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What SMEs can learn from (12 Zodiac) Big Brands

Looking out into the world today, it's easy to see why brands are more important now than at any time in the past 100 years. Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise mark as opposed to a trademark. Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products. Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. Brands are valuable and needs to be meticulously built. SMEs must constantly look for that magical communication plan that will connect your corporate brand to your target audience and make your product/services an irreplaceable part of their life.  Brand building in not easy and if you aren’t clear about who you are, no one is going to be interested in you. It’s critical you understand who your brand is, and how you should be starting a relationship with your customers.
 Every company comes to the table assuming they are every guy/girl brand, but in 91% of cases, they aren’t. You need to drill down into what makes your brand special and how your customers best connect with your products. It is not easy, but it’s the most important thing you can do to understand what kind of brand are you.  

The 12 Brand Archetypes: Which One Are You?

Here is how you can figure out as to who you are and which of these 12 brand archetypes your business falls into so you can market your business better.
There are 12 basic identities and archetypes that provide the basic foundation for brand building. To make the leaning interesting I am aligning these archetypes with Indian Astrological horoscope Zodiac signs to help you understand where you belong.

The Hero Brand wants to prove himself and makes the world better by being the best. A hero brand isn’t concerned with nurturing you, they’re interested in challenging you. If you want to rise to the occasion, you’re going to need a hero’s help.

Indian Army and NaMo-Prime Minister Narendra Modi are the ultimate example of a hero archetype.  Among the corporates Mahindra and Mahindra is one such brand.
Mr Modi’s transition from an unknown Chaiwala RSS karyakarata to a strong politician brand has been carefully built and meticulously marketed. From a raging Hindu nationalist to India’s most popular prime minister- the evolution of Brand NaMo has been spectacular. His team of media, PR and advertising experts that have been working meticulously over the years to create Brand NaMo, positioning him as the harbinger of economic growth, which is packaged, advertised and sold to the public much like any other consumer. BJP winning a difficult battle in Gujarat and keeping the brand “NaMo” intact & invincible provides great learning for brand marketers.  Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s personal brand equity provided BJP an edge over their arch rival Congress and helped the party win this crucial election. This is why Brand Building and keeping your brand values consistent and intact is very important for success in difficult times.
Zodiac Personality-They are adventurous, ambitious, bold, impulsive and independent by nature. They are quick tempered and blow a fuse when they get angry. But they also cool down quite fast and do not hold a grudge. They like doing things their own way and do not like the interference of others in their affairs. They love a challenge and get provoked easily. They are quite intelligent and are full of original ideas. They are somewhat stubborn and obstinate and even after a defeat they make repeated attempts and do not give up till they are convinced that they are wrong.


 The ruler brand wants absolute power. Luxury and exclusivity are what the ruler is all about. A ruler brand is a gatekeeper. If a customer buys from them, they get to belong to the elite. Being perceived as high-quality and expensive is critical for a ruler brand. Jewelry and high-end vehicles are natural fits for the ruler archetype.

Do you buy a Mercedes Benz because of its crash test rating? What about its gas mileage? Its heated seats? No. You buy a Mercedes Benz because you can afford to, and most other people can’t. Whenever you park your car, people will understand your status without you saying a word. That quietly understood value is what a ruler brand sells. Reliance is also the perfect example of such brand type.
Zodiac Nature-They are highly ambitious, dominating and love to show off like a Leo. They love power and authority. They are large hearted and generous people. They are given to vanity and are easily susceptible to flattery. They have a strong determination and mentally very tuff. They are very good leaders who can inspire and motivate others easily. They are very confident and independent by nature


He tries to make dream come true. The magician archetype is all about vision. Magician brands don’t build you a better toothbrush or help you keep your house clean, they bring your wildest dreams to life. What they offer is a grand experience no one else could achieve. A magician is so in tune with the fundamentals of the universe that they can create the impossible.

Disney is the perfect magician. Disney is fundamentally a media company, but they are unlike any other. They offer a transformative experience. They are in a category of their own because of the grandness of their vision. Imagine another brand that could build a “Magic Kingdom” or a “Disney World.”  The other brand that comes to mind in this category is Kishfisher.  

