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  • Writer's pictureDeonna Lindsay-Lewis

Build A Sticky Brand With Archetypes

Updated: 6 days ago

The Shortcut To Sticky Stories

There's an irresistible stickiness to certain brands that we just can't scrub away. The connection is profound, almost hard to pin down. It feels like we're familiar with them, and in some instances, it might even seem like we're downright obsessed.

But what draws us to these brands? What makes us a "blue bubble" or "green bubble" texter? Or 30-something-year-olds purchasing adult happy meals and Grimace shakes?

As impressive as these brands may seem, it's not the compelling ad content, stunning brand design, or perfectly curated Instagram channels that have us salivating for MORE.

It's the STORIES that brands tell; the ones that make us feel seen or called out; the ones that allow us to swap out our current identities for the ones we want (or ones we miss); the ones that light up the dopamine centers of our brains because they feel like our closest friends; it's the brands with personalities, fears, GUTS, values and a mission that we want to take up torches and rally behind.

In short, we love brands that have figured out how to turn stories into irrational desire- something we absolutely MUST have, so we make a snap decision to purchase, and then justify with logic later.

And what, pray tell, is the shortcut to desire?

Brand Archetypes.

They're a beeline to tapping into universal emotions- each with its own personality, backstory, and power to steal away with the hearts (and wallets) of customers across the globe.


Archetypes are universal patterns of human behavior that we instinctively understand. They relate to us all on a deep emotional level and are amplified in art, religion, myths and STORIES.

Stories? They're sticky, sweeter than fresh pralines out of the oven, melting in your mouth as they satisfy a deep craving. This is why they are the most powerful marketing tool; because we're suckers for a good tale, always have been since we painted mammoths on cave walls. They help us make sense of the world, manage meaning, and quickly tap into the collective human experience. They are cross-cultural, timeless, and deeply rooted in science.

From Ancient Greece to modern psychology, "Archetypes" have been our secret language, shaping our world, and adding depth to our experiences. Coined by Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, archetypes unlock the power of the "collective unconscious," allowing us all to tap into universal emotions. In the world of branding, Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson turned this ancient alchemy into marketing gold- solidifying archetypes as the heartbeat that make a brand feel human, resonate deeply, and inspire love.

Imagine your brand strutting down the street, turning heads with the swag of The Rebel or the charm of The Lover. Picture your message weaving through the crowd like a legendary ballad, enchanting folks with The Hero's courage or The Magician's mystery. This is the secret sauce, your brand's edge, the stickiness that'll have people lining up around the block, itching to be part of your brand's story.

Building your brand with archetypes is the cheat code to:

  • Connecting with your people quickly

  • Creating richer, clearer language around your work

  • Creating products and services that your customers see themselves in

  • Creating edge

  • And feeling instinctively like "the right choice"

With the right strategy in hand, we can make any brand pulse like a living, breathing creature that both whispers and roars into the hearts of your people. Gone are the days of blasting dime-a-dozen messages into the void. Now, you will set fireworks of recognition off in your audience's minds! Can you feel it? That’s your brand’s heartbeat syncing up with the universal drumbeat of stories – timeless, sticky, and dripping in desire.

Let's pull the curtain back on how to harness the 12 Archetypes to tap into your audience's psyche and build a gooey, long-lasting relationship.


Sticky brands carefully blend two or three archetypes into an irresistible cocktail to tell a richer, more nuanced story and connect in ways that feel more human and desirable! Grab the free workbook to help you craft your sticky brand right now!

The Perfect Blend: Choose Your Mix

When building a brand with archetypes, most would simply choose one- which can create a flat story that lacks interest or nuance. Others will thumb through the archetypes cherry-picking characteristics as if perusing the grocery aisles of Wegmans- a Frankenstein approach to a confused brand. And......

Where there is confusion, there are no sales.

Archetypes are fully formed personalities with opinions, beliefs, values, and world views. The secret to a sticky story is an expert blend that creates a well-rounded, relatable, and differentiated tale; one that makes it obvious that you're not just purchasing a product–you're endorsing a belief system that resonates with the beat of your heart.


The fastest way to fall into the land of the Invisibles is to tell a story that's already been told. As you begin to craft your archetypal mix, and with it your brand story, we MUST use this as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from others in your industry.

In other words, you're not going to blow us away by being an artist who identifies as a Creator brand. But an Innocent-Creative brand that tells a story of an illustrator who reimagines classic portraits (those stoic, old-timey faces) composed of Lite Brite pieces-the magic of your childhood dreams; lighting up the mundane with a giggle in your heart? Gimme that!

A yogi who spins a nurturer's tale? YAWN. However, a yogi (Nurturer Archetype) inspiring "formidable face poses" at the apex of Mount Vesuvius (Explorer Archetype)? Tell me more!

I'm saying none of this to suggest that you rework your business model to tell an OUTRAGEOUS story, but I am challenging you to make it different. Make it sticky.

