Updated: Oct 20
"Mirror, mirror in my hand,
What gift is best to build my brand?"
| the power to identify brand culture
BY JOSHUA PAXTON
You don't need a mystic to find the right gift. Identifying the shared values of your audience makes gift giving easier than you think. Unlock your ability to align brand cultures with meaningful branded merchandise.
Gift giving in the workplace is stressful. Identifying the needs and wants of an audience, whether one person or an entire organization, can be daunting, filled with thankless responsibility. But it doesn’t have to be.
Ask yourself, what values best identify this organization?
An organized brand story will maintain communications consistent with mission, vision and value statements. These building blocks of #brandculture outline who you are, what you do and what’s important to you.
By maintaining a consistent messaging theme and tone, an organization can expect to attract like-minded people as employees and customers, who share common values and appreciation for what that company contributes to the world. Like characters in a story, #brand campaigns with similar voices can be recognized as belonging to a particular category, or #archetype.
GIFTING EDITION | November 2022
Click the image above and interact with this feature story in the November issue of marketingedge magazine. The online e-publication includes engaging galleries, web links and videos, immersing the reader in branding culture.
An archetype is a common theme connecting our imagination to existing understandings of certain traits, creating our perceptions of characters and situations.
Consider roles like the brave Hero, the wise Sage, or the entertaining clown or Jester. These characters perform a consistent purpose in a story, and across different tales often share similar voices and behaviours.
You probably have examples in mind as you read these titles, drawing from movies you’ve seen or books you’ve read. Those examples in your imagination are the connections between the archetype and your experiences.
There are 12 common archetypes that are often referenced in literature and professional development, like the book The Hero and The Outlaw, by Margaret Mark. This, or other similar references, will provide a more thorough understanding of the concepts of archetypes, and their application in brand building.
Our interest this Holiday Season is to review these 12 categories and provide creative insight to what #promotionalproducts, #apparel or premium, could be a best-fit for an organization identified with that archetype, based on the shared values of that brand culture.
Visionaries who create something of high importance, creator brands value disruption in the pursuit of imagination, authenticity and meaning. Think influencers, creative agencies and technology disruptors.
Creators high expectations to be surprised and impressed. Bold and brilliant decoration, with care taken in crafting a clever message, should resemble retail and fashion presentation. Drinkware, day bags and fashion-forward clothing come to mind for gifting. Fersten achieves your designer goals with a creative department that specializes in multimedia decoration on popular apparel styles.
Pure in intentions and morality, the innocent brand values simplicity and optimism, striving to add good to the world. Think of brands that promise happiness, and freedom.
Providing joy, making you feel safe and bringing out a smile are the goals for an innocent brand gift. Sweet treats like chocolates and cookies are an easy go-to gift that feed basic pleasures. For a longer lasting impression, Ariel Premiums and Promoplace Canada offer a plush and gel sensory experience called “Stress Buster™”. The different characters are desktop buddies, perfect for squishing and squeezing to help soothe, relax and entertain your innocent audience.
A wise councilor offering knowledge and mentorship, a sage brand values truth and knowledge. Presenting as a place or person where you can seek answers, think news outlets, podcast and talk shows, institutions for higher learning, and professional advisors.
We envision sage brands as protectors of the people. A fitting gift of wisdom would be an RFID protected wallet, preventing radio frequency identification from any of your contactless payment cards or devices. The Osprey Arcane™ Zip Wallet from Gemline offers even more value, with added pockets for more contents, and product quality backed by Osprey’s All Mighty Guarantee.
Desiring to go beyond boundaries and discover the unknown, explorer brands value freedom, promote active lifestyles and breaking limits. Consider adventure recreation, off-road vehicles, and travel services.
Aiding the journey in some way excites the explorer. Rugged backpacks and bags, camping accessories, multi-tools and binoculars are accessories of the explorer culture. This Salt Spring Cooler Bag from Stormtech Performance is designed for top performance to keep contents at temperature longer and stop leaks from dampening your adventure.
Living outside society’s demands, the outlaw is a rebellious brand culture challenging the norm with energy and innovation. Consider a company that prides itself on doing things different.
A product that does things a little differently is a great fit for an outlaw brand. The Rebel sublimated umbrella from Peerless closes upward, not down, pushing the water away from you rather than spraying it back towards you. Not only does this unique performance measure up to outlaw values, the underside dye-sublimation decoration lets you create whatever bright coloured sky scene or happy image you’d like to look at when the rain is coming down. What’s more rebellious than bright colours against a grey sky? Maybe socks and sandals.
