essential element of ‘universal’ human experience.
—The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms
Hartwell and Chen take the twelve base archetypes and extrapolate them into sixty, twelve families of five.
Again, the twelve basic archetypes are the Innocent, the Explorer, the Sage, the Hero, the Outlaw, the Magician, the Regular Guy/Gal, the Lover, the Jester, the Caregiver, the Creator, and the Ruler. (For consistency and clarity, Hartwell and Chen identify the Outlaw as the Rebel; the Ruler as the Soverign; and the Regular Guy/Gal as the Citizen.)
Let’s take a deeper dive:
Citizen (the Regular Guy/Gal)
Rebel (the Outlaw)
Sovereign (the Ruler, to Pearson and Mark)
(Hartwell and Chen do not yet include Matriarch, which could vary wildly from Patriarch in archetypal leadership and communication)
Ever since we’ve been using archetypes in our work, two dominant themes have emerged that point to the benefits and power of using them, The first is that archetypes a have helped us resolve brand inconsistencies, and the second, which is an extension of the first, is that archetypes can enhance trust with users.
—Hartwell and Chen
A critique of the book itself is simply its excess in archetypes. Having established twelve, there is now a bloated pool of 60 and the core themes now seem less effective as stereotypes or loose generalizations within the primary twelve. Each of the 60 is only topically mentioned with a few paragraphs and not deeply explored to distinguish between similar or potentially overlapping archetypes.
Nonetheless, as a toolkit and workbook there is much to be garnered from conversations inspired by this book. Each of the 60 archetypes has its own card for group discussion; on these cards is the most information provided about each archetype: strengths, challenges, and a one paragraph summary.
For more information, check out the book’s website that outlines the 12 × 5 approach.
Here is a link to Brand Archetypes, pt. I.
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