The Hero Archetype

Avatar Jan Gevers

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?

Rise to the challenge

The Hero brands promise mastery.

Essence: Idealism. Spirit. Courage.

  • Does your brand challenge people to achieve their fullest potential?

  • Does your brand strive to outshine the competition?

  • Does your brand adhere to a noble set of values?

  • Do your customers trust your brand to consistently deliver high quality products?

  • Does your brand put a lot of value on corporate social responsibility?

  • Does your brand possess a strong sense of duty?

  • Is your brand currently the underdog looking to overturn the business landscape with your superior products?

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

Purpose: To achieve mastery and make a mark on the world, to prove their worth.

Alter egos: The competitor - the achiever - the warrior - the winner - the idealist - the team player

Personality traits: Brave - determined - skillful - strong - competent - competitive - aggressive - principled - idealistic - courageous - self-confident - powerful - consistent - reliable - perfectionistic - disciplined - proud - forceful - focused - goal-oriented - protective - helpful - noble - tenacious - relentless - protective - honorable

Hero brand example

Nike is a powerful example of a Hero brand.

The good

The Hero brands are driven to prove their worth. They are high achievers who know what they want and who love to leave a mark on the world. They're strong, competent and self-confident with the tenacity and expertise to consistently produce excellent results. Ever striving to surpass themselves as well as the competition, they get things done effectively with attention to detail. They are noble and disciplined.

Importantly, they never give up, which allows them to defy the odds and overcome any obstacles. They also inspire others to make a difference by becoming their own heroes and using their courage to fight for what they believe in. The Hero displays some qualities that are similar to those of the Ruler but the Hero values courage more than control. Hero brands are also idealistic with a strong sense of duty. You can always count on them to rise to the challenge and save the day.

The bad

The Hero has a paralyzing fear of failure and of showing cowardice or weakness. Additionally, they would shudder if their rival were to overtake them in quality or ratings. In fact, Hero brands might develop an obsessive need to win, which could cause them to pick battles impulsively without taking the time to first think it through. At their worst, they may pass as ruthless and aggressive or they may appear self-important, arrogant and manipulative. As such, it comes as no surprise that the Hero brands usually have a couple of mental dragons of their own that need slaying.

The believers

The Hero audience puts great trust in the brand as they appreciate the premium quality of their products. Their purchases serve to distinguish them from others, because of which they're unlikely to respond to cute or fluffy ads. These customers have an intense desire to become strong, powerful and competent like the brand they buy from. In their own quest to develop their character or abilities, they are equally tenacious and dedicated to overcoming difficulties. They tend to see themselves as good, moral people and so they strongly identify with the Hero brands that share their values.

The brands

Challenger or underdog brands typically adopt the Hero archetype as this brand personality works well when there is a definitive competitor or ‘antagonist’ to beat. The Hero-like qualities of discipline, focus and strength are represented by athletic and military brands. The Hero is also channeled by brands that are virtuous and that help their customers achieve their altruistic goals, philanthropic brands that focus on social corporate responsibility and brands that produce innovative products with the ability to change the world. As Hero brands attach a lot of importance to quality and superiority, they tend to use powerful imagery and bold colors in their communication.

BMW, Nike, Adidas, FedEx and Barack Obama are examples of the Hero archetype.

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