Zodiac Personality – They have similar traits like Pisces, friendly, easy going and philosophic by nature, they make friends easily. They are highly artistic have a very matured and calm attitude. They have the typical artistic tendency of experiencing life from one extreme to the other. When they entertain or drink, normally there are no limits. They are not the conventional types by any standards. They have their own way looking at things and the angle and height from which they look at life and the life beyond is something, which is difficult for others to understand easily.


A Sage always seeks the truth and wisdom. Everything else is secondary to the pursuit of knowledge. A sage brand might not feel warm and cuddly. They don’t enrapture you in a fantastic world like Disney. Instead, a sage commands your respect by showing their brilliance.

Harvard University is a sage. They are one of the most revered universities in the world. Harvard’s brand is all about being the legendary. The Indian Brand that can fall here is Tata.
Zodiac Personality -They are strong willed, courageous, ambitious and independent like Sagittarians. They have respect for God and Guru and are sympathetic by nature. At the same time they also believe in enjoying life with the full. They are difficult to ignore no matter what they are upto. 


A creator isn’t worried about the cost of production or making things at scale. They care about one thing: building the perfect product and crave for perfection.

While the magician also stresses vision and imagination, creators are different in that they don’t unlock the world’s magic and create the impossible. They create the perfect product.
Lego is a great example of a creator archetype. In one of their ads, Lego recreated in stunning detail the most famous sights of the world. They didn’t build new sites, and they didn’t create some new technology that put the sites in your home. Lego used the simplest technology possible: blocks. They took this simplicity and pushed it to its most perfectionist extreme. That’s what being a creator all is about. Tanishq and Fasttrack are also the good examples of creative brands.
Zodiac Personality: They are like Virgo, perfect, ambitious, conservative, down to earth, hardworking, methodical and very health conscious. They plan their work and work to a plan. They are perfectionists and are very specific and particular about everything being right. They are very intelligent and possess quick grasping power.


This brand type wants to make you theirs. Passion, pleasure, and sensuality are the lover’s keywords. A lover brand wants you to associate them with intimate moments in your life .What do you buy to celebrate? What do you buy your significant other for birthdays and anniversaries? Chances are, you’re buying from a lover brand.

Think of Cadbury Brand and their Chocolate ads. Do they ever make you think about your health, your finances, or your future? No. Cadbury promotes intimacy and seduces you. It shows off its richness and creaminess. It invites you to take part in life’s greatest indulgence: Chocolate.
Zodiac Personality: They are like Liberans, They are loving, and romantic who want to be fair in all their dealings and actions. They carefully weigh the pros and cons before taking a decision. They are friendly, talkative, and social by nature. They easily make friends and are popular. On top of that, with their quick grasping nature and sharp intellect, they easily earn the love and respect.


The caregiver is benevolent and wants to nurture you. They want to be there for you and the people you love. Caregiver brands are all about emotions, warmth and trust. You can depend on them when it comes to your children. It’s rare to see a caregiver brand run an ad that takes a shot at their competition. They are the opposite of confrontational.

 Perfect examples of such brands are rare, however Nordstrom, retail brand of America is one such good example who very customer centric.
The other example which can possibly fit is Johnson & Johnson. Their tagline line is “Johnson & Johnson: A Family Company.” You can’t get more committed to families than that. A Johnson & Johnson ad always focuses on how their products help you take care of your children. How their products build families. This is bread-and-butter for the caregiver archetype.
Zodiac Nature: They are emotional, sensitive and sentimental by nature. They are great home lovers and feel comfortable in familiar surroundings. They love tradition, history and art and normally religious by nature. They love greenery and watery places. They are very loving husbands who believe in a lasting relationship and as parents they are very caring and attached to their children.


Freedom is all an explorer cares about and want to break free. Where other brands might try to help you build a home, explorer brands want to get you outside. With this in mind, it makes sense that many outdoor brands are natural fits for the explorer archetype.

