Slice Through Marketing Noise with a Brand Messaging Platform Built on Archetypes

By Dave Barbush

Consumers are bombarded by thousands of marketing messages every day. There are ads in social media; ads in apps; ads on the air.

One can’t even go to the restroom without seeing an ad. To get your message to your end-user, you need to cut through all this noise. You need to be heard, but before you get to messaging, you need a solid brand messaging platform.

Your brand messaging needs to be an organic combination of who you are, what you do, and what you do for your customers. The next analytical step is to ask how your messaging platform should be built to support business goals. Sounds simple, but judging by all the bad advertising and D.O.A. taglines out there, too many are missing that mark.

A solid brand messaging platform blends data from comprehensive research, new or existing, and a competitive landscape study to understand the status quo. Then we look inward to discover an organization’s archetypes.

Identifying and harnessing the power of these archetypes must happen before continuing to expand on the traditional aspects of media and digital placement, logo design, public relations and creative copy. These archetypes do the speaking for every company, so to say they are important in a br­and messaging platform is an understatement.

Originally developed by Carl G. Jung, founder of analytical psychology, archetypes are identifiable, recurring patterns of unconscious beliefs and thoughts. These archetypes reside within the collective unconscious of people the world over.

They’re labels we don’t know we’re putting on each other and on organizations. People put them on your organization whether you, or they, know it or not. You must start seeing them like Neo saw the Matrix at the end of the movie. They are there all the time. Get to know them no matter what disguise they’re using.

There are 12 archetypes, which symbolize basic human needs, aspirations or motivations. In other words, an archetype is a human type in its purest form: the classic Hero, Outlaw, Ruler, etc.

Each archetype has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits. Archetypal images represent fundamental human desires and evoke deep emotions.

Using archetypes has revolutionized modern marketing. Most companies use three. Insurance companies, like most organizations, have two that are “givens.” Theirs are Ruler and Hero. The third one brings their unique marketing voice. Farmers is using the Sage. (“Be smarter about insurance.”) Progressive is using Flo, the Regular Girl. She wears a uniform and is a clerk. Geico uses the Jester in the form of the Cavemen and the Gecko.

Closer to home, The Blood Alliance discovered through research and analysis that their three archetypes were: the Caregiver (desires to care for others); the Hero (always there to save the day) and the Jester (lives in the moment). The nonprofit community blood bank then developed a three-year Brand Messaging Platform that gives the spotlight to one of these three archetypes and their messages. Over the three years, your brand story is told in simple messages anyone can understand and like. Their given archetypes are Caregiver and Hero, and the Jester’s voice will be used to make it engaging and fun.

Other benefits of a brand messaging platform include a deeper and clearer understanding of your brand. And, better creative because the agency will have a strong foundation to support them no matter how far out of the box they go. Plus, your top-level leaders will have their long term vision supported. Finally, the more immediate needs of the marketing and sales teams can easily coexist with the top-level brand, making each stronger.

The best marketing strategies are simple. There a many different ways to brand your organization and get it ready to go to market. This is just one. Find the brand strategist and process that you’re most comfortable with for the most satisfying branding experience.


Know Who You’re Talking To

Archetypes represent the purest types of humans. Knowing which archetype applies to your ideal customer can help you market more effectively.

  • The Innocent
    Free to be you and me
  • The Regular Guy/Girl
    All men and women are created equal
  • The Explorer
    Don’t fence me in
  • The Sage
    The truth will set you free
  • The Hero
    Where there’s a will, there’s a way
  • The Outlaw
    Rules are made to be broken
  • The Magician
    I make things happen.
  • The Lover
    You’re the only one
  • The Jester
    You only live once
  • The Caregiver
    Love your neighbor as yourself
  • The Creator
    If you can imagine it, it can be done
  • The Ruler
    Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

Source: Burning Bush Brands, a division of Client Focused Media

View More: Barbush is principal/creative director of Burning Bush Brands, a division of Client Focused Media. CFM is a Jacksonville-based integrated marketing firm with extensive capabilities and experience providing strategic planning, marketing, creative, advertising, public relations and crisis communications services. Barbush has more than 15 years of experience as a brand developer and marketing strategist. To find out more, go to or contact him at

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