Brand Archetypes


Brand Archetypes as Antecedents to Word-of-Mouth

Brands are complex, abstract and difficult to pin down. What once stood out as a “guarantee of quatlity and promise of performance (Batey, 2008) is now a coherent set of ideas in your consumer’s mind. It is a personification of a product, service or even an entire company (Blanchart, 2010). For the brand it is important to understand the shifting nature of the brand-consumer relationship.

Howard-Spink (2002) wrote: “Ironically, in this post modern age when people are supposedly no longer interested in meta-narritives with common understanding, brand development is nothing short of creating a story that people want to be a part of” (p.2). Brands must now find ways to embed themselves into consumer’s personal narratives. To do-so a brand must distinguish itself from others and create an emotional affinity with the consumer.

In a sense, functionality may no longer play an important role in shaping choice. What this means is the value of a brand may not be what it provides, but what it symbolizes (Riesenbeck and Perrey, 2007).

What a brand symbolizes is a facet of the brand’s identity and personality. It is often the brand’s personality that strengthens the association with the consumer. Thus, it becomes important for brands to develop strategies to design personality. As Temporal (2010) found, brand strength is highly correlated with a strong personality.

The relationship between brand characteristics/personality is only beginning to be explored. One thing that is relevant, and is highlighted by something like the Kate Spade mural, is that providing touch points that allow consumers to share a brand’s content as their own personal narrative is a good place to start.

And similarly, how do you make those touch points shareable?


Blanchard, R. T. (2002). Creating brand value through customer intimacy. Impact, 14-15.

Howard-Spink, J. (2002). Using archetypes to build stronger brands. Admap. 1-3.

Riesenbeck, H. & Perrey, J. (2007). Powerbrands: Measuring, making and managing brand success. Weinheim: Wiley VCH Verlag.

Temporal, P. (2010). Advanced brand management: Managing brands in a changing world. Singapore: John Wiley & Sons.


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