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Slay the Dragon: Be the Hero [Archetype]


Introducing the Hero archetype. It stands out from the crowd due to its inspirational and aspirational nature. Known for its bold spirit, the Hero archetype resonates with audiences seeking empowerment and triumph over adversity. Brands that successfully embody this archetype sell a journey—a promise of personal and collective greatness. The Hero archetype thrives on challenges and aims to inspire action, making it ideal for brands that want to position themselves as catalysts for change and innovation.


Adopting the Hero archetype involves more than just a commitment to overcoming obstacles; it requires a deep understanding of the values that drive your audience. Heroes are admired for their bravery and ability to achieve seemingly impossible feats. But how can a brand evoke these qualities in an authentic and engaging way? By building a brand that embodies the core values of courage, perseverance, and empowerment.


Why Does the Hero Archetype Matter?


The Hero archetype taps into the desire for all to be victorious. Slaying dragons and winning the race go hand in hand with Hero archetypes. Armed with a narrative of hope and strength, they give consumers a sense of agency, making them feel like anything is possible. That owning challenges is the path to success. The emotional connection that Hero archetypes achieve motivates even the most lackluster to get in gear and take calculated action. 


What Sets the Hero Archetype Apart?


Unlike other archetypes, Hero brands are particularly appealing in industries where strength and reliability are paramount, such as sports, automotive, and technology sectors. The Hero's journey from challenge to victory is a narrative those with an innate drive to win find exciting. Hero archetype brands can be seen in leadership roles and at the forefront of market innovation. They project confidence and authority, encouraging others to follow their lead. This leadership stance sets them apart from communal or cooperative archetypes like the Everyman or the Caregiver.


Not to be confused with the Advocate archetype (a sub archetype of the Everyman), Hero archetypes are admired for their ability to push the boundaries of human potential and their willingness to tackle the impossible, often bringing a transformative aspect to their narratives.  In contrast, the Advocate archetype focuses more directly on championing causes and fighting for change on behalf of others. Advocates are driven by a sense of justice and a commitment to social or ethical issues, aiming to alter public perception or policy through activism and leadership in their fields. Their primary role is not necessarily to overcome personal challenges but to initiate and lead movements that promote change and support for community or global causes.


Examples of Hero Brands


Several well-known brands embody the Hero archetype. 


With its iconic "Just Do It" slogan, Nike encourages consumers to push their limits and strive for personal bests. The swoosh says it all, but the real heroes are the athletes and players behind what the brand represents. 


Another example is BMW, which positions itself as a car manufacturer and a provider of unmatched driving experiences that appeal to consumers who desire above-market performance for their vehicles. 


And lest we forget, the legend and "GOAT" Simone Biles, renowned gymnast and advocate for mental health. Her story is not just one of unparalleled athletic prowess and groundbreaking achievements in gymnastics; it's also a narrative of overcoming personal and professional hurdles that showcases what it means to be heroic. With an unmatched combination of extraordinary talent and fierce determination to succeed, she has made her mark as an iconic figure in gymnastics and sports.


How Hero Brands Achieve Remarkable Success

Hero archetypes succeed by consistently demonstrating their core values of strength, resilience, and bravery. They create marketing campaigns showcasing endurance, such as athlete endorsements or storytelling highlighting overcoming great odds. This enhances brand loyalty and attracts a customer base that sees these brands as extensions of their aspirations and values.


Hero brands often leverage the power of visual imagery and cinematic storytelling, such as presenting dramatic, high-energy scenes that feature their products in action or completing breathtaking feats that audiences want to emulate. This visual storytelling effectively captures attention and builds a memorable brand identity that stands out in a competitive market.


How to Become a Hero Brand


Becoming a Hero brand involves:


  1. Define Your Mission: Clearly articulate the challenges your brand aims to overcome and the victories it seeks to achieve.

  2. Empower Your Audience: Craft messages that make your customers feel like heroes, capable of achieving great things with your product or service.

