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Exploring Brand Archetypes: The Hero

Danny Ruspandini - Impact Labs Australia
Danny R.

We've been exploring the 12 Brand Archetypes.

Archetype 2: The Hero.

The underlying human desire of a Hero brand is Mastery. They know their stuff. These are the reliable folks you can always count on.

If your brand is a Hero, you might see yourself as the ones who save the day for your customers... or you might inspire others to be the hero.

Well-known examples: Uber, Netflix (they play the hero for us).

Other examples: Nike, TED (they inspire others to be heroes).

Hero brands are candid and make the world around us better. One of their mottos is the trusty “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”.

Uber and Netflix make our world better by swooping in and bringing us food and movies, pretty much as soon as we want them.

Nike and TED by comparison, make our world better by elevating others to hero status - whether they’re elite athletes, inspirational speakers, or us regular people (who wear the gear and watch the talks).

Less obvious examples

Sea Shepherd - yes, non-profits can 100% own an Archetype, and Sea Shepherd totally own the Hero. In their words, “Sea Shepherd fights to defend, conserve and protect our ocean. We use direct action to defend marine wildlife and protect their habitat in the world's ocean.” By direct action, they mean hooking up with local authorities, hitting the ocean in boats, and stopping bad guys. If DC had an NFP universe, these guys would be Batman. They’re awesome. Check them out for some serious inspiration.

Ryobi - A little less kick-ass... they have a line of cordless power tools where one battery can fit more than 100 different tools. As well as being super clever and looking cool, something about them is empowering. I just stumble around drilling holes in things, but they’ve totally made me feel like the hero at home.

Your local plumber - Check the magnet on your fridge - if it says “24/7 emergency service”, with a mobile phone number, and they actually respond when the sewage cracks in the middle of the night - I say that’s pretty heroic.

Can anyone become a Hero brand?

If your solutions solve problems in a no-nonsense way, then maybe!

Like yesterday (and like all the ones that will follow) if the Hero very obviously aligns with your organisation in a Sea Shepherd or emergency plumber kind of way, then own it. If not, forcing it might look artificial - so put your effort into the one that does suit you.

Side note

Each time I dive into one of these, another asterisk comes to mind.

*Today I want to say that just because a brand is striving for a particular Archetype, doesn’t always mean they’re hitting it.

Take any courier company you’ve dealt with - they might aim to be The Hero but if they’ve lost your parcel, they’re not going to be your hero. If they lose your parcels often, they've lost you. If they lose parcels regularly for lots of people but hold firm to their Hero messaging, they’ll start losing trust more broadly until their reputation in the real world (they’re crap) simply overtakes their marketing.

Be realistic - a Hero brand doesn’t stand for bullsh*t, so don’t make up your own.

Did this help? Can you think of better examples?

Please reply let me know.

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