The Explorer Archetype

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By Jan Gevers

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Brand archetypes humanize your brand by giving it a well-defined multidimensional personality your audience can relate to. They distinguish you from the competition and speak in a clear voice that cuts through the clutter.

Not sure yet which archetype corresponds to your brand?

Discover the world, find yourself

The Explorer brands promise freedom.

Essence: Freedom. Possibility. Daring.

  • Does your brand promote values of freedom, independence and self-reliance?

  • Does your brand inspire your audience to seek fulfilment through adventure and self-discovery?

  • Does your brand challenge your customers to venture outside their comfort zone?

  • Is your brand a pioneer, unafraid to explore a new direction?

  • Is your brand curious about the newest developments and trends?

  • Does your brand embrace possibility with the sky being the limit?

  • Does your brand pride itself on being self-made?

If you have responded yes to many of the questions above, your brand may be best represented by the Explorer archetype.

Purpose: To seek a more authentic, fulfilling life; to experience new things; to discover oneself by discovering the world.

Alter egos: The pioneer - the trailblazer - the adventurer - the wanderer - the pilgrim - the seeker - the daredevil

Personality traits: Independent - ambitious - individualistic - self-sufficient - innovative - ambitious - bold - non-conformist - daring - curious - authentic - adventurous

Explorer brand example

GoPro embodies the Explorer archetype.

The good

The Explorer archetype is freedom personified. The Explorer craves adventure and self-discovery by exploring new, authentic experiences that the world has to offer. Adventure is the preferred means to achieve enlightenment and self-fulfilment. These brands invite their audience to embark on an exciting journey with them. They encourage their customers to be independent, to express their individuality and to take initiative so that they may grow.

The Explorer brands like to stay on top of the newest trends and they delight in unexpected discoveries. They're autonomous, ambitious and innovative. They're also nonconformist and they desire to be free of any constraints that might tamper with their freedom and personal growth. However, instead of challenging the establishment like the Hero or Outlaw, they simply reject it and opt for a different path altogether.

The bad

The Explorer fears entrapment, boredom and being stuck in a rut. They continuously need to push the envelope and explore the unknown in order to avoid becoming restless. At their worst, they can become aimless wanderers. They could turn out flaky and they might even end up alienating others because they become too self-involved in their quest to attain a gratifying life for themselves. In their need to be self-sufficient, they might reject help or support from others. Finally, the Explorer could appear as a misfit or as a bit of an oddball.

The believers

The Explorer audience exhibits a particular mindset as they're trying to figure out their place in the world. This type of mindset frequently materializes in the younger generation. However, the Explorer could also appeal to someone stuck in a mid-life crisis, in need of new experiences to rediscover him/herself and the joys of life. Explorer customers are often quite active in the rugged outdoors, particularly through solitary activities that allow them to reconnect with nature. They dislike settling down and steer clear of serious commitments like a mortgage or marriage.

The Explorer brands resonate with their audience as they're able to offer a solution for their internal conflicts and desires. Their customers are not particularly loyal because they believe change to be a natural state of life. The best way for Explorer brands to entice their target audience is to emphasize the authenticity of the brand and to highlight freedom and individuality as core values.

The brands

The Explorer archetype is the ideal brand personality for products that are to do with outdoor pursuits, such as off-road vehicles, clothing and apparel for extreme and outdoor sports and other leisurely adventures in the wild. Explorer brands play up the importance of freedom, independence and adventure. Nature and risk-taking tend to take up a central role in their communication.

Jeep, The North Face, GoPro, Patagonia and Amelia Earhart are the examples of the Explorer archetype.

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