Let's dive into creating your perfect blend by taking a look at the Archetype map.

IDENTITY: Your 70% Core

Your identity is the heart of your brand—like donning an outfit that speaks volumes before a word is uttered. It's how you see yourself, the tales you spin, and how effortlessly you resonate with your audience. 

Think of it as the intersection where your world and your audience’s desires collide. 

What gaps are you filling in their lives? Who do they want to be (and as a result, need you to be)? 


What is it that both you and your audience want most? What is missing from their lives?

  • Freedom/Discovery

  • Impact/Success

  • Belonging/Connection

  • Influence/Stability

Find your selection (indicated at the top of each quadrant) on the Archetype map above. Then, look at each of the three archetypes within that quadrant and select the one that MOST resonates with your brand. 

Solving this problem becomes who you are (your identity at its core). It’s the lens through which people see you. It encompasses your personality, your deepest motivations, and the unique story that only you can tell. 

Up next? We make your story sticky by juxtaposing it with a bit of EDGE. Which brings us to the next part of your archetypal mix.

APPROACH: Your 25% Edge

Your approach takes in your audience’s attitudes and behaviors around the problem you solve. It's about understanding your audience's cravings by approaching their most salient problem with what they want to FEEL the most-the thing they’re willing to PAY to feel. 

As a result, your approach is your differentiator-the thing that gives your brand/story edge. 

Think about how others in your industry approach their services/products. How can you differentiate or choose an unexpected approach.? Sometimes you can create an interesting, sticky dynamic by choosing an opposite. For example: An Innocent Rebel or Creative Sage. If you don’t want to choose a polar opposite, still push yourself to choose an archetype that appears in a different quadrant than your Core Archetype. Think about how your brand ACTUALLY shows up- this is your approach (the convergence point between how both you and your audience approach the problem you solve). 


Refer again to the Archetype Map above (choosing a different quadrant this time)

  • A Soulful Approach (Check out “Influence Quadrant”) 

  • A Human Approach (Check out “Belonging Quadrant”)

  • A Warrior/Beast Approach (Check out “Impact Quadrant”) 

  • A Free/Adventurous Approach (Check out “Freedom Quadrant”)

Look at the three archetypes that fall under that quadrant and zero in on how each one approaches their mission/world (this is the big, bold vertical description under each archetype)

Now that we’ve infused your story with some edge…. Let’s add a splash of sticky breadcrumbs that make your world layered and richer.

EXPERIENCE: Your 5% Atmosphere

Lastly, the Experience you deliver adds layers of depth to your brand, creating an environment that's unmistakably "you." It's about crafting an atmosphere that gives your brand energy from which you spin sticky little breadcrumbs dripping in culture. 

Think about what it physically FEELS like to be in your world or your presence- an experience dripping in Purpose (aka Your WHY). Finally, ask yourself: WHY do you do what you do? Why does your brand exist? 


Read the following statements below and select the one that MOST resonates with your WHY. Then go to the corresponding quadrant (again selecting a different one from your previous two) and select the archetype whose EXPERIENCE (written vertically below the “Approach”) speaks to how you want your product/service to physically FEEL.

  • I want to create order in place of chaos

  • I want to create more paradise, discovery and happiness

  • I want to create genuine connections and a sense of belonging

  • I want to leave a mark on the world and help others to do the same

This is the ambiance your audience steps into; it's what makes interacting with your brand an experience they won’t soon forget.


Now comes the fun part! When you pull together your archetypal mix, you’ll have: 

  • A short but sophisticated description of your brand’s personality 

  • A shortcut to understanding your brand’s voice and tone

  • The foundation from which to create a vault of sticky stories


First, write down your archetypal mix in the Sticky Brand Slingshot (get it for free below)

70% ___________Core/Identity 25%__________Differentiator/Approach 5%____________Experience/Purpose

Then, use this fill in the blank framework to quickly describe the secret sauce to your brand: 

"We’re/I’m a (Core Archetype Name) brand, dripping in (Word associated with Differentiator), with a splash of (Word associated with Experience)."


  • We’re the Girl Next Door brand dripping in Happiness with a splash of Creativity

  • We’re a Creator brand dripping in Mastery with a splash of Levity

  • I’m a Sage brand dripping in Indulgence with a splash of high-end luxe

Hot Damn! Now these are sticky stories waiting to be written! 

Grab your Sticky Brand Slingshot for free and dive into more activities like the one above to help you further shape iconic brand stories and check below to get a deeper understanding of each archetype.

Deep Dive Into The Archetypes

Click on any of the archetypes below to learn more about their worlds.


Sticky brands carefully blend two or three archetypes into an irresistible cocktail to tell a richer, more nuanced story and connect in ways that feel more human and desirable! Grab this free slingshot to help you craft your sticky brand right now!

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