By Paul Sandy | June 18, 2015

If your brand is on a quest to become more human, it’s fundamentally important to determine how it should talk, behave and act. To get to the heart of who you are and find your human side, start by taking a cue from popular culture.

With its sprawling cast of characters, no story today includes such a dynamic range of people, personalities and behaviors as Game of Thrones. Comparing your own brand to the archetypes of the characters on HBO’s popular series is more than just a way to kill 15 minutes between meetings. It can also be a shortcut to striking the right personality and tone of voice with your brand.

Examine the following 12 character profiles, which are loosely based on Junginan archetypes established about a century ago. Ask yourself questions, like:

  • Which character is my brand most like?
  • What about my competitors?
  • What archetype is underrepresented in my category?
  • With which character would my customers most relate?



Tyrion Lannister — “The Funnyman”

Whether it’s raising a goblet of Dornish wine or visiting the local brothel, Tyrion is always up for a good time. Quick of wit and mind and never one to take himself too seriously, Tyrion plays the Game as well as anyone. Not because he seeks power but because it’s fun.

Best virtue: joy

Brands like this: Old Spice and Dos Equis


Daenerys Targaryen — “The Humanitarian”

Dragons or not, Khaleesi has a clear view of right vs. wrong. Ser Jorah Mormont points out that she has a gentle heart (even though she may deny it). As evidenced by Daenerys’ decisions to free the unsullied and outlaw fighting pits, she recognizes that all people have dignity and worth.

Best virtue: empathy

Brands like this: Dove, Southwest and Benetton


Jaime Lannister — “The Rebel”

Jaime does things his way, even if it means going against what’s generally accepted. He killed the king he swore to protect. Freed his brother who was sentenced to death. And he, ahem, impregnated his sister

Best virtue: disruption

Brands like this: Virgin Atlantic and Dollar Shave Club


Petyr Baelish — “The Visionary”

Littlefinger is relentless in his quest to topple a system that no longer works. He was born the son of a minor lord, yet has climbed in stature to Master of Coin and ruler of the Vale. You don’t make that kind of ascent without a grand vision and masterful planning.

Best virtue: imagination

Brands like this: Amazon and GE


Catelyn Stark — “The Caregiver”

All Lady Stark ever wanted was to keep her family protected. Catelyn’s benevolence ran so deep that she even offered to sacrifice herself for her eldest son at the Red Wedding.

Best virtue: compassion

Brands like this: TOMS, The Red Cross, and Prius


Melisandre — “The Enchantress”

Sure Melisandre is a religious fanatic but it’s not the Lord of Light that gives the Red Priestess power over mortal men. It’s her bod. She has used her sensuality to seduce practically everyone who has a drop of royal blood in them.

Best virtue: passion

Brands like this: Axe and Victoria’s Secret


Arya Stark — “The Adventurer”

Arya has never been one for conformity. Unwilling to get trapped in the life of a highborn princess, she has the audacity to be different. Arya seeks fulfillment through new experiences and pursuing what’s viewed as off-limits

Best virtue: autonomy

Brands like this: Tesla and Apple (circa 2007)


Sansa Stark — “The Innocent”

At the outset of GoT, Sansa has a romanticized and simplistic worldview—which resembles the idyllic stories and songs of her childhood. She is extremely trusting and sees the good in all people.

Best virtue: optimism

Brands like this: Coca-Cola and Disney


Tywin Lannister — “The Ruler”

Many have claimed to be the true ruler of the seven kingdoms. Ironically, it’s one of the characters who didn’t who has perhaps exerted the most power, influence and ambition. Tywin is a natural leader who commands the respect of his people and his enemies

Best virtue: leadership

Brands like this: Microsoft and Mercedes


Jon Snow — “The Hero”

Above all, characters like Jon (and Brienne of Tarth) are motivated by a sense of duty. Time and again, Jon compelled to prove his worth through bravery, strength, performance and overcoming challenging circumstances. For example, scouting beyond the wall.

Best virtue: courage

Brands like this: Nike and BMW


Varys — “The Intellectual”

Also known as the Spider and Master of Whisperers, Varys commands a network of informants across two continents. He uses the intelligence and knowledge he gathers to better understand the world—and achieve what he feels is best for the realm.

Best virtue: wisdom

Brands like this: Google and The Economist


Samwell Tarley — “The Common Man”

Sam is an ordinary person. So ordinary that his father told him he wasn’t worthy of his house and commanded him to renounce his name. Despite his self-acknowledged flaws and shortcomings, Sam is a down-to-earth friend who simply desires to connect with others.

Best virtue: modesty

Brands like this: Jetblue and Chipotle

Admittedly, these profiles oversimplify the complex characters in George RR Martin’s story. The point is by exploring these personalities and aligning one with your brand, you can gain some insights that can help you shape your brand.

Which character is closest to your brand? Or is it someone not on the list, perhaps Stannis, Cersei or (gasp) Joffrey?

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