After several years of work with Imperial College London, our research on archetypes and mapping how brands make people feel, has just been published


Exploring the changing role of brand archetypes in customer-brand relationships: Why try to be a hero when your brand can be more?


Dr Omar Merlo – Associate Dean and Academic Director of the MSc Strategic Marketing programmes at Imperial College Business School

Andreas B. Eisingerich ­– Professor of Marketing at Imperial College Business School

Richard Gillingwater – Founder RADNB

Jia Jocelyn Cao ­– Doctoral Researcher Student at Terry College of Business University of Georgia




For over two decades, managers have been encouraged to leverage archetypal meaning to strengthen their brands. Prior research has studied archetypes as universal patterns present in the collective unconscious that trigger an instinctive response in customers, and has argued that brands should evoke one archetype at a time. However, recent evidence seems to suggest that the single archetype view proposed in previous work may have lost its relevance in the marketplace. This study responds to calls for further research into brand archetypes by analyzing more than 2,400 brands and the archetypes they evoke in their marketing communications. The current findings provide support for the continuing relevance and importance of brand archetypes in marketing, showing that brands do connect with customers by evoking specific archetypes consistently. Critically, however, the study demonstrates that strong brands tend to leverage multiple archetypes at the same time, rather than just one. We explore key implications of our findings for theory and management. Avenues for future research and actionable guidelines for managers wishing to leverage archetypal meaning to build strong brands are discussed.

Read the article in Business Horizons



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