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Brand Archetypes

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A Brand Archetypes Quiz is a marketing tool designed to help businesses identify the underlying personality traits and values that define their brand.

The Caregiver
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Caregiver 
The Caregiver brand archetype can be summed up in two words: compassionate and self-sacrificing. Picture the empathetic nurse or the helpful concierge, and you will see how the Caregiver archetype is a personality fit for brands that aim to nurture or serve others, from healthcare to nonprofits, to hospitality industries.

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

PROMISE: Treat your neighbor as yourself.
CORE DESIRE: To protect people from harm
GOAL: To help others
FEAR: Selfishness and ingratitude
STRATEGY: Do things for others
GIFT: Compassion and generosity
MOTIVATION: Stability and control
All About the Caregiver

The Caregiver derives meaning from helping others. This brand archetype is moved by compassion and generosity and strives to make people feel nurtured and secure. 

For the Caregiver, the worst fears are 1) neglecting loved ones and 2) instability, due to the impact it will have on the less fortunate.

The Caregiver archetype is often associated with the maternal and paternal instincts parents have in protecting their children, to the point of self-sacrifice. They give of themselves to make sure others are cared for.

This archetype is seen in teachers, nurses, and at the organizational level, churches, insurance agencies, and hotels. 

Well-known examples of the Caregiver archetype are Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Habitat for Humanity, Campbell’s, and The Salvation Army.

The Caregiver in Action

To see the Caregiver around you, look no further than the healthcare, insurance, and financial planning industries, as well as nonprofit or charitable organizations. 

Less obvious may be brands that have to do with maintenance or fixing broken things — activities such as cleaning, mending clothes, gardening, or general upkeep all call on the Caregiver’s tendency to nurture.

Companies that do these things on a large scale can tap into the Caregiver archetype quite successfully. Auto brands that emphasize the safety of their vehicles may also project the Caregiver mentality effectively. No parent would ever consider an unsafe car for his teenager, after all!

The marketing strategies of Caregiver brands will revolve heavily around providing helpful experiences and nurturing relationships. 

Marketing will often appeal to sentimentality, happy memories, the comforts of home and family, and feelings of safety and security. Visuals or multimedia may pull on soft color palettes, family imagery, and touching music.

Internally, a Caregiver organization will foster a relational culture that is typically highly structured or bureaucratic (in order to ensure an atmosphere of stability). 

Caregiver companies tend to treat their employees well; although, if the culture is not healthy, there is the risk of employee burnout due to the level of sacrifice expected from them.

The well-functioning Caretaker organization treats both its employees and customers with a high level of service, aiming to anticipate needs in advance and going above and beyond to accommodate them. In fact, exemplary customer service is a hallmark of a Caregiver brand. They just do nice things for others.

The Different Levels of the Caregiver Archetype
Each of the 12 archetypes exists in levels. The lower levels are less advanced while higher levels are more evolved.

Level 1 of the Caregiver brand archetype includes caring for one’s dependents.
Level 2 involves finding a balance between caring for oneself along with caring for others.
Level 3 speaks to an altruistic concern for the world at large.

All in the Family

The Caregiver archetype can be viewed from a few different angles, depending on which specific attributes are at play. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks it down into a family of sub-archetypes (including the primary Caregiver archetype) for a total of five.


The Caregiver is good, compassionate, and empathetic, with a sacrificial concern for others. This sub-archetype remains calm in a crisis and remains optimistic. The challenge it faces is an inability to say no, always wanting to help even when it is detrimental to the self.


A defender of others, the Guardian is fiercely protective. Providing nurturing guidance and loving oversight, the Guardian tends to keep to traditions and values. The main challenge of the Guardian is the potential to be overbearing or misuse their power.


The Samaritan is selfless and kind in their quest to love thy neighbor as thyself. This sub-archetype demonstrates compassionate action. It finds meaning in relieving others’ suffering. However, the Samaritan may face the challenge of self-martyrdom, if not careful.


Strong in sensitivity, the Healer acts as a conduit to wholeness by creating optimal conditions for healing to happen naturally. 

With healthy doses of optimism and empathy, this sub-archetype remains full of faith, while remaining perceptive to others’ emotions. Unfortunately, the Healer can succumb to ego if holding too tightly to the idea of having the only right answer.


The Angel sub-archetype exudes purity and humility. With infinite compassion, the Angel brings joy and laughter while providing aid and comfort.

As the name implies, the Angel can help guide others to change their lives for the better — including facilitating spiritual connection and miracles. For the Angel, the challenge lies in having an unrealistic outlook — ignoring anything negative to focus only on the positive.

Real-world Example of the Caregiver Brand:
The highest level of the Caregiver archetype is the altruist, focusing on serving the needs of the world at large. At this level, the Salvation Army serves as a fitting example of the Caregiver archetype.

For years, The Salvation Army has been ranked among the most trusted nonprofit organizations in America. With a tagline of “Doing the Best”, they have strongly branded themselves while providing social services to those in need for over a century.

They post their brand strategy online, which includes their Brand Personality: “Passionate. Compassionate. Brave. Uplifting. Trustworthy.” and their Brand Positioning: “To those who want to positively affect their world, The Salvation Army is the charity that maximizes contributions.”

Whenever you hear the sound of a ringing bell during Christmastime, there’s a good chance one of The Salvation Army’s red kettles is nearby to collect shoppers’ loose change. 

The red kettle is an integral part of The Salvation Army brand. One of their seasonal marketing pushes is “Red Kettle Reason” which is a campaign run during the holiday season to encourage giving to their organization.

Celebrity personality Nick Cannon is highlighted in a commercial from their 2015 campaign, in which he recounts his own childhood experience of being helped by The Salvation Army while espousing the shared values of faith and the responsibility of caring for others.

Not as recent, but still relevant is a commercial for a local Salvation Army Store, with a compelling call for you to help in their mission by donating what you can.

The global reach of The Salvation Army cannot be denied, as we see in this promo video a call for ministry participants during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil to help with programs that will assist children and the poor.

Do you notice in all of these videos that children appear somewhere? 

With this, the brand manages to speak to the most primitive instinct we all have, to protect and care for our kids, level 1 of the archetype, even while communicating on higher levels about helping society at large.

The Salvation Army as Hero?

With the Salvation Army also providing disaster relief and humanitarian aid, you’d be forgiven for thinking the brand could be a Hero archetype (as is another organization that occupies a similar space, the Red Cross). 

Indeed, these two archetypes are similar in that they help others in need, and The Salvation Army may feel heroic to those who are on the receiving end of their help.

However, the motivations of the Caregiver and the Hero are different. The Caregiver is driven by the desire to meet the needs of others, a social motivation. The Hero is driven by the need to prove worth through courageous action, a self-driven motivation.

The Christian foundation of faith and sacrifice is possibly what ties The Salvation Army and the Caregiver together so strongly.

The Caregiver's motto to “love your neighbor as yourself” is decidedly Christian, coming straight from the Bible, and aligns with The Salvation Army’s stated goal to “support everyone in need in His name without discrimination.” 

While the Red Cross and The Salvation Army occupy much the same space and provide similar services, it is their demonstrated brand positioning, culture, and values that set them apart from each other.

The Caregiver Consumer 

Caregiver consumers are constantly trying to achieve balance in caring for others (kids, aging parents, and the world at large) versus themselves, so brands that can speak to this struggle will resonate with those individuals. 

Following, the Caregiver consumer also likes to be recognized occasionally for their service, as it is a task that is often unappreciated or goes under the radar.

The Caregiver consumer isn’t easily fooled by everything it hears; it looks for brands that show they care instead of those that say they do. For brands looking to target the Caregiver consumer, it is imperative that the brands show authentic action — walk the walk.

Is Your Brand a Caregiver?

Ask yourself: Do you place a high value on serving or protecting others? Is your goal to help people care for other people, pets, society, or the world at large with sacrificial devotion? 

If you answered yes, it is very likely your brand is a Caregiver. To have the biggest impact, you should do all you can to communicate these values clearly and consistently, including in your marketing.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

The Caregiver brand archetype will do everything to serve people with the most generous of intentions. They are naturally altruistic with the most compassionate of goals. They aim to protect people from harm and make them feel safe, even if it means sacrificing themselves.

The Creator
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Creator

Seemingly oxymoronic by nature, the Creator archetype desires freedom while at the same time deeply motivated by control. 

Hanging in this delicate balance, we find visionary and innovative brands that value imagination and self-expression, particularly in the fields of the arts, design, marketing, and technology.

