The Innocent Archetype portrays itself as young, fresh and genuine. It is one of the 12 brand archetypes famously referenced in branding, originally created by the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung. "Archetypes are components of the collective unconscious, deeply embedded personality patterns that resonate within us and serve to organise and give direction to human thought and action." (Jung, 1993).
All brands fit under one archetype, some more than one, but one archetype is always dominant. Studies have found that the tighter you can align your brand to one archetype the better your results.
If you need help working out what your brand is about, you may like to take the Brand Archetype Assessment.
The Innocent Archetype (also known as The Dreamer)
The Innocent archetype in branding can be idealistic and wonderfully naïve. These brands can have childlike charisma with content that exudes positivity and wholesome emotion. Think Coca Cola's moments, Dove's 'self love' and Hello Kitty's cute round head and large eyes.
The Innocent brand appreciates the simple things in life: moments, happiness, and quality. These brands promise all things wholesome and pure, like, 'better ingredients', 'pure and simple,' or, 'good for the planet.'
The Innocent may also be referred to as a mystic, utopian or dreamer.
The Innocent Archetype's Strengths
The Innocent archetype always sees the glass as half full, never half empty, offering a moment of happiness in a fast-paced world. Brands that fit this archetype are seeking to make the world a better place.
It's an archetype that suits:
- Community-orientated organisations
- Food & beverage companies
- Health-related products and services
- Children's products
- Anything clean
The Innocent brand can work well for businesses wanting to establish themselves as a predictable (and almost sentimental) ideal in a crowded marketplace, like Coca-Cola. Coke is often used as an example of using the Innocent archetype in branding. Coca-Cola blends a feeling of nostalgia with predictability into its marketing content.
The Innocent Archetype's Characteristics
Customers that are attracted to innocent brands seek out predictability more than novel experiences. Some of the characteristics that are associated with the innocent brand archetype include:
- Dependability (predictability)
- Open minded
- Easy going
Brands that embody this archetype often use bright colours, simple shapes and whimsical imagery to create a sense of fun and nostalgia and trust.
The Innocent Archetype's Voice
Kind, genuine and clear. The Innocent Archetype's voice is reassuring, dependable, and trusted. Here are some examples of power words that may work well for copy for the Innocent brand archetype:
The innocent archetype suits a clear, simple, friendly and optimistic tone of voice. Make the audience feel at ease using warmth and humour.
The Innocent Archetype Family
The innocent family members all have similarities to each other, as if they are from the same gene pool, but they are each their own sub-archetype in their own right.
If you're interested in learning more about the subtypes of this family, I recommend the book, The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson.
Examples Of The Innocent Archetype
Disney is an example of the Innocent Archetype, promising 'the happiest place on earth' and 'a lifetime of memories.' Its campaigns are full of feel-good magic, its voice inviting and warm. In movies, the brand captures stories that resonate and inspire, while on location they make the stories come alive and kids' dreams come true.
An example of how Disney brings its archetype alive is using sponsored geolocation Snapchat filters. McDonald's uses sponsored filters too, turning Snapchat users into burgers.
McDonald's is another example of using the Innocent archetype in branding. It sells itself as the happy place, creating an association between its food and the feeling of child-like joy.
The Innocent Archetype On Social Media
How brands choose to use social media can offer a snapshot into the brand personality they are aiming to portray. Coca-Cola for example promotes kindness, self-love and dreams.
The Innocent Archetype Vulnerabilities
All archetypes have strengths and weaknesses. By being aware of both, you can manage them.
- Inauthentic: if an Innocent brand is found to be ingenuine by poisoning the planet with its ingredients or photoshopping before and afters as a skincare company, the brand may find they need to adapt its branding framework to another archetype OR realign.
For example, Coca-Cola is the world's largest beverage company, and as such, they're considered responsible for significant packaging damage in the environment at large. In 2018, Coca-Cola committed to recycling a bottle or can for every one the company sells by 2030. Actions like this are working to claim back lost brand equity where they were perceived as a guilty business.
- Simplistic: The innocent archetype can be perceived as simplistic, and lacking in sophistication or depth. This can turn off certain audiences who may be looking for brands that are edgier.
- Bland: Another vulnerability for the Innocent brand is that its content can feel boring or lack differentiation. Ever seen a brand with too much white space? Health brands that all look the same? Ads that lack personality? The innocent brand doesn't need to be plain Jane.
If you're aware of these vulnerabilities considering how to mitigate them now will make the innocent brand stronger.
Unsure what your brand archetype is? Take the brand archetype assessment.