Brand archetypes: So you’re a Sage?

Have you ever felt so connected to a brand that you know if something is out of character or not for them to do? Well, it might just be that their branding aligns perfectly with a brand archetype.

What are brand archetypes?

Have you ever felt so connected to a brand that you know if something is out of character or not for them to do? Well, it might just be that their branding aligns perfectly with a brand archetype.

What are brand archetypes?

Brand archetypes, in the way we use them today, comes from the archetypes created by the German psychoanalyst Carl Jung. The concept of archetypes describes how, through history, society has been telling stories about a set number of characters with similar traits and motives. In branding, archetypes are a way of guiding brands in their communication, products, and services to fit either of the 12 brand archetypes; The Sage, The Lover, The Innocent, The Explorer, The Ruler, The Creator, The Caregiver, The Magician, The Hero, The Outlaw, The Jester, and The Regular Person. By aligning oneself to either of these archetypes, customers might come to feel like they know your brand and connect with you, particularly if they align themselves with the same archetype. If you are interested in going deeper into the psychology behind brand archetypes, I highly recommend the book The hero and the outlaw: Building extraordinary brands through the power of archetypes by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson.

Brand Archetypes Wheel Infographic
Image by Just Creative

What are the Sage brand traits?

The Sage archetype is an easily recognizable character in many stories. Dumbledore from Harry Potter, Yoda from Star Wars, Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, and The Ancient one from Dr. Strange are all standard examples of the wise Sage archetype. Sages are made up of the following components:

  • Knowledge
  • Confidence
  • Wisdom
  • Expertise
  • Curiosity
  • A teacher
  • An investigator

Sages value truth and knowledge and strive to gain self-actualization through gaining knowledge. Brands who align themselves with the Sage Archetype strive to be seen as experts and advisors in their fields by providing updated products with quality that can be trusted. In their marketing, they are less likely to “dumb down” their communication and want to keep their customers on their toes by challenging them and making them think. However, too much emphasis on knowledge and truth might lead to a brand seeming cold and elitist to some customers. In which case, the Sage brand will have to evaluate if those customers are truly the target audience of their business or if they are really ‘too much of a Sage’ for their audience.

… the Sage tells us happiness is the result of education.

Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson

How to market yourself to a Sage customer:

Just as brands can align themselves to archetypes, segmenting customers into customer archetypes might be helpful for some businesses.

A Sage customer, according to Mark and Pearson, values knowledge and learning. However, not every Sage customer will be interested in learning everything about everything. It is important to research which topics your Sage customers are actually interested in learning. An example is Universities; they will have Sage customers within new students determining if the university is up to their standards, but they will also have students applying for different reasons. Another example will be customers of a skincare company; some customers might choose a specific company based on their ingredients if they are Sage customers who value high quality and research-based ingredient lists.

Sage customers are also more likely to be a lead for a longer time than other customers as they follow rationality and facts through the entire buyer’s journey, meaning sales and urgency might not work as effectively as other archetypes. What makes a Sage customer buy is to feel like an expert in control of a quality purchase.

Conclusion

Looking to brand and customer archetypes might be a helpful stepping stone to realizing your true brand personality. However, I do advise you to avoid using archetypes as complete templates for your brand and marketing, as every Sage brand would then be like the next one. But if you might find some value and guidance in realizing where your brand fits in and for whom, which is an essential step for any branding process.

Do you look to archetypes when branding yourself, your business or segmenting customers? Let me know what your thoughts are on brand archetypes.

If you liked this article I would love it if you would hit the follow button to get notified when the next brand archetypes are covered! Remember to like, share, and comment if you learned something new or have other insights into using brand archetypes for branding.

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Published by Elise Olsen

Media and research devotee turned marketing enthusiast! I strive to give small business owners and bloggers all the research-based content needed to optimise your online marketing and social media strategy for growth!

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