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One of the most frequently met archetypes in our work is the Caregiver. It leads to characters and brands that can inspire trust and loyalty in the audience. There is a fascinating duality to this archetype typified by its capacity to care. Whenever those under its care are threatened, from the same warm core that holds its kindness, rises a relentless protector.

In this short report, we cover:


Caregiver brands

The Caregiver archetype resonates well with businesses that prioritize its nurturing and caring qualities. Healthcare and wellness industry brands looking to emphasize how they focus on the well-being and care of their patients or customers are easily linked to the Caregiver. We’ve also noticed brands that offer personal care products, like skincare, body care, or beauty products, naturally gravitate toward the Caregiver archetype.

With the Caregiver archetype closely associated with the nurturing and guidance of children, brands in childcare, and education also take to this archetype. Agriculture is another industry that fits seamlessly with the Caregiver archetype. Organizations focused on social services, environmental protection, humanitarian aid, or non-profit initiatives also embody the Caregiver archetype often enough. These brands can emphasize their commitment to making a positive impact on nature, individuals or communities, promoting compassion, and addressing social and environmental needs. Businesses in the pet care industry or those dedicated to animal welfare can embody this archetype for their brands by focusing on the safety, health, and happiness of animals as well. We’ve encountered the Caregiver archetype most often through the hospitality and service industry. Brands in hotels, resorts, restaurants, or travel experience-oriented businesses can emphasize how they take care of their guests creating safe, welcoming and comforting experiences; it’s a perfect fit. This doesn’t mean that a motorcycle manufacturer, for example, cannot be a Caregiver brand. It all boils down to what the business values and aims to bring into this world.

If caring for this world is how you approach your mission, there is a Caregiver in your brand. We use a Brand Articulation Framework to figure this out.


When we work with Caregiver brands, we help them emulate the archetype through what they really do out there as a business—real stories of how the business is affecting communities or places, how processes and raw materials are handled with care, and how a place is loved and cared for.


The Caregiver in stories

A caregiver brand would focus on telling stories that highlight its nurturing qualities. Themes like healing and growth are natural arcs for the Caregiver. Wherever it’s available, we try to draw out stories where businesses contribute to bettering and developing an individual, like a staff member or a sponsored talent, or their community at large. Stories of discovering one's own inner resilience and becoming a strength to others, or inspiring others to lean on their own are also great story narratives for Caregiver brands, showing how they walk their talk in a very authentic sense. Caregiver brands can also focus on stories that involve mentorship and guidance, imparting wisdom, knowledge, and lessons to others; these stories help them establish themselves as pastoral figures who play an active role in consumers’ personal and collective growth. A story theme that we always stress on Caregiver brands to incorporate are those demonstrating how they preserve, contribute or grow; without these stories that evidence the real work of the Caregiver, businesses may come across as disingenuous. We encourage and help our Caregiver clients to tell these stories authentically, sharing the outcomes of their work. In our experience, such stories reinforce Caregiver brands.

Like all archetypes, the Caregiver also has its shadow which is controlling, suffocating and hovering over, preventing the independent development of those under its care. In brand storytelling, we don’t usually bring in these negative aspects of archetypes for obvious reasons; but in our creative work for the Public Works monthly stories subscription, we sometimes delve into the shadow and different Caregiver perspectives like this story of a young woman finding comfort in a place.


If your business takes pride in how its consumers are well taken care of, how its work changes the world for the better or how it builds a place where others can find refuge, the Caregiver resonates with your story. To find out how to tell the story of your Caregiver brand to build a deeper connection with your audience, get in touch with us.


Understanding the archetype

The archetypes we use to model brand personas are from the works of Carl Jung—the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst known as the father of analytical psychology for his work on the collective unconscious and individuation. The Caregiver archetype is one of the first archetypes described by Jung. The Caregiver archetype represents the nurturing and caring parental aspect of the human psyche. It embodies the qualities of compassion, kindness, selflessness, and a desire to support and care for others and alleviate their suffering.

According to Jung, archetypes are universal, primordial patterns or images that are inherent in the collective unconscious of all humans. They are innate and play a significant role in shaping our thoughts, behaviours, and interactions with the world. Archetypes manifest in various forms, such as myths, symbols, and recurring patterns in human experiences.

