In this article, Joseph Gelman and Michael Dunn discuss the “Brand Archetype” model, which helps determine the strategic direction for the brand positioning, by defining the space in which the brand should play.

The Brand Archetype model was inspired by the understanding that brand positioning is dictated by a company’s assets, business situation, and future strategy, as well as the “appetite” for category disruption.

The model has two axes:
Issues Addressed: This axis refers to the opportunities or issues that the brand wants to address with its positioning. These include “business issues” that are specific to the brand’s current situation, “category issues,” or situations that are typical to the category. Another, “changing the narrative,” means the positioning will address aspects that are not at the core of the current category thinking.

Message Focus: The second axis provides guidance on the messaging that the brand will want to pursue in its positioning. It might be around “established customer beliefs” that already exist in the category, or around “unclaimed, new territories” which are unexpected and in principle not commonly associated to the different brands in the category.

There are six archetypes that can be explored to help frame the options for positioning:

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