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Archetype Fueled Branding 101: Facilitating Artistry and Ingenuity With the Creator

Updated on June 13, 2014

The Twelve Character Archetypes

Find out more about how tap into the power of archetypal forms to build or strengthen your brand.

The Innocent

The Warrior

The Caregiver

The Seeker

The Lover

The Destroyer

The Creator

The Ruler

The Magician

The Sage

The Jester

Creativity Is For Everyone

You might think that the Creator isn't a very good archetype to include in a brand because it would only appeal to a small slice of the population: creative people. But people who are creative for a living are not the only type of creators out there. If you think about it, we all shape the world and define it just by being alive. Life is a story and we all believe in made-up tales to help us understand ourselves and others. Unfortunately, though, some people only live according to the stories that other people have told them. They never think critically about what they've been taught, so they just go along with it. Sometimes it seems like the world is nothing but an endless expanse of cubicles, fast food chains and concrete, and there is not much creativity to go around.

Whether or not creativity is on the decline, there's no need to omit the Creator from your brand. An archetype becomes even more powerful and compelling when it's repressed. If your brand shows creatively stifled people the path toward greater creativity, you will develop a strong following. Also, children are naturally creative, and Creator oriented brands always appeal to kids. Any youth oriented brand will benefit from the inclusion of the Creator archetype.

Enabling Creativity

Creator brands are similar to Seeker brands in that they often provide a helping hand. Seekers are often interested in exploring physical space, so they need things like tents, rugged cars, cargo pants with plenty of pockets, etc. Creator-minded consumers are interested in exploring too, but their terrain is mental instead of physical. Another difference is that unlike Seekers who are motivated to explore new things for the fun of trying something novel, Creators are interested in taking back something useful from their journey and presenting it to others in the form of innovations, new products or interesting works of art. Both Seekers and Creators, though, are equally in need of help. Creators require things like paintbrushes, computers, instructional courses, getaway vacation spots and video cameras. Like Seeker brands, Creator-based brands often play the role of a helpful assistant.

Inspiration

The other way that Creator based ads work is that they inspire us to create. Because creation isn't always easy to start or pull through to the end, creative people are often starved for inspiration. Like the Warrior-minded athlete, anyone who creates anything of worth must get through a long and arduous process to reach the finish line. In the same way that weight lifters compare how much they can bench, writers often compete (either with themselves or others) to see how many words per day they can produce.

Creative people look up to accomplished people in their field in much the same way that a high school basketball player might admire a star NBA player. Advertisers might use high profile, accomplished creative personalities to sell products and services related to the process of creation.

Composing a hand-written letter: a creative activity that anyone can understand
Composing a hand-written letter: a creative activity that anyone can understand | Source

1. Australia Post "Touch Someone With a Letter"

Like the famous, pervasive AT&T ads that encouraged us to "reach out and touch someone" in the 1990s, this ad from Australia is also encouraging us to connect. However, this particular ad implies that the best way to do this is not by simply picking up the phone, but by making the effort to apply pen to paper. Since it reminds us of the importance of intimacy and encourages us to engage in the creative act of writing, this ad combines the power of the Lover while at the same time inspiring us to create. Australia Post positions itself as an essential part of the creative process by helping to transmit a letter to its destination.

If what you have to offer will help enable creation, emphasize the benefits of doing something creative as a way to inspire others to take advantage of your product or services.

Artsy without being snobby.
Artsy without being snobby. | Source

2. AT&T's Hand Painting Ads

This eye-catching ad makes a reference to traditional Japanese art. Using art will elevate your status (it will make you seem cultured, educated, etc.) and if the art you choose is visually striking, it will also help pull in an audience by the eyes. In this ad, we see traditional art being presented in a fresh new way, so the presentation doesn't seem dated or anachronistic. Another reason this ad works well for AT&T is because it makes you think that AT&T is your passport to being connected to people all over the world. AT&T is a gigantic company, and the world is a big place. So, it makes sense to make the association between AT&T and world cultures-- it makes the company seem larger than life.

Use traditional art in your brand to appeal to the Creator in a subtle way while also drawing people in with eye-catching visuals.

Brainfood
Brainfood | Source

3. Lego "Pure Brainfood"

Like the Australia Post ad above, this ad from Lego showcases a benefit around creativity. In this case, creativity is linked to breakfast. As anyone knows, a healthy breakfast is an intergal part of a healthy diet. Linking creativity (and by extension, Legos) to health is an idea that might appeal to parents (the ones who buy the actual Lego products). There's also another clever tie in: since the surrounding part of the egg is green, we also think of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham.

Connecting creativity with health and Dr. Seuss in a single image is a powerful statement, but the thing about the ad that evokes the Creator is the way that the lego breakfast is presented to us. What we see is a pile of legos that looks like an egg. But, the legos aren't assembled in the usual way. Whoever sees the ad is forced to put the image together in their heads. Just by viewing the ad, the audience engages in a creative act.

Present an image or concept in an unusual way to invite your target audience to be creative with you.

Keeping it classy.
Keeping it classy. | Source

4. The Commerce Bank of Oregon "Enrich"

When we buy something, we want it to be of high quality. We want to believe that tremendous amounts of thought and effort has gone into its creation. Even when we get something for free, we still feel resentful if it isn't any good. When people want quality, they look to brands that represent the Creator.

