Brand Archetypes: The Citizen
The citizen archetype is best described as the everyday person, your average Joe or plain Jane. The citizen is usually considered to be wholesome and generous which makes them very likable in comparison to other less relatable archetypes. They speak to the average person and tend to represent ideals of a good work ethic, honesty, and authenticity. This archetype can best be personified as the CEO who shows up to work in sneakers, jeans, and a button-up — just like everyone else. At the root of the citizen is the simple desire to fit in. The citizen just wants to be accepted by their peers and belong.
PROMISE: Everyone is created equal.
CORE DESIRE: Connection with others
GOAL: To belong.
FEAR: Being seen as an elitist, not being welcomed.
STRATEGY: Develop common virtues, blend in.
GIFT: Empathy and authenticity
The Citizen Archetype at a Glance
The citizen brand archetype is often seen in local diners, mom and pop stores, and non-profit and community organizations. It can also be recognized in media and entertainment genres including TV shows like Seinfeld, Friends, and That 70’s Show. These shows are all about enjoying the simple things in life and being accepted by people with similar interests.
The citizen archetype can be reflected in people and artists as well. The country music industry is centered around being relatable to the masses. Country artists wear jeans, hats, and plaid shirts when they perform which makes them feel equal to their fans. Another example is President Barack Obama. Although some don’t agree with his policies, the former president was approachable and comparable to the everyday person.
The Citizen Archetype in Business
The marketing of a citizen brand often requires an informal voice and wholesome images. Brands such as Discover, Wrangler, Budweiser, and Moe’s Southwest Grill are all examples of citizen brands. Typically with citizen brands there are no bells and whistles or flashy gimmicks associated with their identities. Money-back guarantees and other trust-building elements are commonly found in the marketing language of their brands.
Citizen brands will find that social media is a great outlet for their messaging — using it to become even more relatable, transparent, and helpful to their customers.
The culture of a citizen brand is one that encompasses the entire company. Leadership is driven through an overall consensus of democracy. Employees of citizen brands have a strong sense of pride when it comes to their work and what they create. Typically, these companies maintain an atmosphere of comfort and informality.
Levels of the Citizen Archetype
Each of the 12 different archetypes can be expressed in scaled rankings of intensity represented by three levels. Level one is less mature where level 3 is the furthest developed.
Level 1: The citizen archetype is expressed through seeking any sort of community, typically spurred through feelings of loneliness.
Level 2: One learns how to form bonds, make friends, and grow socially in a community.
Level 3: The dignity of each individual, regardless of differences, is accepted and practiced by the citizen.
Examples of Citizen Brands
The desire of a customer to be heard and understood is often overlooked by larger corporations. Discover’s well-known “We treat you like you’d treat you” campaign shows that this brand cares about their customers and their experience with Discover. They want to convey that they are trustworthy and will treat you with respect.
There aren’t many places that have a larger sense of community than going to the local bar. Whether you’re making new friends or relaxing with old pals, there is nothing pretentious about enjoying a Budweiser with friends. It has the potential to bring people from all walks of life together for a good time.
Wrangler puts heavy emphasis on the hard-working, blue-collar culture — marketing to those who put in long hours of work. Wrangler also recently did their “Ultimate Cowgirl Next Door” contest that epitomizes the citizen archetype principles of authenticity and being genuine.
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Every time you walk into a Moe’s you are greeted with a “welcome to Moe’s”. It’s part of their laid-back atmosphere. Their brand states “We’re open, honest and down to earth. A place for friends, family, and coworkers to check their worries at the door.” They have purposely created a culture that accepts everyone who comes in.
Where Does Your Brand Fit In?
If you’re thinking your company might not be a Citizen brand, check out the remaining 11 archetypes to see where you fit in! You may be surprised to see what archetype your brand resonates with.