Using brand archetypes. A real-life case study.

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When I went to order my coffee this morning I got to chatting with Addis, the cafe owner. She had watched the 'live' I did on Sunday about brand archetypes. Addis confessed to not being the creative type.  But she appreciated how the idea of archetypes made it easier for her to understand. So in honour of the best coffee in Brisbane, I decided to make today's blog post all about her.

Addis Coffee is a small cafe in Moorooka, Brisbane. Addis sources premium Ethiopian coffee beans that she both serves and sells from the cafe. Recently she began selling traditional Ethiopian meals as well. Because I am an addict, I have been visiting Addis a couple of times a week, and chatting with her for well over a year. Today we talked about marketing and social media. In part for Addis, and in part for you, I want to show you how we can use the brand archetypes to make creating or selecting imagery for your social media so much easier.

Start with the values that matter. 

Disclosure. I have not completed a full branding assessment with Addis. I am making the following judgements based on our ad hoc conversations. 

The core values that her business stands for include: 

  • Community and warmth 
  • Cultural heritage 
  • Faith and connection

These traits are excellent examples of a HERO brand. (You can work out your brand archetype by visiting What's your Brand Type?

Identify your archetype

Hero brands are all about improving the world in their own way. They are strong, competent, take action and are motivational. Hero brands are full of integrity, they are warm, ambitious and want to really make a change. Other values and traits of a Hero brand include: 

  • Authentic
  • Comforting
  • Community
  • Cosy
  • Earthy
  • Efficient
  • Enthusiastic
  • Focused
  • Friendly
  • growth focussed
  • Integrity
  • Nature
  • Organics
  • Strong
  • Substantial
  • Warm


So as you can see, the values of Addis Coffee easily fit this type. If you think you might be a Hero brand, you can take a look at a snapshot of the Hero Brand Archetype here


Add the colour


Oh I can geek out on this stuff! 

Did you know that as humans our brains process imagery some 70,000 times faster than we process text? Within the image, the thing that our brains process first, is colour. 

I am not going to go into any detail about colour psychology here. I’ll save that for another post. But in summary...colours (as in light-waves) tend to have a psychological impact on us. They make us feel. In the image below you can see some of the common colour groups and how they can impact you. 


But let’s get back to Addis. 

When a follower looks at Addis’ feed we want them to have an emotional reaction. To ‘feel’ the warmth, community and connection of her brand. Colour is a great way to do this.  But it needs to be the right colour.


Using the colour chart I would suggest that Addis uses the following colours in her branding: 

Pink: For it’s feelings of compassion, nurturing and warmth. 

Orange: For it’s feelings of abundance, comfort and happiness

Brown: For the feeling of practicality, honesty and balance. 


You with me still? Because here’s where it gets fun. 

The pink that Addis uses for her brand is totally different to the pink that I would use for my business. See, as the research by Angela Wright of Colour Affects proves that it’s the combination and tones of colours that make the greatest impact. This is where the archetypes come into their real strength. You can see by the example below that the pink and orange for the Addis’ Hero brand is very different from that of my Creator brand or the other two. So, to reinforce the values and message of Addis Coffee, those warm, muted and rich colours of a traditionally Autumn palette are where it’s at. 


Strengthen the visual impact. 

So far we’ve looked at the values of the brand, and how they impact the archetype it falls under. Then, we matched the values with the colours and tones that best support that message. But, the magic doesn’t end here. 

Addis runs a cafe. So, photos of coffee are a staple component of the feed. BUT, not all photos of coffee are created the same. 

I have grabbed four photos from the stock library Unsplash. All are of coffee, but each of these images sends a very different vibe. What I specifically want you to look at are the props and textures in each image. 


The Hero brand has a sense of warmth that is created by the layers of knit, the model hugging the cup, the editing is soft and the colours muted. Compare it to the ‘Creator’ image. Bright colours. A much simpler layout. An element of quirkiness and fun. It’s coffee. But it’s not a picture that screams ‘connection, community and warmth’. 

As a Hero brand, Addis would want to ensure that any of her imagery has rich and tactile elements, such as natural woods, knits or other cosy textures, handmade items and items that are chunky, natural and strong. 

When you combine these design elements, with the colours chosen intentionally because of their emotive meanings, you have an image that gives your viewer so much information. 

Can you see how this all pulls together? 

More importantly, can you see how it can make creating your images so much easier? Once you have identified your archetype and settled on the best colours to share your message, then the rest is a checklist. 

To make it easy to see, I have even created some ‘collections’ on Unsplash if you want to take a look. They are folders of free stock images that are aligned to each of the brand archetypes. There is even a set for Addis Coffee. (psst. Feel free to use these collections as a basis for starting your own). 

Wrapping it up. 

Why don’t you give it a try and see if using these archetypes works for you. Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Be real clear on the values and the message that you are trying to send to your audience. If you are a personal brand, these values and characteristics are about YOU. 
  2. Identify which archetype best suits your set of values and characteristics.
  3. Align your values with the colour family that sends the right message, then refine according to your archetype. 
  4. Find or create images that include the aesthetics and the props and backgrounds that support your type. 

If you want some help in doing this you’ve got a couple of choices. I am available to plan one-on-one coaching sessions to take you through the process. Or, you could check out The Rainbow Way, my group program, which will take you step by step through this process as part of the broader personal brand deep dive. 

Let me know how you go!

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