Part 1: Your Brand is Miyagi!

Archetypes provide the science-backed formula to outreach impact…

Robert Wheatley
5 min readJul 25, 2022

All too often we encounter a systemic problem baked into brand communication that stops engagement in its tracks. The fundamentals of how brands create their narratives are upside down compared to how people relate to those stories. Further, the language and imagery deployed doesn’t automatically draw in the desired audience.

You have a chance now to create marketing that steps past intrusion and avoidance. We’re going to take you on a two-part journey to a new way of managing brand storytelling. It is grounded in deep insight about how people relate to stories and the language triggers that human beings respond to universally.

You might agree that inspired citizens are going to be better brand evangelists than disinterested consumers. Reaching the hearts and minds of people has never been easy, however, there are principles at work that can open the door to consistent engagement no matter your business category.

  • For context, the old rules of brand marketing outreach no longer apply. The path to engagement and attention employed by the greatest storytellers of our generation reflects what behavioral science now confirms: we are hardwired to respond positively to certain forms of interaction — everything else is ignored.

Here we will offer guidance that can dramatically change and improve your ability to communicate successfully with consumers and other stakeholders for the very reason they are running towards your brand story, rather than away from it. This proven methodology is based on the insights honed by the famed founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung, and the employment of archetypes constructed on how people see themselves and relate to the world around them. Invariably, to be effective, people must see themselves in the stories you tell.

The most common strategic communications error is…

Somewhere in the DNA of legacy marketing strategy is an all-too-common move to position the brand as the hero of the narrative. However, we are no longer selling products. Technology has advanced far enough that in any given category all proprietary advantages in product formulation, ingredients or manufacturing have been rendered moot. Essentially most leading brands within any competitive set will be close to parity on product quality. The ability to copy, replicate, duplicate and reach similar feature-to-benefit claims has changed the entire paradigm of vying for competitive marketplace advantage.

Today brands compete on the basis of deeper meaning, and not product specsmanship. That said, when the brand narrative is created as a biased, self-promotional autobiography, the hero of that story is always the brand. By casting your brand as hero, your brand effectively competes with the customer for that role, confusing and alienating them in the process.

  • Your audience wants to know you understand and are empathetic about the problems they have, where they want to get to, and how you can support them and help solve their needs on the journey. In short, consumers are buying the end result, and will pay you for useful guidance to get there.

Your brand is in fact, Miyagi — a guide, coach, mentor and source of inspiration on the road to overcoming obstacles and then solving problems. Actor Pat Morita played the karate master in the movie The Karate Kid, who mentors the erstwhile, defeated Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio’s character) who eventually triumphs over a stronger and more aggressive adversary.

Miyagi didn’t compete for the hero role. He was there to help, to inspire and provide tools for the heroes’ improvement. This is the essence of brand role in any communication that has a shot at engaging its intended audience. Your brand exists to inspire the hero who is always your customer.

How do we achieve connection, loyalty and love from our customers?

By creating brand communication that is…

Tangible — packaged in a way that humanizes and supports belief

Relatable — engaging with characters whose values we share

Immersive — where we experience something

Memorable — with rich scenes and metaphors we resonate to

Emotional — that moves beyond intellectual, analytical copy

Note, 95% of all purchase actions are driven by the sub-conscious mind. Neuroscience tells us the sub-conscious responds to emotional cues and not analytical reasoning. Stated simply, people respond to the feelings they have, one way or other, in the presence of your brand.

Now we have a management system for meaning…

Archetypes provide tools that help position your brand while surfacing personality traits that will resonate with the desired audience. Why is this effective? Because archetypes are built on universal patterns of human behavior that are instinctual and importantly, recognizable. Use of the archetype personalities draws us in based on deep seated responses to how we see ourselves and how we define the life we want to live. It gives us the framework to assess and assign meaning.

Archetype has likely played a powerful role to influence what’s in your pocket, your gym bag and your driveway.

As we’ve said in highly competitive categories brand differentiation can no longer be founded on discern-able product differences. Deeper meaning is now a brand asset and how this is deployed can have a powerful impact on your brand’s performance by drawing consumers close.

Archetypes are guides to message and meaning. They offer a way to define what this should look like for your business and generate an anchor and litmus test for effective communication and marketing outreach strategies.

Human beings are automatically drawn to these 12 need/fulfillment states:













Consumer response to encountering a relevant, resonant archetype is, “this one is for me.” How does this happen?

  • Brands that embody an archetype are imbued with relevant and meaningful symbolism.
  • Archetypal product identity speaks directly to deep psychic imprints within consumers.
  • Archetypal images signal fulfillment of basic human desires, motivations and deep-seated emotions.
  • Archetypes are the software of the psyche.

There are 12 archetypes, and they can be grouped in four categories of consumer motivation.

1. Stability/Control




2. Belonging/Enjoyment


Regular guy


3. Risk/Mastery




4. Independence/Fulfillment




In our next article we will take a deep dive into each archetype and how they work in development of effective, powerful brand communication.

Stay tuned.



Robert Wheatley

CEO of firm focused on helping brands understand, navigate and engage the consumer's growing passion for healthy living. Author, blogger, speaker. Home chef.