The Caregiver archetype is seen in characters in popular culture, through different works of art and fiction, religion and as brands of businesses built on providing service, care or help to people. As humans whose first experience of the world was shaped through our parents, grandparents or other carers whose nurturing and mentorship shaped us, many respond to the Caregiver archetype with a sense of nostalgia, affection and trust, making it very effective for brands that want to establish deep connections with their audience.


Is the Caregiver a gendered archetype?

We don’t think so.


The Caregiver archetype can manifest as masculine, feminine, or non-binary, as it represents a fundamental aspect of human nature that extends beyond gender roles. It’s often associated with the maternal figure who provides comfort, support, and protection. However, the Caregiver archetype also has a paternal aspect that offers guidance, relief and strength. We considered Carl Jung's views on the Mother and Father symbols to get a glimpse into what the Caregiver archetype means to the human mind in its full breadth.

"The mother archetype corresponds to a power that is intimately related to life, that lays down the laws of our whole psychic structure, that seems to determine the course of our lives in advance, and that seems to prepare the way for our future ahead of time."

"The father archetype is responsible for the process of consciousness, for the overcoming of inertia and unconsciousness."

—Carl Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

In classical Jungian terms, the mother symbol is characterized by nurturing, containing, and generative qualities of motherhood—like nourishing, warmth, comfort, fertility and growth. Parallely, the father symbol is a more active and assertive principle dominated by intellect and will, shaping and guiding the mind. We found the mother symbolism connecting the idea of a supreme protector and nourisher, source of life and growth to the Caregiver archetype, while the father adds the strengthening, guiding, and pastoral functions. We think that by understanding the traditionally feminine and masculine parent symbolism and their consolidation, the Caregiver is an archetype that can easily lend itself to masculine, feminine or non-binary personas.


This balance is particularly interesting to understand how the Caregiver archetype is not limited to biological caregiving but also exists as teachers, spaces, growers, healers, guardians, and community figures. To find out how to tell the story of your Caregiver brand to build a deeper connection with your audience, get in touch with us.


Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Forgive me world for all my little jokes, and I'll forgive you for this great, big one. This statement based on a line from the work of Robert Frost sums up the spirit of the Humorist. The light-hearted wisdom and the infectious joy of the Humorist make it one of the most popular archetypes loved by all.

In this short report, we cover:

Understanding the Humorist

Humour as an aesthetic quality

Humorists will tell you that everything is perspective. In their shape-shifting genius for using the moment, Humorists can flip even the most terrifying truths into angles so absurd that you take them in effortlessly, often while laughing. Infectious and beloved, Humorists bring joy to the downhearted, colour this world fun, and puncture rigidity with unabashed playfulness. They simplify and lighten things up, changing perspectives with remarkable dexterity, cunning, and cleverness.

The Humorist is the personality archetype that builds connections through fun, laughter and joy. Humorists can be both chaotic and helpful, blurring the lines between good and bad; in fact, boundary-crossing is very much in their comfort zone. The Humorist operates within a spectrum going from cheerful, joyous, funny, mischievous and irreverent, to downright obnoxious. 

Although known as the fool, the jester, the trickster, clown, prankster, and through many other names, we call this archetype ‘the Humorist’ to avoid biases. The Humorist is at the base of brands and characters that build connections through laughter, joy, and play. Humorists can break down walls between people even in the most tense situations. It’s one of the most universal archetypes, appearing in stories, fairytales, folklore, and fables belonging to all cultures in the world. Famous examples include Loki from Norse mythology, Krishna from Hindu stories, Kitsunē from the far east, coyote from indigenous American culture and the jackal from South Asian folklore.