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

PROMISE: Trust the creative process. Express yourself.
CORE DESIRE: To create something of enduring value
GOAL: To give form to a vision
FEAR: Having a mediocre vision or execution
STRATEGY: Develop artistic/technical skill
GIFT: Creativity and imagination
MOTIVATION: Stability and control

All About the Creator 

The Creator archetype contributes to society and provides structure to the world by bringing something into being — by realizing a vision. The Creator gets deep satisfaction from both the process and the outcome of creating something that did not previously exist. 

This archetype trusts in the creative process above all else and lives for authentic self-expression. The inventor, artist, writer, and entrepreneur are representative of the Creator archetype.

Inherently non-conformist and sometimes self-involved, this archetype desires freedom of expression and doesn’t like to feel stifled. 

At the core for the Creator is this reality: the act of structuring something into tangible form is an outlet — a way to exert control in an otherwise uncontrollable world.

The Creator Brand in Action
The Creator archetype is a natural fit for many marketing, design, and technology brands. But any brand that dismantles old systems or processes and creates something new in its place would be expressing the Creator archetype. 

Organizational consultants fit this bill quite nicely. Brands that focus on self-expression of any sort exemplify the Creator archetype. You may recognize the Creator in brands such as Crayola, Good Housekeeping magazine, Sony, YouTube, and Pinterest.

The marketing of Creator brands is often extremely aesthetic and may seem to be works of art in and of themselves. For product-centric brands, the marketing may actually, in word or image, compare their products to high-end artwork in order to evoke equivalent expressions of appreciation and awe.

The internal culture of a Creator brand is focused on innovation and quality. High value is placed on both the creative process and the outcome.

​The organizational structure of a Creator brand, whether loose or ordered, is always collaborative. Teamwork and brainstorming sessions are critical, yet must still allow employees autonomy and the freedom to create.

For a Creator brand’s offerings, pricing may be mid to high, however, the bottom line is often focused on beauty or enduring value just as much as money.

The Creator Consumer

Trying to appeal to a Creator target market? Know that the Creator consumer is intolerant of cheap, mass-produced junk. This makes sense because Creator consumers demonstrate their taste and quality standards through the things they buy. 

In other words, they buy expensive items not to impress others, but to express how much they love beautiful and high-quality things. Purchases, like anything else for the Creator consumer, are a means of self-expression.

While upscale products with beautiful designs will win the appreciation of Creator consumers, this does not mean Creators are snobs that only purchase high-ticket items. On the contrary, you may find Creator consumers at flea markets looking for the latest bargain to turn into their next project. 

The Creator consumer is a ‘do-er’ and this manifests itself in many ways — gardening, woodworking, sewing, or decorating the house, for example. DIY projects and beautifying their surroundings are activities the Creator consumer is drawn to.

If marketing to a Creator archetype, know that the Creator can be awakened in many of us —particularly in turbulent times. 

This instinct speaks to the need to control our world by creating our own environment. The more out-of-control the world feels, the more people crave the outlet of creating and self-expression. It becomes a form of healing and stability.

The Different Levels of the Creator Archetype

Each archetype has levels. The lower levels are less advanced, while higher levels are more evolved or developed.

Level 1: At its most basic, the Creator archetype is expressed by the act of creating, but not truly innovating. At level 1, “creativity” happens by simply imitating others.
Level 2: Once able to move past imitation, and start to give form to one’s own vision, the archetype begins to express authenticity. The process is deeper and more introspective, coming from within instead of looking at what is already out there.
Level 3: At its highest level, the Creator archetype fosters true innovation and beauty, and creates something enduring that is able to influence society.

All in the Family

There are different aspects of the Creator archetype that can emerge, based on the strength of various attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks down the Creator into sub-archetypes (including the primary Creator) for a total of five to round out the family. The thread that runs through this family is one of imagination and realizing the intangible.


A passionate need for self-expression is the defining characteristic of the Creator. While highly imaginative with non-linear thought patterns, the Creator might be whimsical but should not be mistaken for flighty. 

On the contrary, you will find a Creator to be highly dedicated and achievement-oriented, with a highly developed aesthetic. Not surprisingly, perfectionism can cripple the Creator, along with fears of judgment and mediocrity.


The Visionary, insightful and perceptive, is often a very good strategist. Bringing an enlightened perspective along with a great imagination, this sub-archetype is able to see the potential for the greater good that others may not realize. 

However, the Visionary must avoid the temptation to shift the vision to control the outcome or to please other people.


When imagination is combined with the gift of communicating, the Storyteller sub-archetype emerges. The Storyteller thrives on dramatic expression and is capable of bringing to life ideas and concepts that allow people to connect to something on a deeper level. 

Naturally, the temptation to tell tall tales is a challenge for the Storyteller. Exaggeration or misinformation for the purpose of a good story or to manipulate an outcome must be kept in check.


The Artist sub-archetype channels the intangible into a tangible form. With a deep psychological need to express himself, the Artist is often very emotional and deeply inspired. 

This sub-archetype, with an inborn curiosity and playfulness, will bring an unorthodox perspective that challenges the norm. 

The challenges facing the Artist are a fear of failure or taking on too much. It should also be careful not to fall into the stereotypes of the starving artist or mad genius.


Often displaying traits of a Type A personality, the Entrepreneur is achievement-oriented and ambitious. Led by a vision, this innovative self-starter is strong at generating ideas and thrives on turning dreams into reality. 

Unfortunately, the Entrepreneur may have a difficult time following through once the adrenaline wears off.
Real-World Example of the Creator Brand: Adobe

Adobe Systems Incorporated is a prime example of a Creator brand. With core values of being genuine, exceptional, innovative, and involved, Adobe’s corporate responsibility revolves around the belief that creativity is the catalyst for positive change.

Internally, Adobe epitomizes a Creator brand.

From their internal innovation process (which they’ve packaged up as “innovation-in-a-box” and made available to the public) to abolishing the employee performance review in order to foster a less competitive, more creative atmosphere, they live out their values every day.

Adobe is probably best known to the general public for their software Photoshop, the image editing software whose very name has become synonymous with manipulating photos. 

As the industry standard for creative digital work, Adobe brings out the Creator in all of us, at various levels.

Tutorials abound for using Adobe’s software, like “How to Create a Pencil Drawing From a Photo In Photoshop” on their YouTube channel. Remember in Level 1, the archetype is expressed by imitating others.

By watching Adobe’s tutorial, you can do exactly what the pros do, and gain satisfaction from creating, even if you aren’t exactly innovating.

Adobe’s video series “Get Inspired by…” looks at the work of creatives and how they use Adobe products to realize their visions. With beautiful aesthetic and production, the videos themselves are works of art. 

While these videos will appeal to Level 1 of the archetype who hope to be able to emulate the process; they actually speak to all levels of the Creator archetype. Imagination and inspiration are key for a Creator at every stage of development, and Adobe is keenly aware of this.

Adobe and FEED Foundation, an organization whose mission is to end world hunger, came together in a 7-day challenge to design FEED’s 2015 holiday campaign. 

Operating on Level 3 of the archetype, Adobe is partnering to create something of true value to impact society. 

Part of Adobe’s statement announcing the challenge recognizes this: “As design plays an increasingly important role in business, we’re seeing a new breed of entrepreneurs emerge: those who put design at the heart of their product and business strategy and couple it with a desire to profoundly impact the world at large.”

Adobe + FEED. 6 Creatives. 7 Days 1 Campaign

Is Your Brand a Creator?

You don’t have to be in art or design to be a Creator brand. Look past the obvious creative fields and ask yourself – do you value beauty and quality? Do you offer consumers ways to re-create or re-imagine something? 

If your product or service allows others to express themselves, encourages DIY projects, or helps foster innovation, your brand may be a Creator archetype.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more

If you're a brand that always sees an opportunity in all things, or a brand that transforms the mundane into something special, then you could be the Creator. The archetypes in branding need the Creator to craft products that stand the test of time. The main traits of the Creator are innovative and creative.

The Everyman
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Everyman

It seems one of the highest compliments bestowed upon a celebrity is that the superstar “is so down to earth!” The comfort and appeal of knowing that something or someone who is larger than life is actually “just one of us” is the pull of the Everyman archetype, and brands that are relatable in this way will go a long way in capturing the hearts of their consumers.

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

PROMISE: Everyone is created equal
CORE DESIRE: Connection with others
GOAL: To Belong
FEAR: Being seen as elitist, not being welcomed
STRATEGY: Develop common virtues; blend in
GIFT: Empathy and Authenticity

All About the Everyman

As modeled by the Regular Joe or the Girl Next Door, the Everyman archetype is wholesome and genuine – which makes it irresistibly likable! The Everyman tends to demonstrate the underlying American ideals of hard work and honesty and embraces common sense values and authenticity. 