Subaru is the classic explorer brand. They don’t sell their cars based on luxury or comfort, they stress the freedom a Subaru provides. Blizzard? No problem. Subaru lets you decide where you’re going, no matter the circumstance. You’re free. The Virgin Brand also falls in this archetype.
Zodiac Personality: They are Scorpion type, highly intuitive, somewhat secretive, emotional, sensitive, artistic and highly romantic by nature. They have a sharp mind and are strong willed. They are strongly inclined and interested in the spiritual and occult side of life. Because of these qualities there are excellent social reformers.


These type of brands wants revolution. The outlaw isn’t afraid. Outlaw brands control their own life without regard for the status quo. Where the innocent archetype touches the part of you that loved snack time in kindergarten, the outlaw archetype appeals to the part of you that cut classes in high school.

Building a cult following like Harley Davidson or Apple is the ultimate goal of an outlaw brand. Remember those old iPod commercials where monochrome people had the best times of their lives dancing? That ad doesn’t tell you to stand in a crowd or go to a concert. It tells you to be yourself, to dance whenever you like, and to do it with Apple. If you think Apple doesn’t have a cult following, consider this. Did people wait in line for hours when the Galaxy S8 was released? No, is the answer.  Outgrown from cult
Zodiac Personality-They are very down to earth, practical and highly ambitious like Capricorns and revolutionaries like Scorpions. Money is something that they understand and like instinctively. They are hardworking and intelligent by nature and are usually very successful in life. They do not like over indulging in pleasures and definitely don’t waste money.


The jester is all about having fun. They live in the moment. Jester brands might not be curing illnesses, but they’re making your day better. Humor, silliness, even nonsense are all in a jester’s toolkit. The goal of a jester brand is to make you smile with light-hearted fun.

The Old Spice Man is one of my all-time favorite ad campaigns, and the perfect example of a jester archetype. Some guys react well to hyper-masculine branding. Other guys don’t. By making a joke out of these super manly brands, Old Spice gets to appeal to both sides.
Zodiac Personality -They invariably have charming, attractive features of Geminian. They are quick witted, humorous and social by nature. They are sharp and intelligent and full of brilliant original ideas. They are somewhat restless and changeable by nature. They love life and enjoy it fully. No one can give more entertaining company than a Geminian. 


The innocent belongs in paradise and just wants to be happy.

Everyone is free, virtuous, and happy in an innocent’s world. An innocent brand will never guilt you with an ad or go over the top to convince you. Instead, an innocent brand will charm you with something much more powerful: Nostalgia.
Orville Redenbacher is the prototypical innocent archetype. They sell you a childhood treat, popcorn, and their mascot is a grandpa who hasn’t stopped having fun since bowties were a thing unironically.
Zodiac Personality-They are patient and conservative like Taurians. They are not very adventurous or impulsive but solid and steady. They are intelligent but slow. They are not easily provoked but if provoked they can be quite violent. Once they make up their mind they can be quite obstinate. They are very hard working and methodical by nature. Though not very openly demonstrative they are very affectionate and caring. They like an orderly life and like all enduring things. Normally they have a love for nature and art. They love luxury and comforts. 

Regular brand wants to belong with no glitz or glamour, just a reliable product that gets the job done. That’s what regular guy/girl brands are selling. The archetype is focused on providing something so far removed from pretentiousness that it can appeal to everyone. It is the hardest archetype to pull off, because you have to have a product that actually appeals across demographics.

Everyone drinks coffee. Not every individual person, but every major demographic with the possible exception of infants. That’s what makes Folgers a great every guy/girl brand. Folgers doesn’t market to a hip crowd. They don’t brag about their high quality, all-organic coffee. They keep it simple: “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.” Everyone wakes up. Everyone drinks Folgers. HDFC, LIC, Birla, TVS, Infosys etc fall in this category.

Zodiac Personality -They are highly social, jovial and talkative like Aquarians. They are popular, make friends easily and are excellent company. Very intelligent and quick-witted, they make an instant impact on you. They enjoy life and the people who are with them also get a good share of it.
By Aryan Prem Rana
IMC Driven SME Focused PR & IR Consultancy


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