  3. Showcase Real Stories of Triumph: Use testimonials and case studies to demonstrate how real people have been heroes with the help of your brand.

  4. Stand for Something Bigger: Align with causes or initiatives that reflect heroic qualities, enhancing your brand's societal impact.


Negative Assumptions About the Hero Archetype


Despite its many strengths, the Hero archetype can sometimes be perceived as overly aggressive or domineering. There is a risk of appearing arrogant, which can alienate potential customers who prefer cooperation over competition. Additionally, the Hero archetype's focus on individual achievement and overcoming challenges can sometimes lead to the perception that it lacks empathy or understanding for those who do not meet traditional standards of success. This can create a disconnect with audiences who value inclusivity and support over triumph and prowess. In markets where sensitivity and gentleness are prized, Hero brands may struggle to resonate, seen instead as too intense; therefore, caution must be exercised to ensure a stretching yet attainable experience.


Ways to Overcome Those Stereotypes


Hero brands should emphasize humility and inclusivity in their narratives to counteract these negative perceptions. They should celebrate collective achievements and community successes, not just individual heroics.


Five Steps to Embrace the Hero Archetype for Your Brand


  1. Align Your Values: Ensure your brand values resonate with heroism—strength, courage, and perseverance.

  2. Adopt a Heroic Tone in Communication: Use a confident, assertive voice, compassionate, and motivational voice.

  3. Leverage Heroic Imagery: Use visuals that depict strength, such as vibrant, dynamic imagery and bold, angular designs.

  4. Create a Challenge: Engage your audience with challenges or competitions, encouraging them to embody heroic traits.

  5. Be a Champion for Causes: Align your brand with causes that fight against adversity, reinforcing your Hero image.


Voice and Visual Identity for Hero Brands


The voice of a Hero brand should be inspiring and motivational, often using robust and action-oriented language. Visually, Hero brands benefit from bold colors like red or blue, which convey energy and reliability. Typography should be sturdy and strong, with clean, impactful lines communicating strength and stability.


Voice for Hero Brands


Hero archetype brands should exclude invigorating and authoritative designs to rally and inspire their audience. Direct, action-oriented tones that speak to the core of the Hero's attributes—courage, perseverance, and determination are paramount to ensure no mixed messaging. This type of communication is clear and uncompromising, often using powerful verbs and an assertive style to emphasize the brand's commitment to leading and overcoming challenges. 


Messaging should inspire confidence and provoke action, resonating with an audience that values resilience and empowerment. Hero brands should also ensure that their voice emphasizes that every individual has the potential to be heroic, thus inviting consumers to see themselves as active participants in a larger narrative of triumph.


Visual Identity for Hero Brands


The visual identity of a Hero brand is crucial in conveying its archetype through aesthetics that evoke strength and reliability. Bold colors are a hallmark, with red symbolizing passion and energy and blue reflecting stability and trust. These colors often appear in dynamic and impactful combinations that grab attention and signify action. [Think Superman / or Superwoman]


Typography should match this boldness with solid and clean lines that suggest efficiency and movement—fonts like Futura or Impact can be especially effective when coupled with dynamic imagery that highlights moments of victory. Overall, the design elements chosen should evoke excitement and courage, making the visual narrative as compelling and motivational as the verbal one.

Questions to Consider for the Hero archetype


  1. Does my brand inspire people to overcome challenges or achieve personal greatness?

  2. Can my product or service be positioned as a tool for empowerment and mastery?

  3. What is the major adversity or challenge that my brand helps the customer defeat?

  4. How does my brand demonstrate courage, strength, and resilience in its industry?

  5. How can my brand lead by example or provide leadership within its market or community?


Conclusion


Embracing the Hero archetype offers a powerful way for brands to connect deeply with their audiences, inspiring them to engage more fully with the brand's mission and products. By articulating a clear, compelling hero's journey, businesses can transform their brand story into an inspirational saga that invites customer loyalty and advocacy. The path of the Hero is not without its challenges, but for those brands that navigate it wisely, the rewards are worth the journey.


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