Understanding your archetype is the first step in engineering cohesive and positively delightful customer experiences. It’s important to clearly understand which customer experiences make sense for your brand personality and which ones – despite being ‘on-trend’ – you should stay clear of.
Customer Experience is not about trends it’s about revealing and bringing your brand character to life – to build trust with your clients and customers.
What is an archetype?
Throughout history, the same types of characters have consistently shown up in myths, folklore, in art and even blockbuster movies. It’s no coincidence.
Our brains love to organise things that are “alike” together, giving us a sort of “compass” to understanding others. Once we group these characters or archetypes together, it gives us a shared meaning and understanding of each other. So, knowing what your brand character or archetype is, is really important. Especially when making decisions on what customer experiences you should invest in – and which ones you take a hard pass on.
According to psychologist Carl Jung, 12 archetypes or character’s have served as a compass to understand human behaviour and are imprinted psychologically in each of us.
You see, each of us craves a connection with people – not products or services – so when your brand adopts a clear and consistent archetype, it becomes familiar, more human-like and trustworthy. In short, we recognise it, and it makes sense to us.
Expectations and Experiences
When someone presents as “The Hero” (one of the 12-archetypes) in a movie like Wonder Woman, for instance, we understand her character and what she represents. Because of our inbuilt compass, we also expect her to behave in a certain way and can typically anticipate her action to overcome evil and prevail.
Your Unique Brand Personality
In short, it makes sense to us because our brain categorises these characters automatically – without even realising it. When you show the world your archetype through an expression of your branding – you’re really showing them your brand personality.
Just like people, there are certain experiences that work well for some archetypes and others that just confuse and frustrate your customers.
Now, just imagine in your group of friends, the jokester, normally he arrives late, always dressed casually or even silly – possibly with props and makes everyone laugh with his colourful stories. Imagine after knowing him for years, he turns up to your birthday party in a suit acting all “Wallstreet” to present his latest multi-level marketing investment deal to you and your friends?
Confusing and annoying right? In archetype terms, you’ve always experienced him as a solid “Entertainer” (one of the 12 archetypes), but now all the sudden he’s showed up to your party as Royal or Magician archetype. The same scenario plays out in business as well, expectations are there, assumptions have been made and experiences need to match and play out in real-life scenarios – like in-store, on the phone, by your sales or staff and in your customer service teams.
How customer experience can go wrong
Most often, there are two ways in which customer experience can go wrong.
Brand Strategy lacks a consistent compass – an archetype
1) First, you may not have a consistent brand archetype, to begin with. In essence, you may be showing up as split personalities all over the place (website, social, content marketing, advertising and your customer experiences). In addition, your customer experiences may be furthering the confusion because they are trying to appease everyone.
Often retailers and business owners have a lot of “shiny things” or opportunities. Without a clear and consistent brand archetype, you may be confused about what you should adopt and those you steer clear of.
Brand Archetype is consistent but lacks support to your customer experiences
2) Secondly, you may have a really consistent brand archetype and personality in a traditional branding sense (look, tone, feel) but your customer experiences are not congruent with your archetype. You see an experience that “speaks to you” and instead of reflecting on your unique brand archetype, you choose it because it’s trendy, new technology or personally just think it would be cool. Experiences are not about trends.
Having congruent customer experience highly engages your customers and creates bottom-line growth. According to the Rosetta study,
“Highly engaged customers buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction and have 3x the annual value compared to non-highly engaged customers.”
The downside to getting your customer experience wrong is;
- lost sales opportunities
- constantly discounting because people don’t recognise your value
- reduced profit (see above)
- decreased ability to keep customers – they defect easily
- you don’t save marketing dollars by having customer advocates
- you’ll need to increase your marketing spend as you’re churning through customers (low ROI marketing)
Archetypes are like a secret compass
Depending on what your’s is, you can say no to “shiny objects” that don’t make sense for your brand archetype and YES to ones that absolutely do. Without this clarity, many retailers and brick and mortar businesses find themselves investing in customer experiences that do not add value to their customers or build trust with them.
Using archetypes as your compass, you can appeal to your customers’ psychological triggers and utilise your own brand strengths to build a real connection with them.
Our Background and Expertise
After a 12-year career in marketing and then later owning a large Good Guys store from 2005-2016, I realised psychology-driven experiences and impact customer events was driving strong sales growth (24%) and increasing visitation (35%) in our store with a nearly double-digit increase in profitability (9.7%). In just a couple of years, we grew from 25m per year to 38m in turnover.
While the growth was great, it was also extremely resource-hungry. Requiring additional staff and expertise in customer experience and event management which we were managing in-house.
After The Good Guys were bought out by JB HiFi, I wrote a book called The Retail Experiment, which outlined all the research and the experiments I ran inside the store on my customer experience journey and started doing psychology-driven experiences and events for other retailers in Australia in 2015.
What we do
We are psychology-driven (think archetypes) customer experience strategists, specialising in retail and brick and mortar businesses.
By utilising our clients’ unique archetype(s) we design irresistible experiences and events that build trusted customer communities and drive discovery, engagement and sales.
For more information reach out for a FREE Discovery call or Customer Experience Health Check to see what we can do together.