A couple of days back I had one of those “can’t believe I’ve never seen this” moments when a friend introduced me to a concept in branding that was completely new to me.

Now by and large I’m not a branding guy.

My one job that involved any brand fluffery was running Hasbro’s Action Man website at an agency back in about 2001.  I hated it, and it was suggested by management that I look elsewhere for an outlet for my talents (despite making a boatload of cash for their ecommerce clients).

Anyhow, this thing has some very, very relevant applications for direct response too, so pay attention…

Take a look for a moment at a few car brands selling small 4 door hatchbacks.


I imagine if you look at that list there’s probably at least one you rate highly, and another you wouldn’t be seen dead driving.

And yet someone out there likes each of them or they wouldn’t be in business.

So who decides who buys what?

Who chooses on price, who chooses on status, and given that there are a few premium models in there, which one imbues its driver with the exact magical powers they are looking for?

The answer lies in Brand Archetypes, 12 different characters that brands portray. The original idea came from Carl Yung in the 1870’s, and plenty of Mad Men since have drawn from it.

The tie in to direct response is understanding what your own character is, and how it will appeal to your ideal customer.

Highly educated thinkers will appreciate the experience & wisdom of “The Sage”, while more gung-ho types will be spurred on by the battle cries of “The Hero”.

If you’re a personality-driven brand, with you or another founder front and centre in your marketing, you’ll really find this a powerful way to decide if clients and customers are right for you.

It’s also essential once you start to hand off copywriting or other content creation tasks to other people or even agencies. Knowing exactly what your own archetype is means you can brief the creative better, and have a way of judging what comes back.

I’m now using it as a measuring stick for how well a clients own “archetype” is going to appeal to their target audience.

Get it right and you can build a loyal crowd. Get it wrong and you’ll come off as a fake.

To find out more and find your own archetype, then let me know what it is?