Sit back. Fit in. Enjoy the simple life. Find beauty and joy in the ordinary and the everyday. This is the perspective of 'The Citizen' - also known as 'The regular Guy/Gal' and the 'Everyman'. The archetypal character who embodies the common touch and values everyone - just as they are.
Archetypes are recognisable patterns of human behaviour which are often amplified in stories. In turn, stories are the way we make sense of the world around us. For those involved in the disipline of 'managing meaning' archetypes become a powerful tool which enable brands to tell powerful stories. They help teams build extraordinary meaning and create remarkable creative work because archetypes help to communicate on a deep psychological level with their audiences. More on the power of archetypes here.
In this post we will review the Citizen brand archetype building on the work of Margret Mark and Carol S Pearson in their book "The Hero and the Outlaw".
An introduction to the Citizen Archetype
Not wanting to stand out and perfectly content with being part of a crowd, the Citizen is all about belonging. All the Citizen wants to do is fit in. They seek to connect with others using empathy and are down-to-earth realists who love to celebrate the simple things in life. They are not ambitious or keen to rise above their station and hate to stand out. They love practical solutions that benefit the majority. Citizens are therefore passionate about equality, democracy, respect and fairness. They value being part of the group.
Desire: connection with others
Goal: to belong and fit in
Greatest Fear: standing out
Strategy: develop ordinary values and have a common touch
Talent: realism and empathy
Motto: "All men and woman are created equal"
Their biggest fear is being exiled and rejected - not being seen as "one of the people."
Ikea celebrates "The wonderful everyday" - an example of the citizen archetype in action.
Examples of images and brands which embody the Citizen Archetype can be found on my specially curated Pinterest board here. Note: I will be frequently updating this board as I come across new Citizen images so bookmark it!
Brands which embody the Citizen: CitizenM Hotels, Ikea, Kit-Kat, eBay, Google, Amazon, KFC, Capital One, Volkswagen.
According to Mark and Pearson, the Citizen sits in the quadrant of archetypes which serve the customer motivation of 'Belonging'. It appeals to those who want to feel connected, have fun and enjoy life.