The Everyman feels no need for pretense. It doesn’t desire luxury or measure itself by status symbols — as demonstrated by a high-powered executive who comes to work in jeans and sneakers, for example.

Everyman wants to fit in and be part of a group. Its motivation is to belong and be accepted. While this generally means a surface-level embracing of all people, it also manifests into a joining of cliques, social clubs, and memberships, to be around like-minded peers.

The Everyman brand archetype is easily seen in mom-and-pop stores, local diners, and community events that have a down-home culture, genuine and caring. TV shows like Friends, Seinfeld, and Cheers celebrate the simple joys of every day and being surrounded by people who know and accept you.

Personalities like country singer Blake Shelton win us over with homespun charm and good-natured humor. Brands like Wrangler Jeans, Wendy’s, Discover, and Budweiser are heavily dependent on the Everyman archetype. 

And even many who disagree with Barack Obama’s policies will admit that he himself is a relatable and likable guy. That’s the Everyman at work.

The Everyman Brand in Action
Everyman brands tend to have or portray a family culture, welcoming and inviting. Their products or services may have mass appeal or be applicable to a broad audience and are generally meeting a basic need, nothing fancy or extravagant.

The marketing of an Everyman brand often speaks in a colloquial voice and uses wholesome imagery. There are no outlandish claims, nothing designed to get shock value. Money-back guarantees and other trust-building elements are common. Everyman brands will find that social media is a great outlet for them, and smart brands will use it to become even more relatable, transparent, and helpful to their customers.

The organizational structure of an Everyman brand downplays hierarchy. Decisions are made democratically or by consensus. Working in teams is common. There is a strong sense of pride in the work that is done, and the atmosphere is comfortable and casual.

The Different Levels of the Everyman Archetype
Each of the 12 different archetypes has levels. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.

Level 1: The Everyman archetype is expressed through seeking any sort of affiliation, typically spurred by feelings of loneliness.

Level 2: One learns how to connect (form and nurture relationships) and fit in.

Level 3: The dignity afforded to each person, regardless of differences, is realized and practiced.

All in the Family

There are different aspects of the Everyman archetype that can emerge, based on the strength of various attributes. The book Awakening the Hero Within includes the Everyman as one of five related sub-archetypes.

Everyman What you see is what you get. Without pretense, the Everyman is sincere, helpful, and genuine. Wanting to belong and get along with others, this sub-archetype treats everyone with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, in an effort to not ruffle feathers, the Everyman may succumb to a herd mentality and lose its own identity.

Citizen The Citizen holds a deep responsibility to the community, believing there to be great value in the collective whole. With high integrity, the Citizen works for fairness and equality. The challenge for the Citizens is not to be overly zealous in their sense of righteousness.

Advocate The Advocate is compelled to work for the greater good on behalf of others. With passion and energy, this sub-archetype is able to motivate and inspire others to action while uniting people behind a cause. The Advocate should be careful, however, to not let personal gain overtake the greater good.

​Servant The Servant is committed to helping others, whether in a subservient role or as a leader. With empathy, awareness, and commitment, the humble Servant asks for no reward for serving others. This can, however, become a weakness, leading to burnout or a desire for recognition.

​Networker The Networker creates communities and connections for the benefit of the whole. With an outgoing nature, the Networker is a social butterfly, friendly and relatable. The challenge this sub-archetype may face is the temptation to manipulate connections for personal gain.

Real-world Examples of the Everyman Brand


The Desire consumers have to be heard and understood is a frustration that many large corporate brands don’t address well. Discover’s well-known “We treat you like you’d treat you” campaign shows that this is a brand that cares about the experience of its customers and is as relatable and responsive as you would be to yourself.


What brings people together better than a nice cold beer? Whether making new friends or relaxing with old buddies, there’s nothing pretentious about a Bud. Who doesn’t remember the classic “Whassup” Budweiser commercials? The original showcased the entertaining camaraderie shared amongst a bunch of guys — and inspired countless remakes that make this campaign one everyone can relate to.


If a nice comfortable pair of blue jeans isn’t Everyman, what is? Wrangler pulls very heavily on Midwest cowboy culture, marketing to those who put in days of hard sweaty work.

Along with their “Ultimate Cowgirl Next Door” contest, the brand epitomizes the Everyman principles of genuine, authentic, normal people who demonstrate American values.

Moe’s Southwest Grill

If you’ve ever walked into a Moe’s Southwest Grill, you’ll be greeted with a hearty and heartfelt “Welcome to Moe’s!” Every. single. time. It’s part of their laid-back and inviting atmosphere. Their brand video states: “We’re not fake, stodgy, or corporate. We’re open, honest, and down-to-earth. A place where friends, family, and coworkers check their worries at the door.” They have intentionally created a culture that feels very much like Everyman, where you’re free to be yourself, surrounded by friends.

The Everyman Consumer
Everyman consumers are neighborly, offering help when needed. They are respectful of others even when they don’t know (or particularly like!) them very much. They are reliable and believe in the merits of a hard day’s work. Usually frugal, they appreciate the simple things in life. They are humble and tend to root for the underdog.

Brands that want to attract Everyman consumers should focus on the experiences they provide to them. A brand that is approachable, responsive, and friendly will go a long way in reaching these consumers. Innovation, while always important, is less of an issue for Everyman consumers. With a quality product in tow, brands should go back to basics and focus on giving Everyman consumers the assurance of trustworthiness, reliability, and openness.

Is Your Brand an Everyman?

Does your brand help people fit in or feel comfortable being themselves? Do you promote down-home “old-fashioned” values? Are your products/services something used in common everyday life? If so, you may be an Everyman brand.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

The Everyman is a Regular Guy or Gal who doesn’t get entrapped in luxury. This type would prefer simple things instead of things embezzled with gold or diamonds. They would go for Honda instead of Mercedes-Benz or Maybelline instead of MAC.

The Explorer
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Explorer
​Finding oneself — self-realization through discovery — is the ultimate goal of the Explorer. In our Western culture, the Explorer archetype is an undercurrent running through all of society. Brands that spring forth from this current are those that speak to the need for freedom, adventure, and independence.

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

PROMISE: Forge your own path.
CORE DESIRE: The freedom of discovery: of oneself and the world
GOAL: To experience a fulfilling and authentic life
FEAR: Inner emptiness or feeling trapped
STRATEGY: Seek out new things
GIFT: Ambition
MOTIVATION: Independence and fulfillment
​All About the Explorer

The Explorer archetype stems from a need to be individualistic and have purpose or meaning. This archetype strives to answer the questions “What am I here for? What is my purpose?” by exploring and learning from the world around it. 

Adventure is a means of enlightenment, and the Explorer is focused on self-discovery and self-sufficiency.

Tending to be critical of the establishment, the Explorer desires to be free from constraints. But instead of challenging the establishment (as a Hero or Outlaw might), the Explorer simply goes off in a different direction, seeking a new path. Ultimately, all it desires is the freedom and joy of discovery.

This archetype can be seen in brands such as NASA, National Geographic, The Body Shop, and Jeep.

The Explorer in Action
Out of all 12 archetypes, the Explorer is one that is less obviously tied to a particular industry or category. The Explorer archetype can very legitimately be expressed in cosmetics and fashion just as well as it can in a rugged outdoorsy brand.

Explorer brands are often ground-breaking or pioneering. Any brand, in any industry, that veers off the beaten path and forges its own, is tapping into Explorer tendencies. Nonconformity is one of the hallmarks of an Explorer brand.

The organizational culture of a brand may also define it as an Explorer. A culture that values individuality and de-emphasizes rules are typical for Explorer brands, giving employees the leeway to reach goals however they see fit. 

The organizational structure of an Explorer brand is decentralized and democratic and tends towards virtual workers and tools as opposed to having employees boxed in a cubicle.

The Different Levels of the Explorer Archetype
Every archetype can be expressed at varying levels. The lower levels are less mature, while higher levels are more developed.

Level 1 of the Explorer is very straightforward, expressed by exploring the world and getting out into nature.

Level 2 is expressed when the exploration turns inward into discovering what makes oneself unique. It is the process of seeking one’s own individuality.

Level 3 is reached when the journey has led to one’s own Promised Land, a place of knowing who you are, with the freedom to be completely true to who one is and express that uniqueness fully.

All in the Family

There are different facets of the Explorer that can surface, based on what attributes are strongest. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks the archetype down into sub-archetypes for a total of five (including the primary Explorer) to round out the family.


Independent and brave, the Explorer is motivated to experience new things. Pushing boundaries and taking risks are commonplace. The challenges that can arise throughout this quest are the tendency to become alienated or wander aimlessly without true progress.


