Everything we experience in life is imprinted into our memories, and becomes a part of our subconscious mind. Some experiences are commonly held across all of humanity, as they describe common aspects of the human journey in a single idea or image, and when these common experiences are then depicted in art or literature, which has occurred thousands of times across different cultures, then these fundamental folksy ideas are called archetypes.
Archetypes are universal ideas, experiences, and images, those that all people can understand no matter where they are from, no matter in which culture they are raised. Carl Jung was an important student of archetypes and much of today’s thinking on the subject emanated from Jung. The hero, the warrior, the ruler, the lover, the trickster, all of these archetypes are in every continent’s myths and legends. The universal depiction of the mother and child is another, a pervasive subject in painting and sculpture depicted in thousands of artworks, for it, too, is a recurring life pattern and image across all cultures.
Jung pointed out that archetypes like the mother and child icon repeatedly show up not only in the arts, but also in our dreams. In fact it is the projecting quality of our subconscious body intelligence that is responsible for the repeating patterns of archetypes in art. This suggests that archetypes are innate not only in human culture, but deep within each one of us. Today, they also appear frequently in the media, in film, and in advertising, and thus they are essential elements of branding and brand development. The most successful of them imprint messages in our individual and collective unconscious.
We see this clearly in George Lucas’ Star Wars saga. Lucas quite intentionally drew upon the profound analysis developed in Joseph Campbell’s masterful study of mythology and folklore, The Hero of a Thousand Faces, which describes many of the vital archetypes that appear across the ages, including the classical model of the hero that is embodied in Star Wars.
And while Luke Skywalker occupies a heroic place in the Star Wars universe, the point of an archetype is that it can apply to all of us, not just the exceptional, unique, or chosen.”
Excerpted from Soulful Branding – Unlock The Hidden Energy in Your Company & Brand, Jerome Conlon, Moses Ma & Langdon Morris, FutureLab Press 2015. This book presents a deep paradigm shift in what the art of marketing & branding can become at the highest level. Few companies have ventured this high up the brand pyramid.
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