Brand look, voice and messaging
What kind of brand do you need to create in order to attract your ideal target customers? This is a question I hear frequently and an exercise in business I just love. I’m a HUGE fan of brands and branding, and being a creative at heart and people lover it’s of no surprise. It’s something that comes very naturally to me and I’m a raving fan of aligning your key messages (or brand voice) with your brand identity in order to attract your ideal customer and achieve your business goals.
You see brands are a lot like people, so we tend to use some of the same techniques we use for defining ourselves when creating and defining our company’s brand. Throughout time too, many of the same characters appear in the stories we read. So it’s of no surprise to find that over time, companies have adopted the qualities of these characters. By doing so, it’s made it easier for employees to assimilate the company culture, and also for customers to quickly get what they’re all about.
So instead of creating a brand out of thin air, I suggest you consider the archetypes below to develop visuals, messaging, and experiences that evoke certain feelings for your customers. Remember too that whilst brands are stories, archetypes are the characters.
1.Explorer – crossing boundaries
Explorer brands are all about learning. They understand that there are no limits to becoming and no end to learning. They cultivate experiences to stretch and grow and they seek opportunities to step out of life and into living. They are independent and self-directed; explorers who enjoy individualist pursuits. Inherently non-conformist, they value freedom and innovation. They seek out a better world and the ability to align inner needs with outer realities. Explorers are ahead of their time and often appeal to youthfulness. Explorer communication is active; these brands are on the go, learning through experience. Their look is rugged and individual. Starbucks is an example of an Explorer brand.
2. Ruler – take control and lead
Ruler brands are all about knowing how to get things done. They enjoy leadership roles and act in a commanding, authoritative manner. Relationships are defined, as are policies and procedures. Politically savvy and often patriotic, they appeal to the desire to be successful and important. Ruler communication is authoritative. Their image is well defined, solid, and polished. Budweiser is an example of a ruler brand.
3. Creator – order from chaos
Creator brands are again non-conformist. They see the big picture and rearranging disparate pieces to craft something meaningful. Authenticity is important as is trust of the creative process and belief in imagination. Creators are passionate and capable of real innovation. Creators are open to new ideas and their communication is expressive, symbolic and full of meaning. Creators have a look that is original, artistic or interpretative. Martha Stewart is an example of a creator brand.
4. Innocent – life as it should be
Innocent brands are simple, uncomplicated and good. There are many levels of this archetype, from the childlike to the mystical. However, they all encourage us to get out of the fast lane and find happiness through a return to simple pleasures and basic values. Innocents provide sanctuary and help us find or renew our faith. Innocent brands communicate in a straightforward or poetic way. The look is optimistic or tranquil. McDonalds is an example of an innocent brand.
5. Sage – to know is to grow
The Sage brand has faith is humankind’s ability to learn and grow and to make smarter decisions. It is dedicated to discovering the truth or spreading knowledge. It is the thinking brand, the brand that takes pride in intelligence and information. Sage brand communication is thoughtful and can challenge. Word choice can be higher level. Their look might be solid and grounded, or historic and classic. Harvard is an example of a sage brand.
6. Revolutionary – conventions were made to be broken
Revolutionary brands are radicals. They are energetic and challenge the status quo. They channel frustrations constructively, giving people the freedom the do and think outside the box which in turn allows for creative breakthroughs that often lead to real innovation and new growth. Revolutionary brand communication is bold and confident. It can question or have multiple meanings. The Revolutionary look can be surprising, provocative, and innovative. Apple and Harley Davidson are examples of revolutionary brands.
7. Magicians – making the vision a reality
Magician brands are visionary organizations. As catalysts for change, they work to change situations and influence people. Magician brands values transformational experiences and help others turn ideas into action. Magician brand communication is inspiring, symbolic and spirited. The look is less structured and more fluid, flowing and malleable. Walt Disney is an example of a magician brand.
8. Hero – where there’s a will, there’s a way
Hero brands are all about who they are, not what they do. Interestingly, heroes don’t think of themselves as heroes at all. However, through their determination and perseverance, they heighten the awareness of those around them. They are competent, courageous and responsive, inspiring others to triumph over challenge. Hero communication is direct and hard-hitting as they have no time to over explain. The Hero’s look is strong, bold and functional. Nike is an example of a hero brand.
9. Jester – the passion to perform
Jester brands bend the rules and so see things from a fresh perspective and engage out-of-the box thinking. Playful and spontaneous, they believe it’s not work if you enjoy it. Jesters remind us to lighten up and live in the moment. Jesters communicate in the present tense and are often funny. They enjoy bright colors, playful typography and outrageous imagery. Ben and Jerry is an example of a jester brand.
10. Everyperson – all for one and one for all
Everyperson brands is the archetype of the common man and woman and everyone fits in. The Everyperson is put off by elitism, and happy just they way they are – real, honest and hard working. The everyperson brand communicates in a voice that’s easy to understand and inclusive. Everyperson graphics and fonts are simple and often rounded. Asda’s George is an example of everyone brand.
11. Caregiver – making people a priority
The Caregiver brand is compassionate and generous. Consistent and trustworthy, they offer a high level of customer service. Caregiver brand communication is warm and welcoming and their words are often instructive. Imagery may focus on people and graphics and fonts may have softer edges. Volvo is an example of a caregiver brand.
12. Lover – follow your bliss
The Lover brand is connected by something deeper and that could be parental, spiritual, friendship or romantic. The lover expresses affection and the feeling dimension. It can also be a pleasure seeker with an appreciation of real beauty and aesthetic value. Lover brand comunicaiton is inviting, beautiful and poetic. The look can be ultra rich and sensuous, or warm and inviting. The Lover is often found in cosmetics, jewelry, fashion, food and travel. Hallmark greeting cards is an example of a lover brand.
Understanding which archetypes are active in your organization can help you measure the values that capture the real commitments of your team; create a positive future vision that resonates with your employees; and discover and maintain a compelling brand identity.
Please let me know which archetypes are active in your organization? And, how you’re getting on with creating a new brand or revising an existing one as I’d love to hear. Let me know what your markets reaction has been to it as I’d love to hear. If you have any more advice, please just add a comment. Thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!
With love and gratitude – as always,
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