There is some evil in the world. It's getting stronger. In the shadows somebody is sharpening their skills, developing and training to be the best they can be. Then, when all seems lost, they arise to save the day. This is what the 'Hero' archetype is all about. The character who triumphs over adversity and challenges to overcome evil. In so doing we are all inspired to do the same in our own way.
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' (e.g. storytelling and branding) archetypes become a powerful tool. They help teams build extraordinary meaning and create remarkable creative work because archetypes enable communication on a deep psychological level. More on the power of archetypes here.
In this post we will review the Hero 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 Hero Archetype
Heros are all about saving victims from some terrible enemy. Known for their courageous acts, they stand for proving their worth against the evil and rising to meet the challenge. They are most fulfilled when they overcome a challenge and fear becoming weak and vulnerable. Heros value quality and efficiency and don’t have time for things with no real substance or that do not help them triumph.
Desire: to prove ones worth through courageous action
Goal: to exert mastery
Greatest Fear: weakness
Strategy: develop to become as strong as possible
Vulnerability: arrogance and an obsessive need to win
Talent: competence and bravery
Motto: "Where there's a will there's a way"
Nike is a hero brand inspiring us to overcome and find greatness.
Examples of images and brands which embody the Hero Archetype can be found on my specially curated Pinterest board here. Note: I will be frequently updating this board as I come across new Hero images so bookmark it!
Brands which embody the Hero: Duracell, Nike, Fedex, British Army, The Premier League.
In stories the hero archetype is one of the most famous. Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings, the DC Super Heroes - all of these show the popularity of the hero. Hero brands inspire us to overcome. They help us to be our best. This is why they are so powerful.
The Hero sits in the quadrant of archetypes which serve the customer motivation of 'Mastery & Esteem'. It appeals to those who want to overcome an obstacle in their way.