Archetypal Branding

When, some years ago, Margaret Mark invited me into Young & Rubicam, where she was then the Executive Vice President, to advise the agency about archetypes in branding, my first response was to say “no.” My reason was that too many individuals and organizations focus on promoting an image of themselves unrelated to what they genuinely care about and value. I knew that when there is a large gap between the real self and what we are trying to convince the world we are, the result is, at best, that we live a shallow and empty life and, at worst, neurosis.

Margaret held out another option—authentic archetypal branding, where an organization’s or an issue marketing campaign’s image reveals the best of who they are to the world. I immediately understood that her vision linked well with healthy depth psychological practice. Out of this project came our co-authored book, The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes, which has had a major impact on the field of marketing.

Psychoanalyst C.G. Jung helped his clients connect with their deeper self, and with their callings and values, through the individuation process. When psychological healing has occurred and a connection between the unconscious and conscious mind is established through this process, the next step is to “polish the personae,” which involves developing an authentic personality that puts your best self forward so that others can appreciate and value you. This does not mean that you never show vulnerability. Rather, it means that you have a strong enough sense of your worth and value that you can have the courage to be seen in your imperfections. Often, in this process, those whose calling is related to the archetypal story that you, at your best, promote in the world will value you and what you offer enough to accept your frailties in the light of what, at your best, you stand for.

Authentic branding is like this. It begins with growing self-awareness, so that the organization comes to know itself in a new way. Because archetypes emerge from the unconscious, and then are endorsed by conscious reflection, it then becomes possible to uncover what archetype is so authentically present in the organization and the people in it that they can deliver on the branding promise automatically, and thus consistently, because the organization offers what those involved are genuinely motivated to provide.

It is the same with individuals. Cindy Atlee has spearheaded work on authentic archetypal branding for individuals, outlined in a series of personal branding workbooks, available in the Publications section of this website, that build on the books highlighted in The Heroic Life section, that can help you shine, and through doing so make a larger and more visible impact on the world.

This Archetypal Branding section provides basic information on:

If you would like to get assistance in any of these tasks, check out Services & Network in the About section.


Personal Development

Click here to access the archetypal system model for personal development that is based on Awakening the Heroes Within, an invaluable tool for narrative intelligence, self-awareness, and growth.

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Organization Development

Click here to access the archetypal system model used in organizational development, the IBM® Kenexa® Cultural Insight Survey (IBM-KCIS), and to decode the culture of any social system.

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Organizational Branding

Click here to explore the archetypal system model used in personal, organizational, product, service, or message branding for authentically promoting who you are and what you offer.

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Click here to learn about the archetypal system model used in the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator® instrument to discover the archetypes active in individuals at any given time.

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