Monday, 11 January 2016

Fascinating Archetypes

I've never been too sure about the use of the word 'archetype' in a marketing context. As a psychologist, my association with the word is Jungian, and something far more complex than which box you end up in in a Buzzfeed - style quiz.

OK, reservations aside, I do admit that sometimes a 'typology' exercise can be useful in brand positioning work. It's more than just a description of a personality - it  can help describe how people relate to your brand, and maybe gives a tone of voice for the brand communication. In a crowded market it's a way of distinguishing between brands.

I was intrigued to see the 49 Personality Archetypes developed by the How to Fascinate consultancy, led by Sally Hogshead. The consultancy is mainly in the business of personal branding, but of course brand managers also want their brands to fascinate! Sally Hogshead has a background as an advertising copywriter, and has defined '7 Advantages of Fascination' - Innovation, Passion, Power, Prestige, Trust, Mystique and Alert. When these are put in a matrix, the 49 personality archetypes emerge, each with a primary advantage plus a secondary advantage, creating personas as different as The Wise Owl, The Control Freak and The People's Champion.

Similar to Myers-Briggs, you may think. But these personas are less about how you see the world and more about how the world sees you. Each has its own communications style, relationship approach and set of priorities.

I am not sure that this could be applied 100% to brands - and, of course, the questionnaire and algorithm used in the analysis are rightly proprietary, but nevertheless, it's a potentially interesting new way of looking at brands.

Fascinating stuff.

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