Archetypes - Part 2

Looking to understand the emotions or personality traits embodied by your brand and your audience? Look no further than archetypes.

Based on universal human desires, archetypes are a symbolic framework for understanding patterns of thought and emotional engagement or reactions. At Northbound, we use them to discover new pathways and core themes for companies, brands, and customers. There are 12 archetypes, each with their own motivations, desires, tones, and points of view.

Archetype Weel Screenshot

Welcome to part 2 of our two-part series!

In part 1, we looked at three archetypes who want to make their mark on the world, and three who want to connect with others.

Now, we’ll take a closer look at the remaining six archetypes. Three of them want to provide structure: the Caregiver, the Ruler, and the Creator. The other three want to find paradise: the Sage, the Innocent, and the Explorer. Read below to learn who they are, how they talk, and the best strategies to connect with them.

Providing structure - Whether through caring, dominance, or creation these three archetypes aim to provide structure to the world around them. They measure success by the effect they have on people and things around them.

Provide Structure

The Ruler

  • The Ruler wants to provide structure through control. Their purpose is to control.
  • They’re an ambassador, judge, patriarch, sovereign who is authoritative in their communications and actions, and they often carry a sense of intimidation. Their single-minded drive is for success and prosperity – and for that prosperity to trickle down to their loyal subjects. Rulers see themselves as the top of the food chain.
  • Motto
  • "Power isn’t everything; it’s the only thing."
  • Traits
  • Authoritarian, confident, dominating, judgmental, ordered
  • Brands
  • American Express, Mercedes Benz, Barclays, British Airways
  • People
  • Steve Jobs, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Jay Z
  • How to connect with the Ruler:
  • Re-affirm their sense of power and respect. Don’t appeal to the masses: show them they’re part of an exclusive club just for being associated with you.

The Creator

  • The Creator wants to provide structure through innovation. Their purpose is to create things of enduring value.
  • They’re an artist, entrepreneur, storyteller who needs to express themselves with their talent. They want to create something exceptional, something that will last and influence others.
  • Motto
  • "If you can imagine it, it can be done."
  • Traits
  • Artistic, creative, dreamer, expressive
  • Brands
  • Adobe, Apple, Lego, Crayola
  • People
  • Maya Angelou, Beethoven, Salvador Dali, Shakespeare
  • How to connect with the Creator:
  • Creating things is great: knowing HOW to create them is just as important. Inspire self-expression while celebrating the creative process itself.

The Caregiver

  • The Caregiver wants to provide structure through service. Their purpose is to protect and be there for others - to help.
  • They’re an angel, guardian, healer, Samaritan. Driven by the desire to care for others, the Caregiver is both reactive and preventative, often seen before and after potentially harmful events.
  • Motto
  • "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."
  • Traits
  • Altruistic, empathetic, generous, guiding, nurturing
  • Brands
  • Johnson & Johnson, Allstate, GE, Campbell's
  • People
  • Oprah Winfrey, Elanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Mary Poppins
  • How to connect with the Caregiver:
  • Aim to make your customers feel secure, protected, and cared for. A thoughtful, generous approach to how your brand communicates and acts will resonate with an audience who may be vulnerable and sensitive.

Finding paradise - These three archetypes are looking to find paradise in their own unique ways. They do this by exploring the often intangible, indescribable spirituality innate to themselves and the world around them.

Find Paradise

The Explorer

  • The Explorer wants to find paradise through freedom. Their purpose is to explore a better, more fulfilling life.
  • They’re an adventurer, individualist, pioneer, seeker who only feels at home outside of their comfort zone. But this isn’t to prove anything to anyone else: it’s purely a journey of self-understanding.
  • Motto
  • "Don’t fence me in."
  • Traits
  • Adventurous, ambitious, daring, fearless, independent, nimble
  • Brands
  • Jeep, The North Face, Red Bull, REI
  • People
  • Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Steve Irwin, Amelia Earhart
  • How to connect with the Explorer:
  • Throw down the gauntlet. Push envelopes. Challenge them. Promoting the outdoors is a common theme among Explorers but challenging any confines of modern life will help you quickly resonate with them.

The Innocent

  • The Innocent wants to find paradise through safety and security. Their purpose is to be happy.
  • They’re a child, dreamer, idealist, muse who craves safety, but ultimately wants security for themselves and everyone else to be happy. With an innate optimism, the Innocent sees beauty everywhere and holds no mean spirits towards anyone.
  • Motto
  • "We are free to be you and me."
  • Traits
  • Forgiving, happy, honest, optimistic, trusting
  • Brands
  • Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, Dove, Nintendo
  • People
  • Anne Frank, Gandhi, Mr. Rogers, Shirley Temple
  • How to connect with the Innocent:
  • Show people that inner beauty is recognized with simple, honest, and positive language. Negative communication is an immediate put-off for the Innocent, so be mindful.

The Sage

  • The Sage wants to find paradise through understanding. Their purpose is to find the truth.
  • They’re a detective, mentor, shaman, translator who seeks truth, knowledge and wisdom and wants to share it with others. Lifelong learners, Sages would prefer to pass their knowledge on to those who can change the world, rather than change it themselves.
  • Motto
  • "The truth will set you free."
  • Traits
  • Articulate, contemplative, intellectual, guiding, rational, objective
  • Brands
  • Google, Nikon, Smithsonian, NY Times
  • People
  • Dalai Lama, Jane Goodall, Dumbledore, Socrates, Yoda
  • How to connect with the Sage:
  • Don’t dumb down the message. An articulate way of speaking will pay tribute to your audience’s intelligence as you talk to them. Connect the dots for them in a way that allows them to use your analysis without feeling lesser for not having seen the dots in the first place.

Use these archetypes as a lens to look at your brand, its goals, and its actions. What does it want to accomplish? How does it accomplish that? You can also use them to explore your audience and their emotional motivations. When you understand how your brand and your audience see the world, you can create an experience that truly resonates.

Drop us a line if you want to learn more about these effective tools to understand your audience, their motivations, and your brand. We even have a handy booklet with all the archetypes. Order one here while supplies last!



Adam Shigem | Senior Strategist

Learn from us

Sign up to receive monthly insights right to your inbox
Get on this list

Explore more resources

We solve business challenges with brand.