The Adventurer is daring and spontaneous, with a “no fear” attitude. This sub-archetype is recognized by its taste for danger and thrill — the rush of adrenaline is its lifeline. This addiction to adrenaline, however, could make it tough for the Adventurer to find happiness in the more mundane aspects of life.


The Pioneer is known for being the first to break ground. Innovative and driven, this sub-archetype blazes new paths. In Pioneer’s quest for discovery, one should be careful to avoid burnout or dissatisfaction with being less than #1.


The Generalist believes that the entire world is open for experience and therefore is stimulated to explore many divergent areas. The Generalist has a great diversity of talents and knowledge, and this broad understanding may earn him the label of a Renaissance man. The challenge? Overstating or misrepresenting its level of knowledge.


The Seeker continuously strives to grow and learn. Tireless and ambitious, the Seeker leaves no stone unturned in its path to find meaning. Finding joy in discovering rather than relationships, the Seeker is constantly on the go, which, unfortunately, can lead to loneliness and alienation.

​Real-World Examples of Explorer Brands
Hello, quintessential Explorer. After this commercial for Jeep, nothing more needs to be said. The song includes lyrics: “4 by 4 by land, 4 by 4 by sea, 4 by 4 by air ’cause they like to fly free … For my country how it all started out … doin’ it yourself ’cause you want it done right … top-down, stars keep you up at night” might just be the anthem for all Explorers.

REI, the outdoor sports retailer, is well-known by participants of outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, or cycling. We only need to look at REI’s Instagram feed to see the Explorer spirit alive and well. A recent video campaign also highlights this love of the outdoors. As one of the campaign producers elaborates on the process, he hits on the core of the Explorer quest. “REI isn’t about extreme sports or getting outside and doing crazy stuff, instead, it’s about how being outside brings something out of you.” In the video featured below, the subject discusses how exploring the woods and becoming a “trail angel” helped him overcome his own struggles with depression and an abusive childhood.


Nothing says Explorer like journeying into the vast unknown voids of space. NASA’s 2015 Year in Review video pretty much sums it up. “Off the Earth, For the Earth”

The Body Shop

The Body Shop, when it first started, was a pioneering brand. It campaigned for ethical business practices and safe natural cosmetics before these ideas were mainstream. That core of authenticity, doing things differently, and making the world better, has remained even now, 30 years later. 

The Explorer archetype is further strengthened in their commercial below that takes us on a journey to Ethiopia, so we can see how the honey used in their products is sourced (with Fair Trade practices).

The Explorer Consumer

To market to Explorer consumers, a brand needs to really understand its mindset. Explorer consumers are trying to figure out their place in the world. This manifests abundantly in the younger generation – from pink-haired pre-teens attempting to assert their independence and figure out whom they are to recent college graduates taking a year off to “find themselves”.

​But Explorer consumers are not just the young. The Explorer consumer can also be someone in the throes of a mid-life crisis, looking for new experiences to make himself feel alive. Or an entrepreneur launching out to start a business because she wants to do things the way she believes they should be done.

​Explorer consumers may enjoy outdoor sports, not necessarily for competitive reasons, but rather to engage in nature through solitary pursuits like long-distance running or biking. They are wary of being tied down and may shy away from things like marriages and mortgages.

​The Explorer consumer may be either

Energetic, enthusiastic, and eager OR

Suffocated, searching, and alienated

Or, most commonly, a combination of both.

The Explorer is often caught in a dilemma between expressing individuality and being too different. In this vein, Explorer consumers respond well to brands that can seem to empathize with the internal desires and conflicts they face and yet promise a reward worth seeking out.​

The Explorer consumer values brands that are authentic. Skeptical of advertising hype, they are more convinced by organic buzz — real people spreading the word about a brand or experience. The restless Explorer isn’t big on brand loyalty. 

Change is a natural state of mind, after all. So, to win devoted Explorer consumers, a brand must be able to tap directly into the archetypal values of freedom and individuality and express those values authentically.

​Is Your Brand an Explorer?

Does your brand feel at home in the wilderness of nature? Or does it help people discover new things? Maybe it focuses on nonconformity and enabling people to find freedom and express their individuality. If any of these things strike a chord with you, you may be an Explorer brand archetype.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

The archetypes in branding wouldn't be complete without the Explorer. They find discoveries in the industries and find new paths to fulfill a purpose or goal. They often change the plan or process along the way. But one thing is for sure, the Explorer has a strong vision that motivates people to join their tribe.

The Hero
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Hero

The courageous triumph over adversity is the defining characteristic of the Hero archetype. Finding deep satisfaction, exhilaration, and purpose in this feat, the Hero archetype displays great tenacity to achieve it, with a “never give up” attitude. We’ve all been inspired — or saved — by a hero… where would we be without them?

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.


PROMISE: Where there is a will, there is a way.
CORE DESIRE: To prove worth through difficult action
GOAL: To exert mastery in a way that improves the world
FEAR: Weakness or quitting
STRATEGY: Become as competent as possible
GIFT: Courage

All About the Hero

The Hero archetype is all about rising to the challenge, and it instinctively seeks to protect and inspire others. Whether on the battleground, ball field, or political stage, the Hero is determined to leave a mark on the world, often at the risk of great sacrifice.

​The Hero often must make tough decisions and think on their feet. The quintessential Hero seeks out challenges or feels ‘called’ to right a wrong, or both. 

The challenge to overcome may be humanitarian — to save the world at large — but may also manifest as a grandiose personal aspiration, like a resolve to scale Mount Everest.

It’s easy to picture comic book superheroes as iconic of this archetype. But in our everyday lives, we can look at Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, the Marines, Nike, and Red Cross as examples of heroes.

The Hero Brand in Action

The Hero archetype is a natural fit for philanthropic organizations or businesses that have corporate social responsibility as a core tenant of their existence. 

Along with social initiatives, the Hero is easily manifest through athletic brands and the military. These are brands that represent or help people develop discipline, focus, and strength.

The marketing of a Hero brand will often use powerful images and strong colors to communicate. It may use nature-inspired imagery that metaphorically represents a challenge, like tall mountains or rugged terrain.

Definitive lines and shapes and roughness or texture will play a part in the visuals as well. The language will be idealistic, challenging, or noble — essentially saying “I dare you”, in a manner of speaking.

The organizational culture of a Hero brand is typically achievement-oriented, holds itself to high standards, and requires dedication. 

In an unhealthy organization, this may foster competition and employee burnout. In a healthy organization, there is a clear sense of convictions that are lived out daily and fuels the passion to make a difference and overcome challenges.

The Different Levels of the Hero Archetype

Each archetype can be experienced or expressed at different levels. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.

Level 1: The Hero displays the ability to overcome — competence as demonstrated through achievement or victory in the competition.
Level 2: shows the Hero archetype faithfully serving others, often out of duty, commitment, or conviction.
Level 3: the Hero uses their strength and courage to make the world better. This requires the greatest level of sacrifice.

All in the Family

There are different aspects of the Hero archetype that can emerge, based on the strength of various attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks these nuances down into sub-archetypes (including the primary Hero) for a total of five in the family.


The Hero is represented by sacrifice, courage, faith, and strength. This archetype lives to triumph over adversity and will overcome great odds to facilitate transformation. The downfall of the Hero may be triggered by an exaggerated sense of self-importance.


In a word: fearless. The assertive Warrior has a strong sense of duty coupled with a healthy dose of bravery. Add to this a tactical mode of attack, and the Warrior is strong on strategy. The Achilles heel for this sub-archetype is a victory-at-all-costs mentality, in which the assertiveness turns a bit too aggressive.


The Athlete’s goals revolve around physical ability and mental focus. Disciplined and achievement-oriented, the Athlete is relentless in pursuit of a goal. The desire to be bigger, stronger, faster, and better is natural for this sub-archetype. The Athlete must be careful, though, not to use their physicality to bully or harm.


The Rescuer swoops in with a heart full of bravery to help others in need. With intuitive sensibilities and quick reflexes, the Rescuer becomes a familiar face in times of dire circumstances. The trap for the Rescuer? The misguided need to save someone just to prove its own worth.


Fighting on behalf of the disenfranchised and powerless, the Liberator is a champion for humanitarian rights, justice, and equality. With strong convictions and resolute hope, this sub-archetype does not accept defeat. 

The temptation for the Liberator is to allow the end to justify the means, however blurry the morality. Its staunch view of righteousness and justice can lead to revenge-seeking.

Examples of Hero Brands
Nike does Hero oh-so-well. Representing level one of the Athlete sub-archetype in the following commercial, Nike challenges every one of us to overcome the enemy within (our fears, doubts, and insecurities) …of course ending with the ultimate challenge — to Find Your Greatness.

