Everybody loves a good story, and the telling of a captivating tale has taken many forms, some passed down generation by generation through oral recitation, some in the pages of a book, and yet others in more modern times through videos and digital media.
Through it all, there’s a single common thread: human connection.
People are drawn to characters they relate to, characters they can remember, and in broader strokes, to lessons taught from beginning to end. The beauty of these common stories is they are relatable to almost any situation, and as consumers, the threads of a plot fitting one of the seven archetypes are as familiar to us as our own reflection.
As a marketing strategy, effective use of an archetype can help your business stay consistent with your message without the necessity of spelling it all out.
Your target audience will recognize the way the story is being told and follow along with little difficulty, so you don’t need to say, “This is comedy, so laugh here.” By following the structure of your chosen storyline, you can use it as a guide to keep on track so your message doesn’t get tangled in tangents and offshoots that only confuse the customer.
But what about a multi-archetype approach?
There are no real hard and fast rules that say you can’t have a rags-to-riches character overcoming a monster in your story. Your quest story arc can be funny at the same time. Your target audience may very well be experiencing elements of multiple archetypes in their lives at the moment your message crosses their path. So how do you know which one is the most relatable?
Some of it depends on your product, as we’ve seen in prior posts on the individual archetypes. Some of it depends on your focus. How are your products and services suited to helping your customers improve their lives? If you’re a landscaping company, chances are your services won’t lend well to a quest or voyage and return story, but you can most certainly harness the inspiration found in a rebirth or overcoming the monster story arc. Why not consider both? An overgrown yard can seem monstrous to the homeowner, encroaching on their space and turning their property into an unsightly mess. But with your help, they can beat back that monster and after your company works your magic, their garden could be reborn into a thing of beauty, the envy of all the neighbors.
By finding that thread your customers could be experiencing, you can inspire them into bettering their circumstances—small, like the use of a specific pen, or large through a whole life transformation like weight loss. By speaking to them through the tried and tested method of archetypal storytelling, you’re approaching them through means they are already familiar with, which inherently builds trust.
The power is in connection
Giving your customers a recognizable format to follow in your marketing message means you can avoid a lot of exposition and get to the heart of the matter, no matter what archetype you choose.
Humans are inherently social creatures, thriving in pairs and small groups. It’s why we strive to make friends, fall in love, have families, and share our lives with others.
Nothing speaks to us quite like a powerful story that reminds us of the value in human connection.
By making promises that your products or services can enhance their lives—by saving them time they can spend with their families, improving their physical health so they can enjoy the finer things in life more readily, providing safety and security in one form or another—you’re giving your customers the means to keep their worlds turning and their lives fulfilled. Inspiring them to do so through a passionate marketing message that tells stories consumers can relate to is to remind them of the good things in life, and how you can help them make the most of it.
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