Build your brand based on consumers’ traits

inside retail academyKristina Dryža is recognised as one of the world’s leading consumer trends experts and is a published author and keynote speaker. Her specialism is pattern recognition, rhythms, seasons, cycles and their impact on creativity, leadership and innovation.

Ahead of Inside Retail Academy’s Leadership Seminar: Inspiring People & Brands, Catherine van der Meulen chats to Kristina Dryža about inspiring leadership in retail.

Catherine van der Meulen: Can you explain the term Retail Team Archetypes?

Kristina Dryža: Archetypes are patterns of behaviour, like an imprint, that have an influence on us. As they’re expressions of universal experiences and emotions, those working in retail must speak to the deeper needs and symbols that these innate universal emotional patterns communicate.

Retail draws in a suite of creative types from the artist, to the pioneer, strategist, storyteller, caregiver and rebel, so brands must harness the energy of these patterns and direct them in a way that’s in alignment (rather than in opposition) to their future vision and the emotional needs of their audience.

Catherine van der Meulen: What are some of the key archetypal patterns and trends in customer service?


Kristina Dryža: The key is integrating a brand’s retail strategy with the subconscious needs of their customers. This means that it’s essential for brands to provide an emotional context and a sense of purpose within the retail exchange. This is where the creation of value is formed.

It’s crucial in a fragmented world for staff to understand the relevant archetypes to their customer – whether it’s the athlete, entrepreneur, seeker or visionary. Know their behaviour, characteristics, cultural influences, where they live (on/offline) and values they’re anchored around so you know how to engage them and can present to them an authentic platform for self-expression.

Catherine van der Meulen: What is one key insight to harness individuals archetypes to create alignment to the brands vision?

Kristina Dryža: Let’s look at one archetype in particular, the explorer. Those with this patterning find freedom via exploring and experimenting, have a desperate want to experience “more” – more authenticity, more engagement, more #nofilter experiences. They fear conforming and being trapped by the mundane and routine, and often have a restless energy around them.

The best way for an individual like this to align with a brand’s vision is having them influence the culture through non-linear horizon thinking, exposing them to constant change and encouraging them to make their own path rather than follow their peers. Place them in charge of temporary retail experiences, or have them questing after new cultural insights, and create for them a laboratory of experimentation, not a pen-pushing role. Allow them to build and tinker to engender a sense of adventurous fun, which can merge with the brand’s narrative.

Catherine van der Meulen: What is one key insight to engaging with different patterns and behaviour?

Kristina Dryža: Find the ritual in the behaviour. And contextualise it. Retail is less about selling and more about storytelling and storydoing. Archetypal and cultural cues are required in the retail environment – both on and offline – as atmosphere is everything; it speaks louder than words. Inviting a sense of discovery allows different patterns and behaviour to emerge, and the direct experience then becomes the incubator for change.

Catherine van der Meulen: When considering recruitment and retention – how does understanding archetypes play into this?

Kristina Dryža: The work environment is not just about satisfying physical needs, but emotional ones too. Rather than think recruitment and retention, instead act to create culture.

When employee values align with archetypal meaning, you have staff who are instinctual in their behaviour, so their actions flow and an unparalleled creativity and resourcefulness is unleashed.

Retail draws in a suite of creative types from the artist, to the pioneer, strategist, storyteller, caregiver and rebel. Learn how you can harness the energy of these patterns and direct them in a way that’s in alignment (rather than in opposition) to your brand’s future vision from Kristina Dryža at Inside Retail Academy’s Leadership Seminar: Inspiring People & Brands. 

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