Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Brand Archetype Assessor

The concept of brand archetype is well established as a managerial tool. It is a productive way of placing brand personalities and brand communication in a cultural context.

There are many alternative models of archetype structures that help brand planners think about alternative archetypes.

However, what is needed is a productive means of assessing brand archetypes and placing them in a competitive context.

Here is my Brand Archetype Assessor. It will help you accomplish that goal.

You see that the cardinal dimensions are rational versus emotional and active versus passive. There is a vast amount of scholarly literature supporting these as key dimensions.

Then, within the cardinal directions, you will notice the sub-dimensions of productive versus creative and mindful versus playful.

I've illustrated these major dimensions with brand exemplars. Let me know if you have questions, and I am also available to make presentations on this and other topics.

 Copyright © 2015 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Hi Professor Eighmey, I have a question. Why did you place Subaru on the rational side of the spectrum when their tagline and commercials are all about emotion? "Love, it's what makes Subaru a Subaru".

  2. Hi Megan! What a great question. Think of it this way, the Subaru campaign is all about the "cognitive theory of love." See my post about the cognitive theory of emotion. Thanks!

  3. I see! Then how should we when deciding a brand's archetype decipher the true archetype without looking at previous campaigns and work as guides? What do you recommend?

  4. I love using these grids. I usually use dimensions relevant to whatever the particular category is. I am so interested in your dimension "active vs. passive". Other than brands that don't actively promote themselves, what else does it refer to?

  5. The previous campaigns are useful material for deciphering a brand's archetype. For example, the grid gives Subaru as an exemplar of the Mindful direction. Although "Love" is a prominent symbol in the work it is really the emotional basis for the safety and other thoughtful design features of the car carefully described in the advertising, hence Professor as the archetype. On the other hand, the Audi work focuses on speed, daring and verve in connection with the driver, hence Playboy as the archetype.

  6. Active versus passive, or dynamic versus static, you can adapt it. Look at Apple as the active exemplar, the brand is about breakthrough creativity and self-expression and productivity. And, in contrast, Starbucks positions itself as "that third place" between home and office where you withdraw, indeed escape to find yourself, treat yourself, compose yourself in a hectic world, etc.