The Red Cross is an example of the Rescuer sub-archetype at the higher level, providing disaster relief and emergency response to those in time of need. Their 2015 year-in-review video combines an inspirational audio track with moving photos of those affected by a disaster along with those helping them through it.

The International Labor Organization exists to promote social justice, human rights, and labor rights. Their video below speaks very aspirationally about the importance of social justice and ultimately asks the question “How can social justice be achieved for all?”

The Hero Consumer

The Hero consumer is typically achievement-oriented and competitive — even if just against oneself. In the quest to prove themselves, Hero consumers have the desire to develop their character or physical ability and are often tenaciously dedicated to overcoming challenges.

Hero consumers often see themselves as good, moral people; and, naturally, they are attracted to brands that demonstrate their convictions. 

Therefore, to win a Hero consumer’s heart, a brand must realize it is being evaluated on much more than just its product offering, but on the strength of its moral convictions.

Is Your Brand a Hero?

Take a look at your brand. Is it fighting an invisible enemy to address a social problem? Is it challenging for people to get stronger and perform at their full potential? Is your underdog product actually the next big thing to change the world? If this resonates with you, your brand may be a Hero archetype.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the Brand Archetypes.

One of the most powerful archetypes in branding, the Hero follows through in its promise of motivating people to reach their full potential. They do this by offering great products and services that bring out the best in people. They transform every story into a story of victory and never dwell on adversity. The ending is always a happy ending in this category.

The Innocent
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Innocent

The cute kid, the dreamer, the optimist, the do-gooder. What do they all have in common? They are manifestations of the Innocent brand archetype, used by corporations to speak to two often unmet needs in our fast-paced, hectic lives – simplicity and happiness.

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

PROMISE: Life doesn't have to be hard. Keep it simple..
CORE DESIRE: To experience paradise
GOAL: To be happy
FEAR: Doing something wrong that will provoke punishment
STRATEGY: Do things right
GIFT: Faith and optimism
MOTIVATION: Independence and fulfillment

All About the Innocent

The Innocent is an eternal optimist who always sees the good in people and in life. Purity is at the heart of every action, and as a result the Innocent believes in redemption and lacks guile. Free of corruption, the Innocent seeks the promise of paradise.

This brand archetype is associated with simple pleasures and wholesomeness. With our busy lifestyles, we are attracted to the focus on simplicity. For prime examples of the Innocent archetype, look no further than Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Ronald McDonald, Real Simple magazine, and Coca-Cola.

The Innocent in Action

The Innocent archetype is most prevalent in mom-and-pop shops, nonprofit organizations, and churches. Their marketing often appeals to the nostalgia of simpler times and may use muted color palettes and gentle imagery.

The products behind Innocent brands are quite often natural or pure (e.g. cotton, soap, organic foods). The organizational culture and customer service are focused on being truthful, honest, and reliable. 

Generally not very innovative, these companies stick to what works and is predictable. Pricing tends to be low to moderate.

The Different Levels of the Innocent Archetype

Each of the 12 different archetypes has levels. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.

Level 1: The Innocent brand archetype includes people who feel paradise is their birthright and not having it makes them angry. They are defined by a childlike perspective and traits such as naïvete and narcissism.

Level 2: is the midpoint in the process of achieving innocence that focuses on renewal, reframing, and cleansing. People at this level are still searching for paradise but haven’t quite found it yet. Innocents at level 2 are seeking to reinvent or renew themselves through new beginnings.

Level 3: belongs to the most highly evolved Innocents who believe that people make choices for a simpler, values-driven lifestyle and as a result create their own paradise and sense of spiritual oneness. The belief is that innocence (paradise) comes from within, not from outer experiences.​

All in the Family

Within the Innocent family are many different angles of the archetype. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks these nuances down into sub-archetypes (including the primary Innocent archetype) for a total of five.


With an unbridled sense of wonder, the Innocent sees the world as honest and wholesome. This sub-archetype embodies a sense of renewal, inner peace, and nostalgia. It is pure, virtuous, and faultless. The challenge it faces is the tendency to avoid or deny problems.


Bursting with energy and a positive attitude, the Child is easily amused, entertained, or fascinated. The Child demonstrates a relentless belief in the goodness of humanity and is open to possibilities. 

Its curious nature tends to bring out the best in others. Challenges exist in that the Child is easily influenced and unable to grow up and assume responsibility.


With the ability to be swept away by possibilities, the Dreamer communicates abstract ideas with the help of a vivid imagination. Possessing the faith of a child, this brand archetype prefers to live in the paradise of the mind. However, it lacks the structure necessary to execute ideas in the real world.


The Idealist is driven by the belief that the individual can make the world a better place and believes in the possibility of positive change. 

Motivated by the ideals of harmony and peace, cooperation and collaboration, the Idealist acts as a catalyst for positive change. Unfortunately, the Idealist tends to view the world through rose-colored glasses and chooses not to see potential dangers.


As its name implies, the Muse is a source of inspiration and serves as a conduit to knowledge and understanding. Although the Muse excels at motivation, its unfocused energy can sometimes bring chaos.

Real-World Examples of the Innocent Brand

Even though the product itself is not wholesome (here, have an artificially flavored glass of sugar and acid that will rot your teeth and give you diabetes!), the company still positions its brand as Innocent (remember, branding is all about perception and meaning) and the world believes it. 

During WWII Coca-Cola was marketed as a cool, refreshing, nonalcoholic drink for soldiers and soon the bubbly brown beverage became directly associated with American idealism.

In 1971, Coke rolled out one of its most well-known campaigns. Singing about wanting to buy the world a Coke, a diverse group of individuals, glass bottles in hand, extolled the product’s diplomatic virtues. With the slogan “It’s the real thing,” Coke aimed to unite the countries of the world through carbonation.

Another commercial show that even during the busiest moments of parenthood, a cold Coke equates to a simple moment to breathe – and accompanies a pregnancy announcement. For soda drinkers, this is happiness epitomized.

Switching between the perspectives of a 100-year-old man and a new baby arriving in the world, a third commercial reflects the ideals of the most developed level of the Innocent. 

The centenarian narrator tugs on heartstrings as he travels from his island home to the city and speaks about a self-realized paradise, one in which relationships are what is important in life and happiness comes from within. 

In an interesting twist, this commercial also speaks to the lower level of the Innocent archetype which believes that “happiness is your birthright.”

And finally, in true Innocent fashion, the company used a childlike commercial, complete with sweet polar bears and a cuddly cub, to prove that Coke does, indeed, make everything all right.

The Innocent Consumer

Consumers drawn to the Innocent brands are looking for products that provide an experience of peace and goodness. They like brands that make life simple and when they find a brand they can trust they are loyal to it.

These consumers long to have the ideal life, complete with a perfect mate, well-behaved kids, a fulfilling job, and a nice home.

They strive for goodness, are very often trusting, and have a great deal of faith in others. They are a traditional lot and do not seek change.

Is Your Brand an Innocent?

Ask yourself: Is the goal of your company to help people find or realize happiness? Does your company value simplicity and ethics? If you answered yes, it is very likely your brand is Innocent. To get the most from your marketing dollars, you should do all you can to communicate these values to customers.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

Brands in this category typically don’t offer the most innovative products. However, they are the simplest ones that don't complicate people’s lives. They rely on dependability, honesty, and predictability.

The Jester
The Jester brand archetype lightens up a serious situation. This type typically pokes fun at their customers by connecting with their childishness. You'll mostly see this archetype in the entertainment industry, where humor and fun fill the air.

Brand Archetypes — Meet the Jester

Who doesn’t want to have a laugh?! 

The position of the Jester archetype is to deliver everyone collectively to play and respect the pleasure in lifestyles. As the last entertainer, the Jester is capable of making human beings sense properly — a sense that any logo would really like to have related to it.

PROMISE: If you’re now no longer having a laugh, you’re doing something wrong.
CORE DESIRE: To stay withinside the second with complete enjoyment
GOAL: To have an awesome time and loosen up the sector
FEAR: Boredom or being boring
STRATEGY: Be humorous and playful

All About the Jester

The Jester archetype represents living in the here and now. The life of the party, the Jester just wants people to lighten up and enjoy themselves! 

The Jester allows others to connect with their fun inner child — impulsive and unrestrained, not afraid to bend rules, not afraid to stand out, and comfortable in their own skin.

The Jester also has the ability to think outside the box, which leads to innovative ideas. This means that Jester is a master at brainstorming, reframing concepts, and presenting new perspectives. 

For example, a typical Jester M.O. would be to present a social issue or political agenda in a new light to highlight its underlying absurdity. Comedians are an obvious example of the Jester but are certainly not the only category that identifies as this archetype.