“He [the Humorist] is a forerunner of the saviour, and, like him, God, man, and animal at once. He is both subhuman and superhuman, a bestial and divine being, whose chief and most alarming characteristic is his unconsciousness… He is so unconscious of himself that his body is not a unity, and his two hands fight each other.” — Carl Jung, C.W. Vol. 9.1: On The Psychology of the Trickster Figure

We discovered the Humorist archetype from the twelve human personality archetypes derived from the works of Carl Jung. Jung's theory of archetypes is a concept from his analytical psychology that suggests that there are universal, innate, and symbolic patterns or themes in the collective unconscious of humanity. These archetypes are fundamental elements that shape human experiences, behaviors, and emotions, and they often appear in myths, dreams, and cultural narratives. When it comes to branding, Jung's theory of archetypes can be applied to create consistent brand identities that connect with audiences at an emotional level; they’re particularly useful to build storytelling frameworks. We help businesses that want to connect with their audience through a sense of humor, laughter and good cheer to incorporate the Humorist archetype into their stories.

The core of the Humorist

The Humorist is the personality archetype characterized by fun. It also has traits such as cleverness, mischievousness, unpredictability, and a tendency to challenge what’s considered sensible and civil. They often use humor, wit, and cunning to outsmart others and navigate difficult situations. 

In society, Humorists also hold an important revelatory function. Consider the universal role of the court jester—a cultural figure who, both in the East and the Wester, had the sacred and dangerous role of voicing to the monarch what others could not. Humorists have a knack for playing between what is and what ought to be and subverting established interpretations. 

Humorist identities build strong associations with humor, play, fun, and happiness. When it comes to brand storytelling, these associations become important considerations to decide how a brand may want to connect with their audience.

For all our superior intelligence, reason, science and logical methodology, there comes a point where those bridges no longer continue; where the unexplored viewpoints lie beyond our sensibilities. This is the domain of the Humorist.

Humorist brand stories

Stories for Humorist brands can, obviously, be funny. Making their audiences chuckle, these stories carry the infectious energy of Humorists, making them highly shareable and engaging. But, those are not the only kind of stories that are appropriate for Humorist brands. This archetype is known for its ability to be in the moment, keep their minds free of worries and stay light. Stories that capture this mindset suit Humorist brands really well, and are particularly useful for businesses that may want to maintain a degree of seriousness; the wisdom of the Humorist, of being mindful and in the moment,  can help lift audience moods and establish a meaningful connection. Stories that channel happiness and induce simple joy are also typical of Humorist brands.

We think the type of humor appropriate for a brand should weigh on several factors; like its values and the other key brand archetypes. For example, a brand with a Humorist-Sage archetype pairing may lend to stories that bring in wit and language manipulation with clever wordplay, puns, and linguistic twists that highlight the intellect, sharp thinking and tact. 

A Humorist-Rebel archetype pairing in a brand will do well with stories that bring in satire and social commentary that basically adds fuel to the fire with both archetypes’ tendency to criticize and mock societal norms, behaviors, and authority in general; these kinds of stories can even take more serious tones despite the humor, if they are designed to provoke thought and encourage change. The Humorist-Creator archetype pairings effortlessly lead to stories that highlight both archetypes’ ingenuity; sarcasm and irony that reveal the disparity between the words spoken and the intended meaning. Absurd, surreal, bizarre or nonsensical situations challenging conventional logic and reality are true to the Humorist-Magician pairing, building whimsical joy and wonder in the audience. Remember, these are not hard-and-fast rules, but patterns and norms we’ve observed in our experience with brand identities and stories; each brand needs to be considered in its own right and context.

In our work, we’ve had to apply the Humorist archetype to completely different brands from furniture retailers to restaurants, and yoga gurus to artists. We’ve found that the Humorist archetype lends to brand identities that are quirky and fun, as well as those that come across as wise or joyous. 

Humor as an aesthetic quality; the hāsyam rasa

We have to make a special note about brands without a Humorist archetype adopting a sense of humor in its stories. As part of the universal human spectrum of emotions, humor is accessible to all types of personas. However, it needs careful consideration and we recommend all brands consider their values and key traits of the identity before they jump on the next trend of funny videos. If you’re bringing humor in as a tactic to build engagement with your story, we find it's particularly important to consider the audience's preferences and cultural context. This will help you decide what kind of humor your story should incorporate. For example, making fun of yourself lends to creating a quirky and endearing connection with the audience, while finding humor in the mundane aspects of life usually adds to building shared experiences and relatability. 

