These days it's all about branding, we're reliably told - and it seems that can extend even to the most intimate of friendships and groups.

Now, some clever sociologists working for Chivas Regal have had a look at male friendship groups and written a massive scary-looking report.

In a nutshell, they've come up with six categories, into which each and every chap can be slotted. You thought you were just a normal bloke? Think again. Thought you were an eccentric individual who broke the mould of mankind? Forget it. Apparently, you're one of the following (and I imagine there's a female equivalent to all of these, too).

So, with the aid of the laboratory, here are the categories and three helpful examples of each....

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  • The Rock

    In a word: solid. Stout of character, this dependable friend represents the true soul of the group. His values are old-school, his attitude is all-business, and his sense is common. Count on it. Eg Ben Affleck...

  • Colin Firth

  • Martin Freeman

  • The Hero

    To the rescue! Invigorated by simply being around his friends, this guy is never shy. He knows what he believes, and everyone around him does too. That's because he isn't afraid to say it. Eg. Tom Cruise...

  • Daniel Craig, or rather, James Bond

  • Matt Damon

  • THE COACH

    You're better off with him. You know how some people just know when to say something and exactly how to say it? He is that guy. He knows what you need to hear and he doesn't mind listening either. Eg. Carrie's life saver over and over again in Homeland, Saul, impeccably played (of course) by Mandy Patinkin

  • Simon Cowell - known for his acerbic put-downs, also noted by many friends for longtime loyalty and support

  • Malcolm Tucker (ok, on a good day) - who would you rather have your back?

  • THE WIT

    He'll be here all night, folks. You want jokes? This guy's got jokes. He comes to life in lively conversations. He can't help it. The center of attention just seems to find him. And he makes the most of it. EG: Chris O'Dowd

  • Robbie Wiliams

  • David Brent

    David Brent - the life and soul of ANY party

  • THE EXPLORER

    If it's new, he knows it. In a world of memes and hashtags, this natural cool hunter is on the bleeding edge of it all. He's heard that band and seen that video. Don't look now, but he's trending right toward you! EG: Brad Pitt..

  • Johnny Depp

  • Benedict Cumberbatch

  • THE PILOT

    #1 for takeoff. He may not admit it, but he's in charge. Knows everybody. And just as importantly, everybody knows him. But all that power doesn't go to his head. It goes to the good of the group. EG: George Clooney

  • Who would argue with Mr Bates? A shining example of quiet authority.

  • And if there were any doubt...

    President Obama.

Do you agree with the boffins? Let us know. And you can read the whole report here at www.chivasfriendshipreport.com