The benefit of brand characteristics in financial marketing

11-brown-books-stacked-on-a-shelf-in-a-library-go-down-in-size-from-left-to-right- with-a-light-on-in-the-background

Jessica Sims

Creative Strategist

Posted on December 11, 2017

Have you ever wondered why books always contain similar roles? They often have a hero character who saves the day, or the outlaw who fights against the status quo. These characteristics are used because they are instantly familiar to us; they are part of a ‘collective understanding’ that we share. And guess what, they are used in financial branding too; being automatically understood to communicate what you and your service/product are all about.

In my previous blog, Successful financial branding begins with company pillars, we addressed the importance of brand pillars and their creation. To recap, brand pillars are the foundation in which a brand is built on – characteristic traits that inform not only a company’s visual identity, but also their communication approach.

In this blog, we discuss how to transform your brand pillars into archetypes, which will later be used to inform your brand’s visual identity and tone of voice.

What are archetypes?

Humans are drawn to different characteristics because we either admire or relate to them – and brands are no different. Archetypes convey a meaning that makes customers strongly relate to a product or service.

There are 12 brand archetypes, each communicating its own characteristic and objective.


“Archetypes are the heartbeat of a brand because they convey a meaning that makes customers relate to a product as if it actually were alive in some way…”

(The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands through the Power of Archetypes)

Aligning your brand pillars with corresponding archetypes

Gather your company’s pillars, placing them next to the 12 brand archetypes and their definitions. And one by one ask: does this align? Is this us? Your brand can be made up of more than one archetype – as you will probably have more than one pillar, but we recommend that you hierarch these in accordance to importance to produce a dominate trait.

To illustrate this, let’s use the brand Lloyds Bank as an example. Positioning themselves as committed and client focused, Lloyd’s brand pillars are built on the ethos of loyalty, strength, intimacy and helper. Aligning these to the archetype wheel will inform you that the pillars fall into the category of Hero – a character that will stand by use side continuously; empower you through their strength and support. This is evidently seen in the band’s commercial, For Your Next Step.


When considering your brand archetypes, always keep in mind the context of the financial market. For instance, not many financial companies display the characteristic of Jester – this is due to the serious nature of the industry. However, this does not mean that your brand cannot be playful, as this trait can be considered a lower hierarchy archetype.

In my next blog I will discuss how to draw on these archetypes when developing TOV guidelines for your company.