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Stories Around the Campfire: Branding Your Business


Organizations are like people. They have their own unique energy. They have personality. They each have a story to tell.

And like people, they attract the most interest when they look, sound and behave in authentic ways. No one is more magnetic than when they are speaking from the heart. Too many times we get caught up in looking OUTSIDE at what our competitors are doing, or in thinking about what will ‘wow’ our target audience next.

The truth is that the very best marketing for our company is not about what we do. Rather, it’s about who we are and what passion we bring to our work. When we learn how to tap into those inner workings and use them to tell our story, great things happen – we start attracting the right people to us.

Why a story?

We are human beings and we tell stories. It’s how we connect, relate and interpret meaning and we’ve been doing since we got started on this planet.

Some stories have been told time and time again across history and culture. The famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, called these universal stories Archetypes. Jung believed that we are born with a subconscious understanding of archetypes; we’re pre-programmed for them so to speak. In fact, he believed that we always have various archetypal characters at work in our own lives and that’s why we relate to them so easily.

When I say someone is a Hero (one of Jung’s archetypes), we’re already familiar with the concept. We understand a Hero’s motivations (to fight injustice); we know how they will act (inspire and lead the way!) Or if I mention Lover (another archetype), we just ‘get it’ and can practically predict the storyline of a movie by seeing the opening trailer.

Imagine if your company was telling a story like that?

That’s exactly the idea behind Archetypal Branding, a model developed by Carol Pearson, PhD and Margaret Marks. In her Organizational Development work, Pearson noted that archetypes exist in corporate cultures and are experienced through the written and unwritten rules of engagement. One company might be more of a Caregiver and another more of a Revolutionary (two more of Jung’s archetypes). Marks then made the leap from culture to brand, documenting that the fifty most successful brands in the world, consciously or not, adhered to one of their archetypal themes in all of their marketing activities.

When applied to brand, archetypes can serve as a blueprint, guiding both vision and voice – from images, fonts and colors, to language, tone and mediums. Archetypes open up many possibilities for a creative marketing team who understand their power.

Stories are meaningful. Stories are memorable. And the right story can be motivating.

So the next time you find yourself selling at a product or service level, try digging deeper. You already have an inspiring story to tell, one that captures the heart and soul of your company.

Curious to know your archetype? Take a 10-question quiz to find out now

Cynthia Forstmann
Cynthia Forstmann
Cynthia Forstmann helps individuals and organizations identify underlying personalities and passions, turning these emotional drivers into simple stories that make them memorable.
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