Consumer Exercise: What Brands Call to You?

We live in a materialistic culture where most of us have major roles as consumers. Thus, every purchase we make is a way that we vote with our feet for the world we want to continue to exist.  Most of us also can learn a great deal about ourselves by the things we hesitate to spend money on and those we always do, often without much reflection. What calls to us so strongly that we do not hesitate to buy it can be a clue to what archetypes currently are active in us. What calls to us, sometimes even strongly, but that we hold off on buying because it seems too wonderful for the likes of us can tell us what story we are yearning but not yet ready to live. The following exercise is offered to you as a way to help you become a more conscious consumer.


Make a list of ten products that you purchase consistently. (I assume that if you do buy them regularly, they work well functionally for you, so let’s look beyond that to their visual presentation and the story that they tell about themselves or you would tell about them.) Then read through the archetypes in the branding model in 12 Archetype Model for Branding and see if you can pick an archetype related to the promotion of each of your favorite things.

After doing this, think about whether you are either living some of these archetypal narratives or wanting to. If you have taken the PMAI, it can be helpful to compare your active archetypes with those of the products you selected. Then ask yourself whether the product actually fulfills the desire within you related to that archetype, it simply substitutes for a story you want to live, it is something you get because others like it but you really don’t, or it is beckoning you to something new.

Such an analysis can make you are more educated consumer who can evaluate not only the functional usefulness of a product but also what it is tells you about yourself.