The Jester Brand in Action

Jester brands tend to grab attention. The biggest draw is usually its cleverness. While Jester brands are commonly expressed in entertainment, you can also find them expressed in industries such as insurance. 

Geico or Progressive come to mind, both of which chose to take a more light-hearted approach in an otherwise serious industry.

Jester brands are not afraid to bend rules or be politically incorrect, and that can be reflected in brands making light of things that are perhaps actually serious issues or promoting something that is not actually good for you. 

We all know candy isn’t healthy, but let’s face it, those M&M commercials featuring the talking candy characters of Red, Yellow, and Ms. Brown are humorous enough to make us forget all about that.

The marketing of Jester brands may be unconventional, silly, or over-the-top. Often bright colors are used and the action is high-energy. 

Jester brands may be especially drawn to utilizing virtual experiences like interactive websites or augmented reality apps.

The organizational culture for Jester Brands is loose and fun-loving. Traditional “corporate” rules don’t apply here. 

Jester brands create their own way of doing things, and due to their out-of-the-box thinking, the culture is highly innovative in its operations or product offerings.

The Different Levels of the Jester Archetype
There are levels to each of the 12 different archetypes. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.

Level 1: The Jester expressed at level one sees life as a game. The only important thing is to just have fun!

Level 2: Level two is more advanced. Here, the Jester is expressed by combining fun with resourcefulness/intelligence (resulting in things like practical jokes or finding ways to get around rules). This is where cleverness and innovation are developed.

Level 3: At the highest level, the Jester knows that life is lived in the moment. If all we have is today, we should live each day to the fullest.

All in the Family

There are different aspects of the Jester archetype that can emerge, based on the strength of various attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks the archetype down into sub-archetypes for a total of five (including the primary Jester) to round out the family.


Life is a playground for the Jester. With a penchant for irreverent antics and an appreciation for the same, the Jester lives fully in each moment. 

Able to reframe perspectives and be unafraid to speak out, the Jester can challenge convention in refreshing ways. The challenge facing the Jester is that of being too insensitive or insolent.


The Entertainer is playful and caters to an audience. Giving people a good show is all that matters. Quick-witted and highly adaptable, the Entertainer needs constant stimulation and feedback.


The Clown hides behind a mask in order to distance itself from serious or taboo topics in order to explore them. Highlighting the absurd in this way allows the Clown to poke fun and entertain at the same time. This sub-archetype is prone to exaggeration and drama to make others laugh.


The Provocateur may be controversial and polarizing but does so with the charm and charisma that makes it a Jester sub-archetype. 

Of course, the challenge for the Provocateur is to not come off as rude and offensive. But as a natural communicator and with an in-your-face mentality, the Provocateur stirs up change.


The Shapeshifter acts as a chameleon, able to navigate varying situations and levels of consciousness. Challenging others to question assumptions, this sub-archetype is a catalyst to help others see things differently. The weakness of the Shapeshifter is the inherent instability that comes with being so adaptable.

Real-World Examples of Jester Brands

Progressive’s spokesperson Flo is quirky and silly… exactly what insurance is not. Yet, by aligning with this positioning, Progressive lives up to its name and gives people a new way to relate to insurance. 

Their “Name Your Price” tool (referred to in the video below) is a result of innovative out-of-the-box thinking by the company in 2009 when it was predicted people would cancel their coverage altogether to save costs during the economic downturn.

​M&M’S / Geico

In a crossover commercial between two Jester brands, familiar M&M’S and Geico characters meet in an unexpected and clever ad.

Jimmy Fallon

Late-night talk shows have Jester written all over them, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is no exception. While Jimmy Fallon himself has an Everyman appeal, first and foremost he just likes having fun. 

If you’ve ever heard Fallon talk about why he does what he does, he sums up his purpose here: “…If anyone is suffering at all, this is my job. I’m here to make you laugh. I want to make you have a good time.” His method of making the world a better place is to “make you laugh and put a smile on your face so that you can… live a longer life. Isn’t that the whole goal of what we’re doing — have fun?”

The Onion

Satirical news source The Onion takes current issues and presents them through the lens of the ludicrous… of course girded by the unnerving undercurrent of reality. Sometimes blurring the line of political correctness with taboo topics or reporting style, 

The Onion shows it is not afraid to speak on any news. In the humorous video segment below, they subtly highlight the point that no one actually knows what “the cloud” is.

The Jester Consumer

Jester consumers tend to be a younger demographic, though, of course, there are people of all ages who seem to be perpetually “young at heart”. Jester consumers are turned off by serious topics or people who are too serious, so they tend to flock together with others of similar “carpe diem” attitudes.

They will avoid doing things that are boring, even if those things are important.

Therefore, to market effectively to Jester consumers, brands must find ways to be relevant and cutting-edge in how and what they communicate. 

This is especially true if a brand wants Jester consumers to do something serious (like buy insurance) — it will need to find a way to reframe the desired action to be more in line with the Jester mindset and attention span. The zanier the better! Jester consumers appreciate creativity and cleverness.

Is Your Brand a Jester?

Does your brand help people enjoy life or live in the moment? Do you have a fun-loving culture? Is being clever or quirky a method you use to help people see something differently? If so, you may be a Jester brand.

Still unsure of the archetype that best represents your brand? Test your knowledge of the 12 brand archetypes by taking the brand archetype quiz, and then review the answers to learn more.

The Jester brand archetype lightens up a serious situation. This type typically pokes fun at their customers by connecting with their childishness. You'll mostly see this archetype in the entertainment industry, where humor and fun fill the air.

The Lover
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Lover

​Intimacy and connection — no man is an island. People want to feel special and Lover brands exist to meet this need. In this journey we call life, what’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

PROMISE: Love makes the world go 'round.
CORE DESIRE: To attain intimacy
GOAL: Being in a relationship with things they love
FEAR: Being alone or unwanted
STRATEGY: Become attractive to others
GIFT: Appreciation and passion
MOTIVATION: Belonging and connection
All About the Lover
Don’t be misled by the name; it’s not just about romance. The Lover archetype encapsulates all types of love — parental, familial, friendships, spiritual, and romantic. 

The Lover wants to have close relationships, achieve intimacy, feel special, and make others feel special, too. The Lover is passionate and unashamed in fostering relationships and expressing appreciation.

There is also a sensual aspect that the Lover archetype represents. Anything that pleasures the senses – beautiful things, enticing smells, indulgent foods – give joy and delight to the Lover.

We see this archetype expressed all the time, from Hallmark to Victoria’s Secret. Other examples are Beyoncé, Chanel, Godiva, SendOutCards, and eHarmony.

The Lover Brand in Action

The Lover archetype can show up in many industries but is naturally seen in cosmetics, jewelry, fashion, and food. Wine and gourmet chocolate? Check. 

Spa treatments and beauty secrets? Check. Gifts just because? Check. With offerings like these, Lover brands help consumers to:

Find love or friendships

Show appreciation to others

Become more attractive to others

Pleasure their senses

Marketing for lover brands can run the gamut, depending on the type of love they represent. Deep jewel tones or fiery red are often used; or they may be softer more romantic tones. Elegant script typefaces or handwritten fonts can make an appearance. 

It may be friendly or could be edgy and erotic (of course sex sells — you got that memo, right?). In all cases, the marketing focuses on the consumer, making them feel special, and always has a strong emotional appeal.

For Lover brands, customer appreciation is a way of life and is likely a big part of their business plan. Staying in good relationships with those they serve and providing customer service keeps the customer madly in love with them. (Cue heart eyes emoji here.)

Organizationally, the Lover brand is intimate and elegant. It values partnerships and is collaborative and team-oriented, to the point of decision-making by consensus. 

Employees tend to be passionate about the vision and values, and the quality of relationships throughout the organization is high.

The passion of the Lover archetype is an asset. But it works both ways. On the negative side, passion can become jealousy, or in the case of brands, competitiveness that can take over if not careful.

Pricing for Lover brand offerings falls in the mid to high range.

The Different Levels of the Lover Archetype

Each archetype can be experienced or expressed at different levels. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.

Level 1 of the Lover archetype is pretty surface-level, in terms of intimacy. This is where we find the pure pleasure-seekers — the casual fling or one-dimensional friendships. Connections may be established and are likely even passionate, but they are not truly intimate or personal.
Level 2 of the Lover is all about forming deeper attachments and establishing commitments with who and what we love. We start to find fulfillment in these relationships.
Level 3 brings us to spiritual love. With a sense of wholeness and connection to others, it is a love that extends to mankind as a whole. Those who are familiar with the love of Christ can understand that as the ultimate expression, truly filling the deepest of voids we have for love.

