Brand Spirit Animal Exercise – Walking the Druid’s Path


The brand spirit animal exercise is a favourite of mine. It’s not the most involved or cunning exercise, but it’s ALWAYS fun. It makes for a great early ice-breaker in the brand discovery process. In this article, I’ll break it down and explain why you should do it for your brand.


I like to call it ‘walking the druid’s path’ as it requires you to have one walk side-by-side with your inner animal and see the world through its eyes. If done well, you’ll better understand what your brand is good at and how to use that strength to your advantage.


And like a druid, taking animal form at will bestows advantages on your brand.


Your brand identity is more than logos and slogans – it’s creating a personality that sets you apart. Your spirit animal is a visual representation of your unique abilities.


What is a Brand Spirit Animal?


To discover brand spirit animal (and more importantly how it helps) it’s first useful to understand what spirit animals are.


The tradition has roots in various world cultures, including the Celts and the Native Americans. Each animal possesses unique traits and energies that the human spirit can draw upon in the form of guides or inspiration. 


Key to this, and how you can use it for your brand, is the idea of unique traits.


The primary aim of braiding is to communicate how your brand is unique. Everything from your values and purpose to your visual identity shows the audience how you are different from the competition.


So choosing a brand spirit animal becomes more than a fun exercise – it can help represent your brand’s unique position. A good spirit animal reflects your brand’s core, providing a simple shorthand for what its personality and values represent.


Here are a few examples of popular spirit animals to get you started:


  • Bear – Strength & Confidence
  • Eagle – Freedom & Vision
  • Owl – Wisdom & Intuition
  • Wolf – Intelligence & Community


As you can see from this short list, associating traits with animals makes it easier to describe your brand’s identity.


Choosing the Right Spirit Animal for Your Brand (The Exercise)


As shown above, a spirit animal can be used as shorthand for the most dominant aspects of the brand’s identity.


The process is pretty easy and works best with a group. Your management team is ideal, but if that’s difficult (or you’re a solopreneur), this can be done with other business owners or your coach.


Have everyone start writing down what animals they think represent the brand best. Think about the values and personality that the brand encapsulates. Have everyone write their answers on a Post-it note. If you want to go deeper, add two words describing the traits that make the animal stand out. For example, you might write ‘fox followed by ‘cunning & agile’.


Once everyone has written a couple down, put them all up where people can see them. You can then begin to read them out and narrow down your selection. Move the post-its around, grouping animals with similar or aligning traits.


After you’ve placed these, open a discussion and start voting for which animals you think reflect the brand best.


The aim of the exercise isn’t just to land on one animal you think perfectly encapsulates the brand’s identity. Beyond this, you can see where different animals carry similar traits and values – this can help you focus on where your brand’s personality is strongest. For example, one team member may say ‘wolf’ and another ‘owl’. Both share common traits (intelligence & wisdom). This could help you when looking at your brand’s archetype (in this instance the Sage).


Once you have a strong spirit animal, think about how to apply its strengths to your messaging. An owl and an eagle, while both birds have very different associated feelings. Your message should reflect the strength of your spirit animal.


Why this Works


That’s the how – but it’s also important to discuss why this works.


Firstly, it’s a fun exercise. This makes it easier to be more relaxed and allows you to be more creative with your ideas. This also stops you from thinking too logically. The shamanistic and druidic nature of the animal connection is highly spiritual and involves parking logic and focusing on personality.


This is why it’s such a powerful branding exercise early in the discovery process.


Having a brand spirit animal enhances the brand’s identity and focuses on what makes it unique – helping keep it memorable. 


It all comes down to creating an enhanced emotional connection with customers. And the simplest way to do this is to strip away complexity and use universally recognised symbols. Using the animal’s traits to describe your brand overcomes potential misunderstandings as people generally have a common perception of their traits.


Using these traits in your branding then becomes more simple. If your brand is as fierce as a lion, use bolder terms in your messaging! If it’s as elegant as a swan, create a brand identity based on minimalism for a classy feel.


You could even go so far as to incorporate the animal into the brand’s visuals. This has the benefit of becoming universal – animals tend to show meaning that transcends language. Think of Jaguar and their big cat logo. It creates an image of power and drive.

Or the Swarovski swan creating a feeling of elegance and beauty.


Both examples give a distinct feeling for the brand’s essence. This works especially well in logo design, which is all about being identified, not showing what you do.




In summary, this simple exercise can have a huge impact on thinking strategically about a brand identity. Not only is it quick and fun, but it also promotes lateral thinking and looking beyond the corporate. It’s worth utilising as part of your brand strategy sessions.


Beyond this, it can also inspire your wider brand. It can lead to an interesting name for your brand, a unique strategy and even entire visual identities.


So figuring out your spirit animal isn’t just a nice icebreaker for your team meetings – it can significantly aid in getting clear on who you are and what you stand for.


And once you’re clear on your identity, it becomes easier to communicate it to your audience.


Want some help communing with your inner druid so you can find your spirit animal and gain clarity in your brand? Compass may be what you need – an hour-long session to give you the direction you want. Click below for more information.