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In school, we are told that it’s wrong to look at another student’s paper when taking a test. But in business, copying the best ideas of other businesses and making them your own isn’t just acceptable, it’s smart business.

When developing a brand for a new company, one of the first questions we ask is, “What companies are the most appealing to you?” The answers often determine which direction we proceed in developing a branding strategy for that business.

Branding Archetypes

The business you model your branding after doesn’t necessarily have to be in your industry or a direct competitor. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t because similar brands in the same marketplace can be confusing to consumers.

Instead, think about companies outside of your line of business that you like. For example, you may own a florist shop but like the way Coca-Cola promotes itself in the marketing world. Or you could have a real estate company but are drawn to the branding Levi’s uses to attract customers.

What you are attracted to isn’t so much the specific marketing message of that company as much as it is the archetype upon which it is built. And you can use that same branding archetype as a framework for building your business’s brand.

Unique yet Familiar

Successful brands offer a unique message yet evoke feelings that are familiar to prospective customers. The branding archetype you choose for your business determines what those feelings will be when people encounter your brand.

For example, if you want people to have a sense of belonging, Lytron Strategic can use The Everyman — used by companies like Ikea — as the archetype starting point for your business’s unique yet familiar branding. Alternatively, if you are attracted to companies like Nike that use the Hero archetype, we can start there.

In business, everything we do is built upon all the things that came before. Understanding what archetypes appeal to you is the starting point for developing your business’s unique and inspiring brand.

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