All in the Family

There are different aspects of the Lover archetype that can emerge, based on the strength of various attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks these nuances down into sub-archetypes (including the primary Lover) for a total of five in the family.


Faithful and passionate, the Lover is all about intimacy and togetherness. Don’t think it stops at kisses and roses, however. The Lover’s DNA pushes beyond romantic feeling to a state of being. 

The Lover appreciates beauty in various forms and values collaboration. The challenge facing the Lover is letting a fear of being alone, disconnected, or ultimately, unloved, overtake them.


Like The Commodores, the sensual Romantic just wants to be close to you. Charming and charismatic, optimistic and sociable, the Romantic can be intense emotionally. 

This sub-archetype may profess “you complete me”, due to a strong belief in the power of oneness that stems from a shared love. The Romantic can stumble over its own optimism, however. The challenge is in removing the rose-colored glasses and not get caught up in the chase.


The Companion is loyal and trustworthy and is the comrade and confidante we turn to when we need a helping hand or a patient ear. This sub-archetype holds a deep respect for a person’s inherent value and values relationship. The Companion may be devoted to a fault — potentially leading to loss of self and a rise of dependency.


The Hedonist is the erotic and sensual sub-archetype. Living in the moment, and living for pleasure, the Hedonist seeks out the exciting things in life to indulge in. 

The Hedonist must be careful of indulging too much. This sub-archetype may also show disregard for others in pursuit of pleasure.


The power of human connection and relationship dynamics are well understood by the Matchmaker, and this sub-archetype acts as a facilitator to draw people together. The Matchmaker uses strategy and intuition to spot patterns that can facilitate connections. 

The Matchmaker’s challenge is in allowing intuition to remain the guide when tempted to let judgment and personal agenda take over.

Examples of Lover Brands

Hallmark is a perfect example of a Lover brand. Hallmark facilitates connection for every relationship in your life, romantic or familial. From National Boss Day to National Nurses Day, you turn to Hallmark whenever you want to show someone you are thinking of and appreciate them. Hallmark leads to closeness.

Christian Dior has known the world over for haute couture fashion, fragrance, and beauty products. Dior as a brand promises to make you beautiful and more desirable. 

The sensuality in the following Dior fragrance commercial blatantly speaks to the lower levels of the Lover archetype. Do you adore Dior?

And really, what better example of unconditional love than that of our furry family members? Pet brands often heavily pull on the Lover archetype. Are pets possibly the perfect companion?

The Mayhew Animal Home, an animal shelter in London, did a great job of showing how it feels to come home to ‘the one’ after a long hard day in a seemingly cruel and uncaring world.

Cesar, a dog food brand, featured a touching relationship between a man and his dog. What the following commercial does so successfully highlights a companionship dynamic as opposed to a caregiver dynamic. 

Instead of just a man and his dog, this becomes a relationship between two equals. Each one loves and is loved in return.

The Lover Consumer

The Lover consumer is driven to connect with others. In the Western world, we live in a society that has become more and more individualistic. As a result, the void for true meaningful relationships keeps getting bigger and bigger. 

The Lover consumer will look to fill this void in a myriad of ways — from seeking out like-minded people to bond with to creating the best version of themselves to attract others to them. 

Lover consumers want to feel special. They want brands that love them and that they can love back. If their needs aren’t met, brands risk losing them to a competitor that can make them feel special again.

Is Your Brand a Lover?

Are you passionate about people? Do you dote on your customers, knowing you are nothing without them? Do you help people find or deepen relationships or offer products that make them feel more attractive?

Even if you don’t see your brand as romantic or sensual, if intimacy is the core tenet of your existence, you are likely a Lover brand.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

The Lover connects people emotionally. This brand archetype ensures that they foster relationships that are inspirational and companionable. They go out of their way to make people feel special by catering to their needs.

The Magician
Brand Archetypes — Meet the Magician
“The power of the Ruler is to create and maintain a prosperous and peaceful kingdom. The power of the Magician is to transform reality by changing consciousness. 

Good Rulers take responsibility for their symbiotic relationship with the kingdom, knowing that the state of their life reflects and affects the state of their Souls, but they generally cannot heal themselves. Without the Magician, who heals the wounded Ruler, the kingdom cannot be transformed.”

~ Awakening the Heroes Within

Brand archetypes are the secret sauce to creating stronger brands, and are an essential tool for any marketing toolbox! To learn more, read the introduction here.

PROMISE: If you can dream it, you can achieve it.
CORE DESIRE: Knowledge of how the world works
GOAL: To make dreams come true
FEAR: Unanticipated negative consequences
STRATEGY: Develop a vision and live it out fully
GIFT: Finding win-win outcomes
All About the Magician
Let’s start with the obvious. The Magician archetype is easy to draw on if there are ancient or exotic origins or special rituals involved. But a wizard in a pointed hat does not reflect the fullness of this archetype — not even close.

At its core, the Magician sets out to achieve objectives by applying the fundamental laws of how something works to get results. This includes both supernatural and scientific applications. The result is often transformative.

The Magician genuinely believes that there is more — something greater than us, greater than what we see — and often stands in defiance of perceived “reality”, believing that the limits we have are mostly self-imposed.

Often perceived as intelligent, the Magician may appear to have special access to secret or elusive information. 

Even if the application is scientific, the Magician’s ability to manipulate forces such as gravity, electromagnetism, or radiation feels magical to others simply because the concepts are mysterious, difficult to grasp, or invisible to the naked eye.

Think about any major industry-shaping invention (the light bulb, the airplane, Bluetooth), and you’ll find the Magician archetype activated in everyone. 

This type of mystique often leaves others in awe of or inspired by the Magician, particularly as the Magician uses their abilities to make dreams come true.

The Magician Brand in Action

Magician brands foster “magical moments” — experiences that feel special, novel, and exciting — as well as more lasting change. Magician brands help people transform…

from sickness and pain to the picture of health (pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, herbal remedies)
from crows feet and graying hair to the regained beauty of youth (beauty products and cosmetic surgeons)
from feeling lost and confused to total enlightenment (spiritual gurus, churches, life coaches)
from dirty and neglected to fresh and sparkly (cleaning companies, restoration services, hygiene products)
from ultimate chaos to perfect peace (spas, retreats, travel agencies)
from financial lack to bountiful prosperity (MLM opportunities, career agencies)
from inefficient to productive (technology industry)

So it should make sense that the Magician archetype is seen in brands that transform and fascinate, such as Walt Disney, MAC Cosmetics, Dyson, and Polaroid.

Magician brands have a grandiose vision – something that others may even see as impossible – but Magician brands believe if they apply the right formula, success is inevitable.

The marketing of a Magician brand usually reflects this grandiose feel. Whether ethereal, expansive, or magnificent, imagery like a sky full of stars or a rainbow spanning the heavens is intended to evoke feelings of awe.

Magician brands can easily come under attack by competitors, the media, or public opinion, simply for the fact that they promise a transformation that may be difficult to objectively prove. Good advice for a Magician brand is to avoid the temptation to generate attention with edgy or extreme marketing.

Doing so will alienate or distract consumers and leave the brand with only a fringe following, missing the opportunity to truly connect with consumers by focusing on the true transformational purpose of the brand.

The Different Levels of the Magician Archetype
Each of the 12 different archetypes can be expressed at varying levels. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.

Level 1: involves experiencing “magical moments” that leave one feeling mesmerized, satisfied, happy, or transformed in some way, though generally short-term or superficial.
Level 2: brings the experience of “flow” – a state of being in which you are fully immersed and “at one” with what you are doing. The mental, physical, and spiritual are all in sync working in perfect accord toward reaching the vision.
Level 3: brings miracles or the complete manifestation of a vision.

All in the Family
Within the Magician family is different facets that can emerge based on the predominance of particular attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding labels these as sub-archetypes and lists a total of five (including the primary Magician) in the family.


Dream big! 

That’s the motto of the Magician. Charismatic, influential, and very perceptive, the Magician turns dreams or ideas into reality for others. The Magician relies on forces beyond the natural to get results and must beware not to fall into manipulation or trickery in the process.


The Alchemist uses a combination of fact and intuition to transmute one thing into something else entirely. The Alchemist values purity and perfection, wanting everything it touches to become pure gold. 

The scientific and spiritual mesh gives this sub-archetype a belief that there are no limits. Nothing is impossible!…which may lead to the Alchemist’s weakness, if not careful — a temptation to engage in fraud.


The Scientist is passionate and curious, wanting to see what things are made of, and uses that knowledge to be a change agent in the world. 

