Archetypes are recurrent symbols or themes in literature, art, or mythology. They exemplify universal human experiences and act as a guide for aspirations and decisions. These symbols and characters manifest themselves in our lives by serving as general illustrations of the flaws and virtues that exist within each of us. These symbols connect to the conscious with their deepest meanings: our understanding of relationships to the earth, to others, and to ourselves.
Orienting Archetypes in History
Despite their modern realization, historians have seen these characters long before their prominence in psychology. Mythological stories show the deep connection between people and storytelling. Narratives, specifically those rich with character archetypes, allowed humans to build an understanding of their lives. Our need to connect with stories has not diluted in the present.
To this day, archetypes may be noted in the most successful brands. Chipotle has strategically akined itself with the Citizen archetype. Using imagery of sustainable growing methods, ethical business practices, and community responsibility Chipotle finds the honest balance between beliefs and actions. In reality, Chipotle is a line service restaurant that provides meats, vegetables and dairy served on the tortilla size of your choice. But, add all the characteristics attributed to the Citizen archetype, and you have a food industry powerhouse, that has cemented a strong connection with moral leadership and unwavering loyalty from consumers.
Can we contribute the success of archetypes to better businesses and business practices, or if used correctly, can archetypes improve the bottom lines for ANY kind of industry? I am inclined to believe that success is defined by a combination of the best quality and price. But, if archetypes do build successful branding and businesses how can you know you’re using the right archetypes and telling the right story for your organization?