Might archetypes in branding be universal after all? Adapting a Western Construct of psychologically based Jungian brand archetypes to assess the distinctiveness of Beijing and Shanghai as city brands.

CW Whitfield

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This work is part of a research series looking to re-evaluate the role of Jungian archetypes in branding as a route to enhance international appeal of products and services at a time of rising nativist ethno-centrism and a concomitant reduced belief in international free trade principles as a route to economic betterment. That is to focus on the unique but universal aspects of the spirit of a place rather than nationalistic or totemic symbols that are more divisive. This work is an original contribution to brand identity in both FMCG and the emerging field of City / place branding in that it unifies, in both theory and practice, what we may intuitively suspect. Namely, that it is people and their perceived character, as seen as coming from a place, that connects psychologically with others via a branded product or service. Archetype use in brand development has been subject to significant peer-review analysis and this new research offers novelinsights to researchers and practitioners alike on how they may present their city brands to the world. In extending a sophisticated, peer reviewed archetype testing instrument based on narrative material to Beijing, this also brings what are seen as primarily Western models of analysis, to Eastern cultural models. Even in framing this study, interesting themes have emerged such as the relativeabsence of some archetypes such as “Jester” in the Chinese frame of reference e.g. a Shakespearean fool telling to truth to power or the “jester” its role in political satire. The Innocent, or seeing the world in a quasi Eden state is also of limited application. At the Institute of Place Management Symposium (MMU) in April 2018, some pilot research work was presented on the theoretical question as to whether character of origin, rather than country of origin per se, was a more compelling explanation for successful export brands. This pilotresearch covered 7 beer brands from 6 countries, a category noted for its reliance on brand strength as a critical factor for success. The results showed a positive alignment of archetypes between both country / region of origin and the brands in question. This dual analysis was based on the application of the SDADAM testing instrument, Storytelling-Case Archetype Decoding & Assignment Manual, published by Arch Woodside and Suresh Sood in 2016 and applied to a range of available marketing material, blogs and customer commentary. A research programme is now in place to add more depth to the original analysis specifically to better understand place branding through a collboartion between Prof. Chunying Wen (Communications University of China) and Caroline Whitfield (SRUC)Stage 1: Beijing City brand: Application of both the SCADAM instrument to material within several focus groups as well as a 500+ quantitative survey of both visitors and residents of Beijing Stage 2: Shanghai city brand – the same methodology is being applied for research in Shanghai in Q1 2019 and this will be contrasted with Beijing to understand the common vs different results acrosstwo very different Chinese cities. This will also develop the conceptual modelThis innovative approach gives another level of potential depth to city and place branding as a marketing construct and may add other avenues for both research and practitioner development.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPrint publication - 31 May 2019
Event6th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places - Mon Repos Hotel, Corfu, Greece, Corfu, Greece
Duration: 6 May 20199 May 2019


Conference6th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places
Internet address


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