What are archetypes?

The framework for using archetypes for branding purposes is based on the research of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist. Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson applied Jung’s ideas about basic human needs and marketing to a framework for branding that the experts at Trivera have been using for 10+ years.

Archetype theory focuses on the understanding that the underlying basis behind nearly every decision is one of four basic human needs:

  • stability
  • independence
  • achievement
  • belonging

Archetypes also tap into timeless, universal stories that help people understand your “story.” When an authentic archetype is applied to a brand, these essential human experiences increase relatability and understanding between brands and their consumers, helping consumers choose brands that are most likely to meet their needs in a comfortable way.

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12 archetype map showing stability, discovery, achievement and belonging Ruler Creator Innocent Sage Explorer Magician Rebel Hero Lover Jester Regular Guy Caregiver


Ruler brands create prosperity for others. The products or services produced by these brands help people manage tasks, earn money, feel confident, or provide a sense of control. Users of these products or services might receive insider benefits or be made to feel like part of an exclusive club. They are often sophisticated or appeal to customers who want to appear sophisticated.

Example ruler brands include:
  • Cadillac
  • Mercedes
  • Tag Heuer
ruler archetype


Creator brands desire structure and achieve this structure by building it themselves or providing their customers with the tools to stabilize their own environments. Authenticity is important to these brands and their customers. Creator brands believe that if something can be imagined, it can be created. While these brands and their customers are naturally creative, they can also be controlling and perfectionistic in their quest to achieve stability.

Example Creator brands include:
  • Lego
  • Williams Sonoma
  • Crayola
  • Martha Stewart
creator archetype


Innocent brands rescue their customers from an imperfect world by helping their customers discover a sense of peace and goodness right now. They are optimistic and believe in doing the right thing. People who want perfection in their part of the world are drawn to these brands.

Example Innocent brands include:
  • Coke
  • The Honest Company
  • Pillsbury
innocent archetype


Sage brands believe in power. These are brands we turn to for advice. They often emphasize the research that went into the development of their products or they are products that help us learn. Customers of sage brands may feel as though they are smarter than the average person and like to analyze products and situations.

Example Sage brands include:
  • NPR
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Many colleges and universities
  • CNN
sage archetype - smart


Explorer brands help their customers explore the world though their products. These products and services advance the journey of discovery and meet the yearning for excitement and fulfillment. Often pioneering or groundbreaking organizations, they are entrepreneurial spirits not boxed in by traditional corporate methods.

Example Explorer brands include:
  • Kashi
  • REI
  • Jeep
  • Trader Joe’s
explorer archetype


Magician brands make dreams come true and make things easy for their customers. They can make the impossible happen and find win-win outcomes for their customers.

Example Magician brands include:
  • Progressive
  • Dyson
  • Weight Watchers
magician archetype


Rebel brands pioneer new attitudes and groundbreaking ways of getting things done. Not necessarily “bad,” rebel brands often bring down the oppressive establishment or help their customers feel a little bit naughty in a safe way.

Example Rebel brands include:
  • Cheetos
  • Go Daddy
  • Virgin
rebel archetype


Hero brands are tough and do what it takes to succeed. People who work at hero companies feel like they are on a winning team with the best employees and a motivational culture. Or, these brands appeal to customers who want to feel like a hero as they work to meet challenges in work and life.

Example hero brands include:
  • Nike
  • FedEx
  • Military
  • Olympics
hero archetype


Lover brands are not necessarily about romantic love. These brands truly care about their customers and have a strong desire to please them. Lover brands provide a personal connection in a world that is becoming increasingly impersonal. Lovers make their customers happy and their customers are often passionate about the product or service.

Example Lover brands include:
  • Godiva
  • Haagen Dazs
  • Hallmark
lover archetype


Jester brands help their customers live in the moment. They often challenge the dominant brand by making fun of them or make boring tasks exciting. Customers of Jester brands want to be themselves and be accepted. These customers enjoy trying new things and like to have fun.

Example Jester brands include:
  • Pop Tarts
  • Old Spice
  • Pepsi
  • The Got Milk? campaign
jester archetype

Regular Guy

Regular guy brands appeal to our desire to root for the underdog. Their customers want to fit in, feel accepted for who they are, and connect with others. These brands often demonstrate a practical, down-to-earth functionality and are hardworking and honest with no hype or pretense.

Example Regular Guy brands include:
  • Walmart
  • country music
  • Dunkin Donuts
regular guy archetype


Caregiver brands fear instability and are motivated to help others achieve stability. Companies that help their customers do the right thing for others often select the caregiver archetype.

Example Caregiver brands include:
  • Volvo
  • Campbell’s Soup
  • or services such as health care, insurance, or banks
caregiver archetype