How many times have we been asked (about Brand Archetypes), “Does this reeeeally work?” A LOT!
Way more than we would expect and way more than other, seemingly more obvious, questions. After putting a little thought into this, we have something for us to explore:
- What is the essence of why Brand Archetypes works so well?
- (And related to that) What is the most important thing for business owners to focus on, in their marketing?
In a Fast Company article from almost a decade ago (2012) they interviewed Jim Stengel, former marketing exec at Proctor and Gamble. In the article, he was quoted saying,
“A viable brand ideal cuts through the clutter and clarifies what you and your people stand for and believe. The businesses that are driven by a higher ideal, a higher purpose, outperform their competition by a wide margin.”
what was MORE important was what he DIDN’T say. He didn’t say their success was driven by complex marketing tactics, or intricate social media strategies, or voluminous reams of content, piggy-backed on expensive ad campaigns.
There’s a time and a place for those things too – sometimes – but we agree with him that the MOST important thing is to focus on “ideals”
A super interesting part of the article was them talking about the consulting biz that he spun off back then. He started tracking companies that he thought stayed true to this idea of staying true to a single ideal. Calling it the Stengel 50 in his book “Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Greatest Companies”, he outlined how these companies outperformed the S&P 500 by a whopping 400%!!!
It included giants like Coke, Apple, Redbull, Starbucks, and Louis Vuitton. If you’re thinking those names sound familiar, it’s because we use them ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME as great examples of companies that stay true to a brand archetype.
So, are we saying that focusing on an archetype is the same as focusing on a higher ideal?
We think that those two ideas are suuuuper closely related … and, taking either approach will result in one thing: Maintaining a super narrow focus and simplifying everything you do.
It’s probably important to point out that we also think that these ideas should be embraced by ALL companies!!! And, again, those two ideas are: Maintain a tight focus, and simplify everything you do!
We just go one step further and will (constantly) point out that if your focus is on an archetype, you also get the added benefit that you connecting your brand to a singular, powerful emotion. … Which makes things even MORE simple, and MORE powerful.
Another way of keeping this simplicity idea in your head is to remember, despite your best efforts, as a marketer, you will gravitate to the idea that “more is more” (more parts, more tactics, more features, more campaigns, more benefits …. More to draw on is better, right?). HOWEVER, in the mind of the consumer, “less is more.” And, not just a little bit more — a TON more! Mountains more!
The simpler you can make things for the consumer, the better. And, again, this will definitely rub against your natural instincts to pile more into the mix. Don’t do it. Back awayyyyy from the computer! But keep listening to this episode as we dive into this “Keep it simple” idea.
Have you struggled with keeping it simple? Take the questionnaire … which should start you on the path of using archetypes in your branding. After that, catch up on our podcasts …. And, of course, feel free to contact us if you have ANY questions.