Fast-forward 201 years and you no longer have to understand those archaic symbols from the collective unconscious; be Swiss; or even be in therapy to leverage the wisdom of Jung’s twelve archetypes (Caregiver, Creator, Destroyer, Fool, Innocent, Lover, Magician, Orphan, Ruler, Sage, Seeker and Warrior) to help you develop and refine your brand’s voice.
Whether you’re fashioning your startup’s tone of voice, fine tuning the personality of a product launch, or rewriting the story you’ve been telling so that it’s truer to your mission and values: that’s what this site is all about.
Amí Naeily built the original Brand Voice Quiz at howtobrandyou.com and did a magical job of bringing it to a place where all it needed was someone to take on the challenge of giving it some more story-telling TLC.
That’s where my HTBY journey started.
My name is Andrew Mackay, and even after 20+ years of copywriting and marketing for brands all over the world and two cups of Canadiano coffee every morning (A Canadiano is like an Americano but made apologetically with more love — it’s a branding thing.), I’ve always felt like I largely sucked at marketing myself as a marketer. In mid-2020 I went hunting for something more tangible to talk about.
I did a lot of creeping and digging at IndieMaker and Product Hunt and slogged through the researching and interviewing of a couple of side gigs for sale: a content editing tool and a user feedback and review plugin. Neither of them felt like the right home for the kinds of stories I like to write.
I’d had a few kicks at the can helping one of my best friends, an archetype counsellor in Adelaide, Australia (and native Bluenoser like me), with the marketing of his self-published book, The Big Picture, and his website, garrygilfoy.com, so when the day came that How to Brand You popped up on my screen — a struggling quiz site that bundled archetypes, branding, emojis and a light, fun and engaging tone of voice into a questionnaire that takes minutes to complete — it was love at third site. All it needed was a Caregiver who was Fool enough to want to flesh out the copy and pump up the volume on its marketing.
There are a few books that I’ll go to almost any carry-on-luggage length to bring with me on my geographicals: ‘A Fortunate Life’ by A.B. Facey, ‘Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life’ by Anne Lamott, ‘The Story Grid’ by Shawn Coyne, and, ‘A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living’ by himself.
In their own ways they all follow the thread of the Hero’s Journey and the archetypal identities that we wear throughout our own life/business/passion/adventure. Writing and directing the content and creative direction for this website means I get to play in that sandbox full-time (so long as I can make this thing profitable).
The trouble with archetypes is not unlike the trouble with tribbles that the crew of the USS Enterprise had on December 29, 1967 (approximately Stardate 4523.2).
Tribbles are asexual and born pregnant. (If Tribble was an archetype it might be described as lifelong abject boredom peppered with periodic pain — Ed.) Spock calculated that each tribble could give birth to 10 offspring every 12 hours.
I’m no mathematician but if you start with 12 archetypes, choose a handful of them to describe each of your brand’s ethics, employees, passion and purpose, you end up with a formula not unlike the one designed by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester to calculate the time it would take for the U.S.S. Enterprise to fill completely with tribbles (4.5 Earth days is the answer).
The answer to ‘the time it takes to complete the Brand Voice Quiz here’ is about 10 Earth minutes: no tribbles harmed; no Klingons engaged. What more convincing do you need? Boldly go and start your own free Brand Voice Quiz.
… is to explore new ways to make your branding exercise more fluid, engaging and expedient, and to seek out new partnerships.
Even now, right out of the box, the Brand Voice Quiz at How to Brand You is an easy, free (for the basic report) first step to ball-park your brand identity or refine your brand’s voice (but not your band’s voice) — whether you’re a start-up, charity, sports or work team — and a way to define personality benchmarks that you can use in namestorming a new product, blog or podcast.
I have some pretty adventurous new partnerships and processes in the proverbial pipe that will give you the chance to see how the archetypal balance of your brand’s story ebbs and flows over time and ways to make the words you choose work harder for you.
There are subtle differences in languages that can make a dramatic difference in how we communicate (ask my Italian ex-girlfriend – madre mia!) so I’m shooting to have HTBY 2.0 become part AI — part human and translate the site into Spanish, French, German and Italian for starters. And I think Revenue Canada would have a tough time disallowing my expenses to test those implementations on location.
I’d like to build out the pricing model so that some new features — possibly colour suggestions, historical brand voice success and failure examples and more persona-purposed questions will add value to the process: my Notion app runneth over.
If you have a suggestion as to how your experience at howtobrandyou.com might have been better, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I answer all those emails myself, even the ones from ex-girlfriends.
— Andrew Mackay ( @archetypemac )
It would be super-cool if the questionnaire at howtobrandyou.com was smart enough to spit out a list of cover image ideas because I found it challenging to choose one that highlighted;
I ended up settling on the schooner, Bluenose because: as freaking cold as it’s been here in Halifax lately (-22°C one day last week), I’ll be damned if I could stay outside long enough for my nose to turn blue (the purported phenomenon behind the moniker); because it won a ship-load of races; became the motif on one side of Canada’s dime; because 2021 is the iconic schooner’s 100th anniversary; and because ten cents is about what I’ve made on this project so far.
1921 Public domain, Black & White photo of the schooner Bluenose under sail: MacAskill, Wallace R., 1893-1956, Library and Archives Canada (PA-030803), via Wikimedia Commons
The term Bluenoser was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in March of 2013.