I Don’t Use Brand Archetypes in My Work — Here’s Why

business n' branding
Tagged: , ,
Title Graphic for Hillary Weiss blog post titled I Don’t Use Brand Archetypes in My Work — Here’s Why.

Have I ever told you that I don’t know my birth time?

My mom has a ballpark guess — but I’m a third kid, so no one really remembers. And no, it’s not on my birth certificate. I

could track it down, I guess? But I haven’t.

And I joke sometimes that “that’s what keeps me free”.

Because it means that any spiritual tool I’d need my birth time for — astrology charts, human design, etc. — has to be viewed as just one possible lens, rather than dogma.

Any practitioner worth their salt will of course tell you that that’s more or less how it’s supposed to work, anyway.

We Crave Certainty, but It’s Not Always Good for Us

These are tools of self-exploration and reflection, not absolute certainties, after all — and different ideas may resonate depending on your season.

But as humans, we tend to crave absolute certainty even so.

Dust specks that we are, any anchor offered to explain our place in the cosmos is wildly calming and compelling… and unfortunately, also limiting.

Because being told who we are makes it all too easy to override our complex understanding of ourselves.

When we gratefully accept a tidy set of attributes handed to us by an authority figure, we eradicate our need to examine our often-unpredictable nuances and contradictions.

Soon, that tidy set of attributes morphs into lines we feel we can’t cross, lest we fall out of lockstep with that calming certainty.

Strangely enough, brand archetypes can have a similar impact.

Use Archetypes as a Jumping-Off Point, Not a Destination

I want to say here: there’s nothing wrong with using brand archetypes. They absolutely have their place, especially in Personal Brand Land.

They also have super cool names, which I can dig. (Who DOESN’T wanna be a mage/muse/superhero/ninja/

maverick leader/lover/healer/whatever??)

Brand archetypes can also be great tools to help beginners think about who they want to be, and how they want to show up.

They simplify creating cohesion and fluency when we don’t know how to do that yet.

But again and again, I’ve watched these tools morph into absolute certainties that put walls around what entrepreneurs allow themselves to do:

“Oh, well I’m a lover/healer/mage. Even if I want to share a hot take, I shouldn’t.”

“I’m a superhero/ninja/maverick… so I’m not allowed to be vulnerable. I’ve gotta show a tough exterior.”

“I’m a muse/merlin/unicorn. I can’t tell people HOW to do things, even if I enjoy that. I’m just supposed to, uh…be.”

Fortunately, by the time my clients come to me, they’re generally aware that those tidy attributes aren’t the end-all-be-all for them anymore.

Build a Brand that Celebrates, and Doesn’t Hide, You

There’s something that happens when you mature as an entrepreneur, and realize: if you’re the face, voice, and possibly the product of your brand?

Then you need a brand concept that makes space for all of what you want to bring — something that actually braids together your nuance and contradictions, and celebrates them… instead of hiding them.

The tricky part? This high-concept approach to branding is much harder to do.

It takes time, deep work, and a LOT of thinking and reflecting with an expert. (Like me, hi!)

It takes looking at yourself, and committing to who you are, and who you want to be.

It takes trying on and testing ideas to find the right fit.

It takes trusting what you want to own, fight for, and embody.

But one beautiful result of that is: it will create a brand you don’t have to redo every 1-2 years.

You can own and iterate on it for the long haul. Because it’s truly yours.

Because it’s built on who you are, not a tidy list of attributes that skim over the audacity and aliveness of you. The most powerfully-expressed version of your brand appears when you run toward your own complexity… not away.

Because that’s what keeps you honest, excited, and in tune with yourself.

And perhaps most beautifully of all…

That’s what keeps you free.

Big Love,

Photo by Dale de Vera on Unsplash

Like what you see?

Sign up and never miss another post (and get a crazy cool freebie)

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.