Consider your brand carefully before incorporating humor into your stories. Wondering whether your brand’s humor should be dark or induce amusement through the second-hand embarrassment of cringe? Start by asking why you want to use humour in the first place. If the answer is for engagement or that funny trend that seems to get more views, make decisions considering your audience and their culture. If the answer is that you think your brand may actually be a Humorist and humour should become a dominant aspect of your storytelling, it’s probably time to unpack this with a Brand Articulation Framework.

Humor is a great connector and a leveller. This definitely makes it a fantastic way to link with your audience. For brands, being funny is worth consideration in all seriousness.

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Humor is serious stuff. It exposes hypocrisy, punctures egos, and reduces rigid prejudices into laughable ideas. Humor is cathartic when it brings us to laugh at ourselves; within the safety of a joke, we’re able to address shame, fears, and pain that would otherwise haunt us.

I thought a lot about the relationship between humans and humor when, recently, the local standup comedian Nathasha Edissooriya got arrested for making a joke involving religious characters. In a country where freedom of expression is openly obstructed, media routinely censored, activists harassed, and journalists imprisoned, Nathasha’s arrest shouldn’t have surprised anyone. But, the incident dominated the public psyche for weeks, and freedom of expression became a topic fiercely debated all over local media and social circles. Why, though? Why did arresting a comedian trigger so much shock? Why does harming a humorist almost always create shockwaves?

I find humans reserve a sacred space for humor—whether consciously or not. People holding humor in a sacred sense can be seen in cultural and historical contexts from rituals, comedic or trickster deities, sacred texts, and taboos, to healing practices. The jester could get away for joking about uncomfortable truths to the king or queen where others would get executed for it. We laugh at comedians' banter about race, sex, religion, and politics—the very same topics that get family and friends at each other's throats within minutes. Even in Nathasha’s case, I think what shocked most of us was that it publicly penalized the comedic act that society had long maintained as relatively free of judgment.

Humor builds relatability into stories. In our experience, humor brings more engagement to stories and makes them more shareable. The feel-good happiness of humor is naturally contagious, and we find people tend to mimic this practice even online, with stories carrying humorous aspects being the most widely consumed and shared.

When it comes to commercial storytelling, we carefully weigh out a brand’s identity before we consider a humorous story. Humor is certainly a significant part of identity. Inside jokes in close-knit groups and senses of humor that are very specific to cultures and communities show just how intrinsic humor is to identity. But, it’s not for everyone.

I recently saw a think tank highly respected for being insightful, accurate and informative publishing a series of off-brand Tik-Toks and Reels. The stories were obviously tagging onto a trend of funny dancing. But, it was damaging to the brand. I watched their user interaction long enough to notice that this reduced engagement. As part of their audience, I was well aware that the great quality of the think tank’s insights and information hasn’t changed in any way; but, I found myself trusting them a little less. It was an emotional response in spite of my better judgment to not gauge an entity only by their social media presence. I see this happen to brands that simply appropriate humor without interpreting their message to naturally bring out humor from it. If that think tank used wit in a way that highlighted their intellect, for example, it would’ve been perfectly on-brand while still being funny.

A client brand with a fun sense of humor is ApiHappi—the Sri Lankan bean bag makers. When we do commissioned stories for them, I work closely with their founders to bring in the brand’s characteristic sense of humor between sass and sarcasm (I have to mention that being good friends with them lends an unfair advantage here). But, channeling the Humorist isn’t just about being funny; two other Humorist brands we worked with reflect this archetype very differently, through their inherent sense of joy: Arlene Dubo Studio—a Canada-based artist whose vivid works and approach to life both reflect a joyful sense of play and Shanti Faiia—yogi, meditation guru and healer from the UK, whose work involves cultivating happiness and lightness.

At the heart of humour, no matter how dark or sardonic, is a glow of joy. Humour discards the hopelessness of life with a joyful outlook. This sense of joy at the root of humour is infectious. It's also essential. We need humour to survive this absurd world. To find out if humor is a strong part of your brand identity through a Humorist archetype, or a viewpoint adopted when appropriate as hāsyam rasa, drop us a message. Our storytelling tools are designed to help people tell stories that strengthen their brands. Curious about how our Brand Articulation Framework can help your personal or business brand? You can read more about it here.


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