The 12 Brand Archetypes for Ripe For B2B Tech Domination

Once upon a time, a colorful cast of characters dominated center stage in the land of branding. These brand archetypes, known by most marketers today, consist of heroes, sidekicks, and villains that define a brand’s persona and lay the groundwork for storytelling. All thanks to psychologist Carl Jung, who elucidated this exciting concept, many consumer brands have harnessed the expressive power of these archetypes to forge memorable connections with their audiences.

But before we proceed, let’s stop and consider why consumer brands should have exclusive dibs on archetypes/ Is there a compelling reason why B2B tech companies can’t adopt these practices to deepen their relationships with potential buyers? 

The answer is a resounding no.

To truly appreciate the impact of brand archetypes, let’s briefly journey back to their origins. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, recognized universal symbols and characters that permeate the collective unconscious. From myths and legends to literature and art, these archetypes are time-tested elements woven into the very tapestry of human culture.

Adept marketers picked up on Jung’s insights and saw their tremendous potential in the B2C arena. They adeptly implemented these archetypes to fortify their brand identities, create deeper emotional connections, and evoke specific sentiments and associations that resonate with their target market. The impact of this approach has undeniably catapulted consumer marketing to a whole other level, but alas, B2B still seems to be lagging.

Changing Lanes: The Relevance of Brand Archetypes in B2B Enterprises

It’s time to leave behind the rigid, cookie-cutter B2B marketing and communications tactics that rely on dull and detached approaches. The truth is, behind the corporate facade of these businesses are real people (*plot twist!*) eager for authentic, personable interactions with brands. In response, the “H2H”, or Human to Human, marketing strategy has emerged, aiming to create genuine, relatable connections between companies and their clients.

For B2B brands, how can brand archetypes lend a helping hand in achieving this intimate human connection? When correctly leveraged, brand archetypes can drive B2B tech companies to resonate with their audience by striking the right emotional chord and addressing their prospects’ rational and emotional requirements. Implementing brand archetypes can fortify trust, encourage loyalty, and help a brand stand out in an increasingly competitive market.

For instance, let’s consider the Sage archetype applied to a B2B tech company like IBM. This archetype focuses on wisdom, knowledge, and informed decision-making, which aligns well with the expectations of a B2B audience seeking expert technological solutions. In such a case, IBM could craft content, messaging, and campaigns that position the brand as a provider of cutting-edge technology powered by deep industry expertise. Consequently, the Sage archetype is an invaluable ally that helps bridge the gap between the brand and its target audience, strengthening relationships and fostering long-term success.

On the other hand, if a B2B tech company like Slack embraced the Jester archetype, it could connect with its audience by creating engaging and entertaining content that showcases the lighter, more enjoyable side of technology. From witty social media posts to engaging video campaigns, embracing the Jester archetype enables Slack to establish a relatable human connection with its customers, boosting loyalty and brand differentiation.

In a nutshell, when a fitting archetype synchronizes seamlessly with the target audience’s value system, it’s like successfully finding the long-sought missing piece that completes the entire jigsaw puzzle – and it just clicks.

Meet and Greet: The 12 Brand Archetypes

Before we explore the strategic implementation of brand archetypes in B2B marketing, let’s take a quick tour through the 12 brand archetypes and their distinct characteristics.

  1. The Innocent: Pure, simple, and optimistic, The Innocent represents the eternal optimist in the brand world. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign is a shining example of this warm and fuzzy archetype.
  2. The Sage: The Sage is a knowledgeable, wise mentor about learning and personal growth. Think IBM or LinkedIn, who strive to bring expertise and insight to their audience.
  3. The Explorer: Fueled by a sense of wanderlust and discovery, The Explorer uncovers uncharted territories like its brand counterpart, Land Rover.
  4. The Outlaw: Edgy, rule-breaking, and unapologetic. The Outlaw goes against the grain like they don’t care! Think Harley-Davidson or even other disruptors like Tesla.
  5. The Magician: The Magician is an innovator and dream-weaver committed to making the impossible possible. Who better exemplifies this than Apple or Adobe, as they constantly push the boundaries of technology?
  6. The Hero: Tenacious and courageous, The Hero fights against adversity to protect the greater good. Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign speaks volumes to this powerful archetype.
  7. The Lover: Passion, connection, and sensuality drive The Lover, and no one does it better than luxury brands like Tiffany & Co. or fashion brands like La Senza.
  8. The Jester: Pulling pranks, poking fun, and spreading smiles are hallmarks of The Jester archetype. Think Skittles or Old Spice, who always seem eager to entertain and tickle the funny bone.
  9. The Everyman: Grounded, approachable, and relatable, The Everyman is the brand next door. Home Depot or Walmart might come to mind, capturing the essence of the everyday consumer.
  10. The Caregiver: Nurturing, supportive, and compassionate, The Caregiver caters to customers’ needs selflessly. Johnson & Johnson baby products embody this tender archetype.
  11. The Ruler: Commanding authority, The Ruler boasts about leadership, achievement, and excellence. Microsoft and Mercedes-Benz are exemplars of this powerful archetype.
  12. The Creator: Imaginative, inventive, and visionary, The Creator holds a blueprint for innovation. LEGO or Pinterest showcases the creative potential of this archetype.

