Why are Archetypes Important?

In the world in which we live we are surrounded by archetypes.

We each categorise ourselves and those around us into these archetypes in order to better make sense of the world, the people we meet and our experiences of it. Often this is a subconscious process of which we are largely unaware.

That being the case, what are the benefits of archetypes and why are they important to us?

7 Reasons Why are Archetypes Important

Here are seven reasons why are archetypes important to us:

1) They allow is to easily assess others

Humans tend to use archetypes despite being aware that, in reality, people are much more complex than these allow.

Using archetypes allows us to make quick judgements about people, expending relatively little mental energy in doing so. This allows is to make easy assessments about what level we wish to engage with them on.

While this is of use in a society where interaction with many individuals is fleeting, it does mean that we may be missing out on a deeper understanding of many of those we encounter, people who may actually be of greater value to us than we ever realise.

Nevertheless, each person only has so much social energy and time to expend and archetypes are important in helping prioritise where to expend this.

2) They help us stay well

Archetypes are also important to the individual in maintaining wellness.

Being aware of the archetypes one fits into allows the individual to understand more effectively who they believe themselves to be and to set subconscious ‘limitations’ to their actions based on their own perceived capabilities.

If this results in the individual becoming too restricted in their own view of themselves and unwilling to challenge their capabilities, then it can be damaging.

However, it is important in protecting the individual from physical or mental harm which may result from exceeding one’s realistic capabilities.

3) They can help us achieve psychological growth

Understanding one’s archetypes can also allow the individual to grow psychologically.

It is important to note that archetypes are only models for behaviour and that the individual can work to change to the archetype they align with should they feel this is beneficial.

Indeed, having the awareness of the archetype you fit with and aspiring to change yourself to fit with a different one is another archetypal function, encouraging individuals to aspire to self-awareness, psychological development and to live their best life.

For example, if the individual feels that they are an archetypal shy person and that this is hindering their career they can work proactively to develop better communication skills in order to help them make a better first impression at interview and subsequently during everyday working life.

4) They help us understand how others see us

Understanding how others perceive and categorise yourself through an understanding of archetypes can also be extremely beneficial to the individual.

Where we as individuals use archetypes to make quick mental decisions about others we meet, we must also understand that others do the same about us.

As the impression others leave on us can be long lasting, so can the impression we create on those around us, and once made it can be difficult to change. Knowing this can be a powerful tool in allowing us to change how we are perceived for the better. We can seek to make the best first impression possible, knowing that forewarned is forearmed.

Equally, it can be damaging to our sense of self to know that people hold a particular opinion of us based on a snap judgement made early in our acquaintance.

Understanding that this is based on their subconscious archetypal judgements, is out of our control and is not something we are easily going to be able to change is a powerful way of setting ourselves free from the burden that knowing about other’s negative opinions of us can hold.

5) They can help organisations better relate to their consumers

Archetypes can be beneficial to organisations as well as individuals.

If organisations can tap into the knowledge about human behaviour which archetypes provide they can be a powerful tool in creating an effective brand or visual identity.

Consumers want to connect with organisations they can trust, whatever the genre, and so it is vital to organisations to build an authentic, trustworthy image with the public.

Understanding archetypes can be useful in doing so as they can help to humanise organisations, making them relatable to people, seeming less corporate.

A good example of this would be Dove’s use of ‘real’ women in their marketing rather than ‘models’, making the women who appear on screen more relatable archetypes for those observing and thus helping the company itself appear more human and trustworthy.

6) They can help organisations develop better marketing strategies

Archetypes can be helpful to organisations in developing a clear brand purpose and brand voice, again useful tools in communicating with the audience.

By understanding better the audience which an organisation is attempting to engage with by working to understand that groups core archetypes, the organisation itself can better develop a sense of their organisation’s identity and purpose in order to meet their user’s needs, and once done can ultimately better communicate this better to those users.

This can include the development of a visual identity strategy which will better appeal to the archetypal audience types which they are seeking to engage.

7) They can help organisations better compete in the marketplace

Organisations can also benefit by assessing the archetypes of their competitors and their competitors’ audiences, allowing for a more effective positioning of themselves in the marketplace in order to give the best chance of optimum success.

By understanding more effectively through examining archetypes what makes a competitor successful and who their key consumer types are, the organisation can better define its own USP and audience, allowing for a more effective marketing strategy to be developed.

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