A powerful character who understands the forces of the universe, with the wisdom of how to wield them, a magician brand values transformational experiences and a belief in miracles. Technology companies pursuing innovation, theme parks that transport us to new realities, and trades that help us master the natural world are examples of magician brands.
We love the idea of showcasing a magician brand’s transformational promise with a promotional gift that demonstrates change and mastery. The eco-efforts of Toronto-based Redwood Classics are a sustainability story, rescuing vintage wool sweaters destined for a landfill and repurposing the material to become part of a new winter solution. The Whistler Hat & Ariel Mittens set are a cozy creation to master the cold weather and make new what was old.
A leading character who faces challenge and finds the strength to overcome, a hero brand is bold, responsive and promises superior performance. Consider fitness equipment, trade tools, motorsports, athletics and competitions.
A hero gift will help you to do more, perform better, and rise to a new challenge. Premium athletic brands and technology solutions are popular gifts for hero brand cultures. You can be different with a vitality campaign and creative messaging designed with Le Tour de Spice. A spice like Aji Panca – known to improve energy levels - fits with the promise of boosting performance, and can be used in marinades for beef, pork, and chicken.
Representing passion, heart and raw emotion, the lover brand wields desire, affection and intimacy to promise lifestyle, experience and belonging. Valuing beauty and pleasure, this archetype is identified with jewelry designers, fragrances, and real estate.
A lover brand culture demands a gift of classic beauty, with high perceived value.
Packaging should be deep, rich colours with welcoming texture. St Regis Group offers a unique custom gift opportunity with the BYOB decoration program. You "bring your own bottle" and they decorate your custom design. We fell in love with their deep etch decoration, a technique that will long outlast the contents. The satin lined gift box further elevates the presentation. This is a gift communicating membership and value.
Recognized for their comedy and satire, while sometimes providing wisdom jester brands make light of their products and services, choosing to engage their audience in fun, entertaining messaging. to express their value of pleasure.
Have fun with your gift is the best advice for a jester brand. The ‘Playoff Pants’ created by Skip the Dishes are ridiculous but effective, making satire of common dining experience. Martini-Vispak is a Canadian custom apparel and accessory specialist that can manufacture all kinds of unique creations, like these adult-sized onesies and custom throw pillows.
Call them blue collar or average Joe, the everyperson is easy to relate to, values hardwork and integrity, and connects with common experiences like groceries, home maintenance and transportation.
Practical application and quality are where to start for the everyman culture. Create gifts that can become part of their daily life. A premium insulated tumbler with a spill proof lid is a handy companion, with simple, subtle brand decoration. If you want to get top of mind, try a comfortable, well-performing ballcap or toque. DML Creation delivers favourite styles from CapAmerica, including this top selling vintage wash cap.
Those who make sacrifices for the good of others, caregiver brands are most often compassionate, quiet and sensitive. Think hospitals, medicines, and childcare centres.
Imagine a gift of warmth and comfort. A higher value premium from a caregiver brand might include a plush towel, blanket or bathrobe, packaged in a keepsake box. For a more economical budget, consider a mug drop, delivering flavoured tea or specialty hot chocolate, with a tasty treat. NC Custom can deliver all of that and more! A caregiver gift should always include a personalized card.
In control of others, a ruler brand is polished, authoritative and often leads their industry. Elite brands in finance, education, resorts and transportation are examples of rulers.
A ruler's promotional gift must represent the same elite care and quality as all other aspects of the organization. Attention to detail in decoration and packaging must be taken to ensure that experience expectations are met. The Italian craftsmanship of Castelli notebook products ensures an artistic expression received as an extension of your ruler brand. Challenge their designers and revel at your personalized results, including tip-in pages to tell your story, and use of your brand's identifying traits in the decoration.
When you identify the values of an organization’s brand culture and their consistent tone and presentation, you can recognize the established archetype connection shared by their audience.
Now the opportunities for meaningful promotional gifts, merchandise and apparel become more apparent.
By focusing your target on the emotional drivers that attracted the audience to the brand, you are more likely to make a product selection and develop a gift solution that will resonate with your audience and generate the desired impact. mem
For more insight into archetypes and brand culture, check out the online article “What is Your Brand’s Cultural Archetype?”, written by Lindsay Pietroluongo, elegantthemes.com
- as featured in marketingedge magazine November 2022 - click to open e-magazine