Armed and Ready: Implementing Brand Archetypes in B2B Marketing Strategies

The journey to aligning a brand with a suitable archetype begins with a comprehensive understanding of your audience. This means you need to embark on an insightful exploration of their emotions, values, and the conversations that matter to them. Only through such profound knowledge can you create gripping brand narratives, persuasive messaging, and impactful digital campaigns that truly strike a chord with your audience. 

The good news is the world of data and analytics has stepped up to ensure that marketers are well-equipped for this challenge. Many data sources and tools, such as social media listening, digital body language tracking, and audience segmentation platforms, are now available to paint a vivid picture of our target market’s hearts and minds.

For instance, social media listening tools like Hootsuite Insights and Mention can help you track popular topics and identify trending sentiments among your target audience. Going beyond the surface-level metrics of likes and retweets, these platforms provide a more comprehensive understanding of the conversation landscape, allowing you to align your brand messaging accordingly.

On the other hand, by using a tool like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, you can observe and analyze the digital behavior of your audience on your website. Understanding their browsing patterns, clicks, and even how long they stay on certain pages can provide insights into their interests and preferences. This information can inform your content strategy, ensuring you produce material that aligns with your brand archetype and resonates with your audience.

Regarding audience segmentation, platforms such as Marketo and HubSpot offer solutions to categorize and understand your target market more deeply. Built from the ground up with marketers in mind, these software suites can help identify different segments of your user base and the unique preferences of each group. With this knowledge, brands can develop laser-focused strategies that speak to the values and emotions of these distinct audiences and forge stronger connections through their chosen brand archetype. 

By harnessing this plethora of data and leveraging these powerful tools, marketers are left better equipped to navigate the complexities of their audience’s desires and preferences. Through this, companies carve out a truly authentic and relatable brand presence perfectly attuned to their target market’s emotions, values, and conversations. Overall, the outcome is captivating brand narratives, persuasive messaging, and impactful digital campaigns that elevate a B2B brand in the eyes of its audience.

Measuring the Success of Your B2B Brand Archetype Implementation

After investing time and effort into crafting a brand archetype strategy, it is essential to gauge whether the implemented approach bears fruitful results. A reliable evaluation process hinges on a well-designed measurement framework and clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs). In addition, by examining progression, efficacy, and audience engagement, marketers can understand how successful their brand archetype strategy has been.

Evaluating the alignment of a brand with a chosen archetype calls for a multifaceted technique. Numerous methods can assist marketers in determining the effectiveness of their brand positioning in resonating with their audience. Some examples include customer surveys, brand sentiment analysis, and thorough scrutiny of audience discussions.

Consider a brand that has adopted the “Explorer” archetype. To assess the success of this positioning, marketers may conduct customer surveys featuring carefully crafted questionnaires to gauge audience reception. For example, do customers embrace the idea of the brand as an adventurous trailblazer, or are they largely unresponsive? Regularly administered surveys can provide valuable insights into the success of a brand archetype strategy.

Another approach involves monitoring brand sentiment across customer reviews, social media, and news articles. Tools like Talkwalker and NetBase enable marketers to analyze public opinions regarding their brand and identify emerging trends in perception. Then, by comparing this data over time, companies can evaluate whether alignment with the chosen archetype fosters the desired perception and positively impacts the brand’s image.

Moreover, it is essential to delve into audience conversations to uncover how well a newly adopted brand archetype resonates. Tracking social media posts, blog comments and conducting interviews are all effective ways to gain insights into audience concerns and the reception of brand initiatives. This valuable information can help determine if a brand archetype strategy is hitting its intended target.

It is worth noting that consistent evaluation and transparency are critical components in the quest for brand archetype success. By incorporating the insights from these assessments, marketers can fine-tune their strategy, enhance its impact, and cultivate a brand presence that engages audiences deeply emotionally. This results in a solid market position and drives long-term success for B2B brands.

The Grand Finale: Capitalizing on Human to Human for B2B Tech Brands

In a world where the line between human and machine is ever-merging, the need for B2B tech brands to connect, communicate, and engage with their audience on a human level has never been more critical. By uncovering and embracing the brand archetypes that align with your company’s vision and culture, marketers can unleash the secret ingredient for long-lasting brand value: humanity.

So why not step into the spotlight with your brand’s distinct archetype and forge a path to industry success through the power of Human to Human connections? The stage is set, the curtains are drawn, and the audience is waiting.

Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.