Brands that value the Creator show that low costs can only go so far. In this ad we see that the Commerce Bank of Oregon is using an image of someone playing violin in order to make a connection between itself and professionally trained classical musicians. Classical musicians labor for years and years to develop the skills they need to play complex scores. The implication is that everything that the bank does is harmonious with the needs of its customers, and that the skills of its employees are top notch. Also the use of the word "enrich" is a subtle hint that greater wealth and prosperity is possible if you bank with Bank of Oregon.

To get across the idea that you are continuously striving for excellence, associate your brand with professional creative people.

5. Build-a-Bear

The Build-a-Bear workshop invites kids to come in and design their very own, unique and customized bear. If this concept sounds familiar, maybe it's because Subway has invited you to participate in the creation of your sandwich and Burger King has been assuring you for years that you are going to get it "your way, right away." In the early 2000s, the words "I" "me" or "you" started appearing in front of many popular brand names. (YouTube, iPhone, etc.) The reason for this might be that we are living in an age where adults and children alike are often discouraged to express themselves via art, crafting, writing and music. Instead, both children and adults are choosing to express themselves by customizing the things that they buy or by buying products that seem unique or different. In some cases (like with Build-a-Bear) genuine creativity is possible, but other brands only offer a superficial creative experience. Either way, incorporating the Creator in your brand will make it highly attractive. Whether it's real opportunity to be creative or an illusory feeling of being creative that is being sold, creativity is a hot commodity right now.

Offer your audience or customers a chance to customize the product or service that you are offering to flip the on switch on the creative part of their minds.

Microsoft is attempting to overcome the idea that  PCs are for nerds.
Microsoft is attempting to overcome the idea that PCs are for nerds. | Source

6. Windows 8 "Express Yourself"

Apple's famous "Mac vs. PC" ad campaign appealed to the young, creative-minded crowd by portraying Microsoft as stiff, boring and ordinary compared to the Mac. With Windows 8, Microsoft is hoping that image will change. Microsoft made a few bold changes including getting rid of unfolding start button menus and replacing them with brightly colored tiles. They did all this primarily to keep in step with mobile technologies and to increase user-friendliness, but the changes were also probably fueled by a need to seem a little less stiff.

In addition to changing their software, Microsoft is also switching up the feel of their ad spots. With this commercial, Microsoft suggests that their product is a good tool for creative activities, but their approach is slightly different. In the video, Microsoft shows us a child creating computer art for her father. Microsoft is hoping that presenting the Creator in a family-oriented way will appeal to a larger percentage of the population. People who are creative for a living are respected but at the same time seen as eccentric or strange. It can be hard to understand the motivations of someone who feels a strong need to spend many long hours perfecting their craft in order to better express themselves, even when many personal sacrifices are required.

The other obstacle for Creator-oriented brands is that creative people can intimidate those who feel that they lack imagination. Sadly, many people are too hung up on whether their creations are "good" or not and have forgotten how fun making something new is. These types of people may try to discourage others from creating or feel bad when confronted with an outstanding piece of art or a successful artist. Creator branding might actually repel these types of people from appreciating you or whatever you have to offer, but only if the Creator isn't presented in the right way.

Microsoft is in an awkward position. The software giant can no longer afford to be the uncool computer brand, but it also can't risk alienating anyone. Microsoft is a larger company compared to Apple. Apple can afford to pigeonhole itself into the "computers for creative people" niche, but Microsoft must sell computers to a wider range of people to maintain their position. That's why this ad (which, on the surface, seems like just another commercial) is actually pretty clever. It appeals to creative people (or people who want to be more creative) by showing that even a child can use Windows 8. At the same time, Microsoft avoids alienating people who might otherwise be repelled or intimidated in some way by the use of the Creator archetype.

Anyone who spends time with a child is reminded of the sheer joy of scribbling out a drawing or building a castle out of Legos. By relating the Creator back to a family scene that anyone can understand, Microsoft manages to conjure up a pleasing, approachable vibe that's completely devoid of any nerdy or corporate elements.

Use the natural creative ability of children in your personal brand to evoke the Creator without coming across as aloof or eccentric.

More about the twelve character archetypes and how they manifest in pop culture and human personality: Rulers, Sages and Jesters: the Twelve Character Archetypes

The Twelve Archetypes

  • Keeping It Real With the Orphan - Use the highly attractive idea that we are all created equal to give your brand some Orphan-esque egalitarian appeal.
  • Exploring New Worlds With the Seeker - If you are in the business of helping others experience new things or travel to exotic locations, spice up your brand with some Seeker zaniness.
  • Tangoing With the Lover - Reveal hidden truths or work sexuality into your brand to harness the magnetic power of the Lover.
  • Channelling the Magician - Use the Magician archetype to fascinate an enthralled audience-- or make them reconsider everything they think they know.
  • Partying With the Jester - Take the edge off of your brand and create a fun atmosphere by clowning it up a little with the Jester archetype.

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      Bunny 2 years ago

      That's a cunning answer to a chaellnging question