The Citizen

From the forthcoming book, Mass Behaving: Unlocking the Secrets of Shifting Behaviors with Archetypes. Learn more here. 

The third archetype within the Belonging quadrant comes with a sense of “we’re all in this together.” The Citizen, oftentimes called The Everyman or The Everyperson, celebrates the differences and idiosyncrasies of everyone. The come-as-you-are attitude makes it a warm, inclusive archetype that attracts many walks of life. 

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Motivations

The Citizen archetype is propelled by a fundamental desire for a simple, harmonious life. Their motivations are deeply rooted in the pursuit of contentment, stability, and a sense of belonging. Citizens seek to navigate the challenges and complexities of everyday existence with grace and authenticity, finding meaning in the ordinary and emphasizing the shared human experience.

Examples

Forrest Gump: The character Forrest Gump, as portrayed by Tom Hanks, is a quintessential Citizen. His motivation is to live a good, honest life and forge meaningful connections with others. He succeeds despite the many adversities he faces, embodying the notion that anyone can make a positive impact.

Oprah: This media maven has built an empire on her outgoing, supportive nature, which celebrates all people. Her open-arms approach to telling stories and entertaining the masses has built her brand brick by metaphorical brick. From television to periodicals, movies, and more, Oprah’s iconic and warm-hearted personality has permeated the lives of people across the globe.

Jim Halpert: Jim Halpert, a character from the TV series The Office, represents the modern Citizen. His motivation is to navigate the quirks and challenges of his workplace while maintaining a sense of humor and integrity. He resonates with viewers as a relatable figure in an often absurd corporate world.

Brand Examples

Zoom: Virtual meetings skyrocketed during the pandemic, and Zoom became synonymous with them, thus realizing category leadership. The brand is built for connection: connecting teams, facilitating collaboration, and bringing people together is inherently in their brand DNA. Indeed, their Purpose is to “deliver limitless human connection”—one of the hallmarks of a Citizen brand.

Home Depot: Hardware stores seem pretty cut and dry, but Home Depot paved the way for another angle. Do-it-yourself homeowners comprise a large market beyond the standard general contractor community. Home Depot’s motto, “How Doers Get More Done,” is a call to action and symbol of empowerment for that community, who are constantly fixing up their homes.

Southwest Airlines: As a challenger airline brand, Southwest had to find a path to standing out beyond being the least expensive airline. Rather than refining an elevated brand to compete with the world’s most renowned, Southwest took the opposite direction. They became a brand of the people. Their Purpose statement,  “To connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel,” is exemplary of the Citizen brand in action.

Strengths

Relatability: Citizen brands are relatable to a wide audience because they embody the qualities and experiences of everyday people. This relatability allows them to connect deeply with others.

Resilience: They often exhibit resilience in the face of adversity. Citizen brands demonstrate the ability to persevere through life’s challenges, inspiring others with their determination.

Empathy: Citizen brands tend to be empathetic and understanding. Their relatability enables them to empathize with the struggles of others, making them excellent friends and confidants.

Authenticity: Citizen brands are often authentic and genuine, embracing their flaws and imperfections. This authenticity fosters trust and sincerity in their relationships.

Community Builders: Citizen brands often contribute positively to their communities and families. They prioritize the well-being of their loved ones and work towards creating a sense of unity and belonging.

Challenges

Passivity: The Citizen brand may sometimes struggle with passivity or a lack of assertiveness, which can hinder them from pursuing personal goals or standing up for themselves when needed.

Conformity: Their desire for a simple life and fear of conflict can lead to conformity and a tendency to follow the crowd, even when it may not be in their best interest.

Fear of Change: Citizen brands may be averse to change, clinging to familiarity and routine. This can limit their personal growth and opportunities for new experiences.

Self-Doubt: They may battle with self-doubt and a lack of self-esteem, questioning their ability to make significant changes or take risks.

Underestimation: Others may underestimate Citizen brands, perceiving them as unremarkable or unambitious. This underestimation can lead to missed opportunities or unfulfilled potential.

In summary, the Citizen archetype embodies the essence of ordinary people navigating the complexities of everyday life. Their strengths include relatability, resilience, empathy, authenticity, and community-building skills. Nevertheless, they may face challenges related to passivity, conformity, fear of change, self-doubt, and underestimation. Citizens remind us of the beauty and significance of the simple, authentic human experience.

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