The simple answer is yes. Some brands can change archetypes depending on the changes within their business and the changes outside their business. Therefore, the better question is not “can brands change archetypes”, but “why do brands change archetypes?”. The purpose of archetype branding is about managing the meaning of your brand. That is why when aligning with an archetype, brands need to question what their brand means to people and how relevant it will be years down the road.
Why Do Brand Archetypes Change?
The easiest answer is that maybe the archetype wasn’t necessarily the right one for the brand. Some brands can become lost in their branding and lose track of their messaging and what their brand is signaling. When this happens brands need to take a step back and think about who they are, what they’re offering, and consider what archetype they align with. Sometimes the most accurate archetype isn’t always the most obvious one.
Another reason brands can change their archetype is due to changes in their environment. A brand’s environment can include technological advances, economic changes, political changes, cultural shifts, and more. Since we live in a constantly evolving world, there is a good chance that a brand may need to reposition itself. Quickly repositioning to adapt to environmental changes could mean a change in archetypes.
Additionally, brands can change what archetype they align with throughout their existence. Much like people’s personalities change, brand archetypes can do the same. For instance, a brand that started as a joker archetype could transition to an outlaw archetype depending on its brand messaging. It all depends on what direction a brand chooses to take.
Changing Archetypes Due To New Products
As a company matures, they may decide to try new product lines or offer different services in an attempt to increase revenue. If a change in products and services is big enough, it could disrupt, or go against, whichever archetype a company has chosen to align with. For example, if a company that sells tires decides they now want to offer a line of windshield wipers, a change in branding wouldn’t be very necessary. However, if the same company wants to sell a line of shampoo, a big change in branding could need to take place.
If a brand decides to make an expansion to a new unrelated offering, they’ll need to decide whether to focus their branding on the company, or the products they offer. An example of a company that has successfully branded their products rather than themselves is Procter & Gamble (P&G). P&G owns brands such as Crest toothpaste, Old Spice hygiene products, Tide detergent, and Bounty paper towels. Each of these products has its own brand and with that its archetype. By creating different brands for their products, P&G was able to assign an archetype to their individual product lines and simplify their branding efforts.
Brand archetypes have the ability to change depending on several factors stemming from external and internal changes. Whether it’s a change in human behavior or an addition of a new product, a change in your archetype is possible and can greatly help a company with their branding efforts. To learn more about branding and choosing an archetype, check out our blog on the 12 Jungian Archetypes and see where your brand fits in.
–written by Jonah Ericksen