Creating a Brand using Archetypes

Create a consistent brand using archetypes


IIn this podcast we interview David Chapin, CEO, of Forma Life Sciences. We discuss the concept of archetypes in marketing, which are the subject of David’s new book Making the Complex Compelling: Creating High-Performance Marketing in the Life Sciences. Learn how to create a singular character that gives your company a persona all of its own – one your customers and employees can relate to and want to get behind.

Alan and Clare are joined by pharma marketing expert Daria Blackwell for our interview with David Chapin of Forma Life Sciences.  Prior to opening our interview with David, the crew introduce David’s book Making the Complex Compelling: Creating High-Performance Marketing in the Life Sciences. Daria comments that the book helps readers from the field take the same perspective as their audience. The book explains what’s involved in developing messages, positioning, branding and architypes. Once we meet David, he quickly tells us that nowadays many people have influence over individual brands. Brand owners must constantly monitor the media and try to maintain as much control as the internet allows.

Found this podcast really useful to help our company all project the same company message. Click To Tweet

Brand Police are no longer adequate protection (internally or externally)

Individuals, their companies and their products are all under scrutiny. Business people need to be proactive in the face of threats and opportunities brought about by social media. Brand Police are no longer adequate protection (internally or externally). David argues that companies can use archetypes to deputise employees to carry a coherent message. They are useful in helping organisations control what they say and how they say it.

David gives an example of an early client who continues to use the ‘Spartan’ archetype that he applied many years ago. This archetype personifies a company that is focused, disciplined and highly trained.  Another example David gives is the detective archetype. In any given situation, employees can ask themselves “What would a detective do?” Listeners can imagine he would be plucky, inquisitorial and would always persevere.

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We ask about the disconnect that exists within some companies between the scientists and engineers, and the marketing people. David says that scientific training is really powerful. It teaches practitioners to comprehend, describe and predict the world around them. Unfortunately, a focus on both detail and completeness is not how people buy. Rather, consumers are drawn to a more compelling big picture.  David tells us that science invented content marketing. This involves giving away thought leadership for free in order to get an enhanced reputation. The earliest example of content marketing is peer reviewed publishing, which is 300 years old.

David shares some tips and tricks to help would-be archetype users arrive at an appropriate choice for them. His aim is to extract the archetype that staff gravitate towards by synthesising how they see their company, its products and services, and the culture it represents. Normally David finds there is either no agreement between colleagues or a general tendency that leans in a different direction to management.

“it is really hard to write a mission statement that employees can translate into basic day-to-day actions or intermediate goals”

David says it is really hard to write a mission statement that employees can translate into basic day-to-day actions or intermediate goals. Archetypes bridge this gap. It is critical that archetypes are consistent. Companies shouldn’t have different positions. Instead they should have similar messages regardless of the audience. For start-ups however, messages shift as companies develop. Investor and eventual customers will want to hear different things. Still, messages should not shift every day or after every conversation.

Later in the interview David points to research carried out by Google. They found that buyers go two thirds of the way through the buying cycle before reaching out to a sales person. At this point they have closed in on their target and set their priorities. Consequently sales people have very little scope to affect their purchase. Companies need to target customers earlier in the buying cycle through publicly available messaging. The buying cycle requires trust and trust requires consistency.

In general archetypes control what companies say and the tone of their output. David says that it is important to make each archetype as consistent and coherent as possible. It is employees who will have to live in, and act out, this archetype. Best to make it straight forward. Finally David points out that Archetypes are particularly useful when there is not a lot of differentiation between companies. Being different gives businesses additional pricing power.

Daria Blackwell - The Knowledge ClinicDaria Blackwell joined us to interview David. Daria is founding partner and serves as CEO and Director of Knowledge Clinic, Ltd. Daria  focuses on the medical and healthcare aspects of the business, and contributes expertise to the general and marine marketing sectors.

In her prior roles as President of Bozell Global Healthcare, entrepreneur in her own consultancy, Director of Agile Therapeutics a start-up biotechnology company, and Managing Partner of Sudler & Hennessey, the largest medical marketing firm in the United States, Daria developed a leadership style and philosophy that won the appreciation of employees and the attention of the industry.

Books by David Chapin