7 Archetypes that Established Brand Identity

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Enduring brands like IBM, Nestlé, Cadbury and Volkswagen have thrived due to a strong corporate brand identity that not only connects with customers, but also effectively establishes trust through powerful brand archetypes that are recalled via brand identity design, logo and branding.

Why would a company try to establish a branding identity via a particular archetype?

Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung first introduced the idea that archetypes exist unconsciously in our minds. Archetypes are universally understood figures that reside in the recesses of the mind and provide emotional prompts that can create bonds, build trust and establish a loyal following.

Sound too psychoanalytic? Charles Schwab has built its brand on the Sage, an archetype that provides counsel and advice. It is also considered wise and seeks the truth. Schwab emulates the Sage and therefore gains the many attributes associated with it (without ever having to say it).

Download an excerpt from the popular, Archetypes in Branding, to read brand identity examples of seven top companies that have successfully personified their brand within an archetypal model.

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Scratching the Surface: 7 Archetypes that Established Brand Identity

In this thought-provoking chapter excerpt of Archetypes in Branding, you’ll learn how seven top corporations built their brands around popular archetypes, establishing brand identity guidelines to ensure continuity and consistency.

Each of the seven company’s corporate brand identity strategies began with an archetype in mind. The brand logo and brand identity design followed the model, incorporating the archetype’s strengths then weaving stories, graphic design and iconic images to position their brands within an archetypal framework to define their brand. Some will no doubt prompt an “A-HA” moment; others will inspire you. The entire book includes 60 archetype profile cards.

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Brand Identity #1 – IBM

IBM’s iconic first CEO, Thomas J. Watson said, “The toughest thing about the power of trust is that it’s very difficult to build and very easy to destroy. The essence of trust building is to emphasize the similarities between you and the customer.” Find out which archetype defines the 100 year-old brand and keeps it fresh.

Discover the Brand Identity of Apple

Brand Identity #2 – Apple

Apple Computer chose a 60-second Super Bowl commercial ad spot in 1984 to establish the foundation of the company’s brand identity. Some considered the concept a risk. It remains one of the most talked about, meticulously executed, brand identity examples today and is often the archetypal model that technology companies strive to emulate.

Discover the Brand Identity of Nestle

Brand Identity #3 – Nestle’s Taster’s Choice

GoldMcCann-Erikson developed a soap opera-like advertising campaign to sell instant coffee in the early 1990s. It was so popular, Nestle, the parent company of Taster’s Choice Gold, advertised the campaign in TV Guide. Can you guess which archetype the ad agency used that was responsible for increasing sales by 10 percent during a period when coffee sales were flat?

Discover the Brand Identity of Chipotle

Brand Identity #4 – Chipotle’s Restaurant

Some brand identity examples have a primary and secondary archetype in play. This campaign has little to do with serving Mexican food and everything to do with the archetypes that defined the chain after the short film aired in movie theaters across the nation, increasing sales in 2011 by more than 23 percent.

Discover the Brand Identity of Cadbury

Brand Identity #5 – Cadbury

Branding identity around a simpleton type archetype seems awfully risky. Still, Cadbury’s Crème Egg remains a top favorite during Easter and its clucking bunny ad continues to be the most recalled candy ad in its space – running a record 30 years, although there have been a few variations. What’s the archetype they used?

Discover the Brand Identity of Celestial Seasonings

Brand Identity #6 – Sterling Brand’s Celestial Seasonings

The brand identity design may give this archetype away. The company has made every effort to integrate the model across all design, from packaging to imagery. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the company is based in Boulder, Colorado, and not a far off land where ancient secret recipes are used to make the calming brew.

Discover the Brand Identity of Volkswagen

Brand Identity #7 – Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s familiar archetype plays extremely well with all ages of car buyers and has been used to emulate fun in their drivers. The brand posted double digit growth in 2011. Last year was Volkswagen’s best sales year ever, outpacing 1973 numbers. Selling an archetype may be a lot more lucrative than selling cars.


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