Why “Be Yourself” Is Terrible Advice

Why “Be Yourself” Is Terrible Advice

If I read to “be yourself” or “be authentic” one more time I might punch my computer screen.

Which part of myself? My analytical research side? My creative design side? The part of me that wants to change the world? Or the part of me that wants to snuggle up with my almost-one-year old and screw “success”? The part that’s passionate about branding, marketing, psychology, traveling, designing, parenting, working out, writing, fashion or food? (To clarify, by food, I mean eating. I don’t actually cook.)

You can’t simply “be yourself” otherwise everyone would be famous and successful in business. Building a successful brand takes thought and defining. YOUR brand story is what will make people believe in you and your company. Being conscious of the story you are telling is important.

Introducing… Brand Archetypes

A core concept to my beliefs about marketing is that brands should be humanized. Personal brands (and brands with personality) are more powerful than ever, because deep down we want to connect with people – not products or services. If a brand adopts a primary character archetype, people recognize it – it’s familiar. They understand what you stand for. They understand what you DON’T stand for.

It’s not a mistake or coincidence that the same types of characters/personas show up throughout pop culture, stories, and history. Our brains are wired to organize ideas.

An archetype /ˈɑrkɪtp/ is a universally understood symbol, term,[1] statement, or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures.

Archetypes are likewise supposed to have been present in folklore and literature for thousands of years, including prehistoric artwork. The use of archetypes to illuminate personality and literature was advanced by Carl Jung early in the 20th century, who suggested the existence of universal contentless forms that channel experiences and emotions, resulting in recognizable and typical patterns of behavior with certain probable outcomes. Archetypes are cited as important to both ancient mythology and modern narratives.

Credit: Wikipedia

Some industries will naturally gravitate towards certain personality archetypes (for example a nonprofit will probably be a caregiver). However, you might intentionally choose one that is less obvious for your industry to differentiate yourself – such as supporting a rebel cause, or becoming a hero/warrior for your message.

The key is to BE something. Define yourself. Make people FEEL something about your brand. You might choose to mix 2 of the archetypes – but don’t try to be all 12.

We trust & believe in things that are familiar to us and/or aspirational (embodies something we want to be).

There are twelve main archetypes that were first defined by Carl Jung. Which is yours?


If you aren’t sure, make sure you sign up for my email list. I’ll be discussing each of the brand archetypes in more detail in future posts (you’ll also get access to my private Facebook marketing challenge group).

If you’re ready to leverage your BRANDALITY (that’s your brand’s personality), hire me to help you define & use its superpowers to attract customers.



One Comment

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