How Can Archetypes Help?

When it comes to telling a relevant and compelling story the concept of archetypes has a valuable role to play in establishing powerful meaning and resonance with customers.

What is an archetype?

Archetypes in their simplest terms are representations of deep seated and widely held human motivations. While Carl Jung pioneered our conscious understanding of archetypes, their very power comes from the fact that they have been part of the human experience since time immemorial.

Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter – all unique and distinctive characters whose approach to life is nonetheless based on a common underpinning motivation. They share the same archetype.

Why do they matter?

Using archetypal thinking to help shape the story is important because it enables an organisation to connect with its audiences on an emotional, unconscious level.  It lays the foundation for communication that feels right, because it’s speaking in a language that we can all instinctively understand.

Archetypes transcend history, geography and cultures. They are genuinely universal and show up all over the world in stories from the very earliest oral traditions right through to the latest CGI blockbuster. Versions of the Cinderella story, for example, date back thousands of years.

We all recognise archetypes – in many ways it’s why we love stories in the first place. These archetypal stories, of finding love, winning a battle, discovering your own identity, are embedded in our own minds.

Do they really make a difference?

Analysis has shown that brands which align themselves closely, coherently and consistently to a particular archetype create greater financial value than those that don’t.

The more your audience connects with your story, the more they connect with what you’ve got to offer them.