Psychology-Driven Brand Design. Creating and Refining Remarkable Brand Identities.

Brand Archetype FAQ: We had multiple people in our organization take the brand personality quiz, and we got different results. What does this mean?”

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

Our free brand archetype quiz has been used by organizations of all shapes and sizes. One question that pops up every now and then is, “why did our people get different results?” This usually means one of two things:

  1. Personal biases or interpretations are coming in to play when taking the quiz.
  2. The brand does not have a strongly defined internal culture.

#1: Personal biases or interpretations are coming in to play when taking the quiz.

One of the challenges of surveys or assessments is ensuring reliability and validity.

  • Generally, the longer an assessment is, the more accurate it will be, as it can dive into nuances, discern between related but distinct themes, and confirm answers by repetition. Our free brand personality quiz is just long enough to provide reasonably accurate results for those who want to learn more without having to expend a large investment of cost or time to do so.
  • A quiz designed for the masses will not touch on the intricacies of your own unique situation. A common scenario is taking the quiz as a solopreneur and not knowing exactly how to answer a question that assumes you have employees.
  • Questions may be too ambiguous or are misunderstood. This is somewhat related to the above point, but also takes into consideration that specific words or concepts can mean slightly different things to different people, or the way the question is phrased leaves open avenues for interpretation.
  • Your environment or the emotional state you’re in when taking the quiz may influence your answers. Feeling rushed, being impatient, or having difficulty concentrating can all impact results.

By the way, for these reasons, your quiz results give you points of reference that need to be confirmed (generally by surveying your actual clients or customers). In this way, the brand archetype quiz serves as a jumping off point for further exploration, including for internal brand culture.

#2: The brand does not have a strongly defined internal culture.

If this is you, you’re not alone! Establishing internal culture is difficult and requires intentional effort. Not every company takes the time or sets aside the resources to do this effectively and consistently. Colin Mitchell of famed ad agency Ogilvy & Mather (now VP Director of Global Brand at McDonald’s), suggests that when looking at your target market, employees should be considered on an equal level as your customers. He advises that you plan “a full-blown communications strategy [targeting employees] … that mirrors a consumer marketing strategy. In thinking about the campaign, top executives should first answer some key questions: What do employees think of the company? What do we want them to think? What will convince them of this? And why should they believe us?”

Having your people take the brand personality quiz can give insight into how they do currently perceive the brand. And sometimes this can be quite telling:

  • You may find that there is an obvious inconsistency between the executive level and lower level employees. This may mean that the intended high-level vision is not being passed down to those who are in the trenches every day, and that’s a problem.
  • Or you may find that a majority of people are leaning toward qualities of certain archetypes that are surprising. This may be an indicator that your external brand also has these leanings, and that your intended brand is not actually your perceived brand at all.

The bigger the brand, the more attention it needs.

As your company becomes larger, it becomes all the more important to manage your brand’s meaning, simply because, fundamentally, you have less control over it. As you create more and more touchpoints with your brand, there comes an increased potential to elevate your brand, but also an increased risk of undermining it! If one employee has one bad day and is rude to a customer, guess what? That has impacted your brand negatively. Ouch. If another employee consistently acts with an elitist, know-it-all attitude, and you are supposed to be an Everyman brand, this manifests as a huge discrepancy for the customer, and creates distrust of your brand. Again, ouch.

Short of hiring programmable robots as employees, what can you do?

Clarify and communicate in order to get everybody on the same page.

Your internal culture is determined by a lot of little things, but below are three big ones that will heavily affect your brand. The big takeaway here is be clear on these three things, and communicate them well:

  • Vision:
    Make sure your vision is relevant, genuine, and clearly communicated. Your vision is what you strive toward, and what everything you do today should be supporting. But even the strongest, most inspiring vision is worthless if it’s not communicated to — and shared with — everybody who is supposed to be working together with you to achieve it.
  • Values:
    As you’re working together to achieve a vision, what values guide your efforts? Establishing a set of Core Brand Values is essential. Don’t just come up with something arbitrary because it sounds like a nice value to have, but truly look at what makes your brand tick, and what’s important to it. What values are imperative to making your vision a reality? Encourage involvement from your people so that they don’t feel like these are values being pushed upon them, but those they can genuinely aspire toward, if they don’t already hold them (which, ideally, they should!).
  • Practices & Policies:
    Now that you know your Core Brand Values, how are they practiced? What does a core value look like when lived out in day-to-day operations? Employees need to be able to “be” the brand, which means your set of values is more than just a nicely designed poster on a wall, but a guidepost for every decision they make and every interaction they have. What policies or incentives can you put into place that help make this easier?

The above points are the “what”. The “how” can be challenging, as it takes strategy, creative execution, and time to build a strong internal brand — getting everybody on board and living the brand enthusiastically. But once you do, that internal energy will spill over to your customers and the world, making your brand even more authentic and impactful. The kicker — eventually you’ll start to attract people who want to be your employees for no other reason than your internal brand culture, and as they naturally embody it, your brand only continues to gets stronger.

Multiple Personality Disorder?

One last thing I want to point out. Out of all the results from the people in your organization that take the brand personality quiz, you should see an overall pattern of 1-2 archetypes that keep appearing, and at most, three. (Ideally, of course, this should just be one!) Even if they aren’t yet clear on which one is primary and which ones are supporting, you need to at least be able to discern your top archetypes, and they should be apparent by a wide margin from any others. If not, this is a clear case of brand multiple personality disorder, and may indicate not just that you don’t have a clear internal brand, but that you don’t have a clear brand identity at all.

As brand expert and author Denise Lee Yohn says, “If your culture and brand are mismatched, you can end up with happy, productive employees who produce the wrong results.” And wouldn’t that be unfortunate!

Go Deeper

Do you have a burning question about brand archetypes? Want to dig deep and explore the hidden potential of your brand’s personality? Let us know! We will be happy to schedule a consultation to find out how you can use the power of brand archetypes in your marketing. Still haven’t taken the quiz? Set aside ten minutes and do it here:

Picture of Nyla Smith

Nyla Smith

Nyla is a Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Front-End Web Developer and Consultant with over 15 years of experience. She is the owner of n-Vision Designs, LLC in Hampton Roads, Virginia, which exists to provide marketing support and brand consulting to small- and medium-sized businesses needing creative solutions. Contact Nyla if you'd like to discuss your next creative project. She can usually be bribed to a meeting with a cup of green tea and an oatmeal cookie.

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