A logical and questioning sub-archetype, the Scientist has to “see it to believe it”. One thing it has to be careful of missing the forest for the trees in its quest to dig deep into science and beyond.


Using a structured approach to problem-solving, the Engineer transforms creative energy into practical expression. Logical and curious, the Engineer is the sub-archetype to turn to for solutions to everyday problems.


The Innovator, with a seemingly limitless ability to dream, is an idea machine. With high intellect and curiosity, the Innovator thrives on change and is not afraid of taking risks to get to a solution. 

Even though the Innovator has willpower and will perform in-depth research, this sub-archetype may be challenged to stay focused on the task at hand.

Real-world Examples of the Magician Brand
We can look to Mary Kay for an example of a Magician brand. The company promotes its business opportunity as a way to transform your life – “turn your dreams into successes” as they advertise on its website. Their opportunity appeals to women with the promise of becoming happy, financially successful, and purposeful, all while being your boss.

Of course, the beauty products themselves are transformational, promising younger-looking skin, disappearing cellulite, glamorous makeup possibilities, and more.

Dyson revolutionized the vacuum cleaning industry. For many, the name immediately conjures up the most technological, sleek-looking vacuum cleaner there is — often leaving us wondering if Dyson engineers are waving a magic wand to create something so incredible.

Of course, no discussion of the Magician archetype would be complete without mention of “The Place Where Dreams Come True” and the entire magical Disney empire.

The Magician Consumer
The typical Magician consumer will believe in higher consciousness and the inherent rules that come with the territory — for example, a metaphysical belief that “the Universe” will reward positive thinking (the Law of Attraction) or the promise that God will bless those who tithe regularly.

Additionally or the Magician consumer may turn to the laws of nature and the sciences, relying on biology, physics, and psychology as strong guiding principles.

The Magician consumer is motivated both by the desire for personal transformation and to be a change agent in the world around them. A Magician consumer may very well be in a position of leadership, being influential and charismatic by nature.  

The important thing to remember when marketing to Magicians is that they will align with brands as long as they can see and connect with the true identity and purpose — the consciousness — of the brand.

Is Your Brand a Magician?

Does your brand help people transform? Do you turn messes into miracles? Do you know how to harness invisible forces that may not be easily understood by the layman?

In true Magician style, Walt Disney once said, “I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true.” If your brand can relate, you may be a Magician brand.

​Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

The Magician is like the fairy godmother in your wonderful fantasy who makes all your wishes come true. This brand archetype transforms people’s dreams into a reality. Whether it’s offering a service that you thought any brand would never provide or creating a product unlike any other, the Magician fulfills that dream.

The Outlaw
Everybody has a wild side, and the Outlaw brand archetype appeals to this inner yearning for revolt through nonconformity. The Outlaw disregards social conventions and pursues destruction if only to restore society to its ideal state. Happy Fourth of July America!​

PROMISE: Rules were made to be broken.
CORE DESIRE: Revolution
GOAL: To destroy what is not working
FEAR: Being powerless
STRATEGY: Disrupt, destroy, or shock
GIFT: Radical freedom

The Complete Outlaw

The Outlaw, who by nature is a disruptive force, seeks to upend the status quo, whether for one's own benefit or the benefit of others. The Outlaw, who represents the archetype's darker side, becomes enraged when they are personally offended. 

Since fear is viewed as a strength, it doesn't mind being feared by others. Extremist organizations are frequently used as examples of the Outlaw.

Positively, the Outlaw disturbs others' comfort with the current quo in an effort to spur change. For instance, many civil rights advocates participated in nonviolent protests while yet embodying the Outlaw character.

Using the Outlaw Brand

The Outlaw is a countercultural force that has the power to break down social taboos (rock 'n' roll, drugs, and sex, anyone?) by appealing to the dark side of human nature. Any company that aims to free itself (or others) from oppression and escape the current dominant culture qualifies as an outlaw.

Look at Robin Hood, Malcolm X, Harley-Davidson, MTV, Howard Stern, and Miley Cyrus as instances of the Outlaw archetype.

The Outlaw Archetype's Various Levels

Outlaw brands have the power to overthrow tyrannical governments or perpetuate morally dubious beliefs. These firms rely on advertising that highlights taking chances and deviating from the boring status quo. This can be done by using imagery that is either bold and revolutionary or dark and destructive. Whether extreme or just a funny or surprising joke, there is frequently some element of shock value.

Brands that advertise generally "regular" or "healthy" goods or services frequently include playful references to the Outlaw, implying that their product or service is suited when consumers want to feel slightly terrible or out of the ordinary.

Because employees of Outlaw businesses frequently identify as Outlaws and exhibit their passion in all aspects of their work, the organizational culture of these companies is frequently highly revolutionary in and of itself.

There are several levels of expression for each archetype. Higher levels are more developed or mature than lower levels, which are more basic.

Level 1: Recognizing oneself as an outcast and distancing oneself from mainstream culture.
Level 2: Using frightening or disruptive behavior.
Level 3: Revolutionary status.

​The Rebel
​The Rebel is a risk-taker who disregards the rules. The Rebel pushes the boundaries to bring about societal change, a new viewpoint, or a reawakening because they are tired of tradition. The Rebel must watch out not to cross too many lines in its pursuit of reform since it has the capacity to be motivated by resentment and bitterness.

​To drastically alter some economic, political, or social structure, the activist campaigns for a cause. This sub-archetype gathers support for its cause by believing in the ability of individuals to bring about change.

To drastically alter some economic, political, or social structure, the activist campaigns for a cause. This sub-archetype gathers support for its cause by believing in the ability of individuals to bring about change.

The Gambler enjoys taking chances. There are no restrictions on the amount of money the gambler would wager, which can cause addiction and compulsion. However, this sub-archetype is sociable and has sound judgment.

Any type of classification or restriction is rejected by the free-thinking Maverick. The Maverick demonstrates intelligence, assertiveness, and fearlessness while going against the grain and has an independent streak a mile wide.

Examples of Outlaw Brands in the Real World


A classic example of a mainstream Outlaw brand is Harley-Davidson. For motorcycle enthusiasts, Harley-Davidson stands for liberation from strict social norms. "A lot is expected from you, to be certain things for a lot of people all day long," as one devoted rider put it. And if you don't keep an eye out, you might not be aware of your true identity. When riding a Harley, none of that is an issue for you. You and your friend are present.


PayPal position itself as the "new money in town" in a very strong Outlaw manner, despite the fact that some could say there are more innovative forms of commerce available today (such as bitcoin or near-field communication via Apple Pay or Samsung Pay).

The Outlaw Consumer
The consumer of the Outlaw may feel like a byproduct of the dominant culture. (For instance, people from marginalized communities who identify as minorities.) Alienation is a catalyst that can bring on rage. Outlaw customers enjoy risky activities and may even engage in destructive behavior for the sake of feeling "bad." When they feel particularly alienated, young people who are trying to "discover themselves" frequently push past the Explorer tendency and move straight on to Outlaw status.

Consumers in the underworld are drawn to things that are risqué, provocative, or controversial. They have a burning need to be free. Surprisingly, though, well-adjusted, law-abiding members of society who occasionally feel the urge to vent off some steam may also be among the fringe Outlaw buyers.

Brands that want to connect with Outlaw consumers must determine their level of extremism and take appropriate action. Mass communication is the most effective technique to get in touch with peripheral Outlaws. They do have a lower threshold for shock value but be advised.

Due to the risk of offending consumers, brands with a larger emphasis on revolution tend to steer clear of the mainstream and must instead connect with customers through niche special interest groups and online hubs.

Are You an Outlaw Brand?

Outlaw brands frequently tread a narrow line since they may occasionally be seen as insulting. Look at the goods or services you provide. Do they alter the social or economic norms in your field? How big is your clientele?

Still unsure of the archetype that best represents your brand? Test your knowledge of the 12 brand archetypes by taking the brand archetype quiz, and then review the answers to learn more.

The Outlaw, also known as the Rebel, seeks to disrupt the norm and paradigms to create something better for humanity or their selfish reasons. They often challenge the rules and make new ones that provide cheaper and better alternatives. They are considered free thinkers that make people question the status quo. As a result, people turn to them.

The Ruler
Imagine where we would be if there were no structure or order in our life. 

Despite the ease with which authority, control, and power can be abused, chaos nevertheless needs to be controlled. The brands that deserve the title of Ruler are those that can give the globe the safety and stability we all long for.

PROMISE: Power is what moves the world
GOAL: To foster growth and prosperity
FEAR: Disorder; overthrow
Exert strong leadership
GIFT: Accountability and initiative
MOTIVATION: Consistency

All About the Ruler

The Ruler archetype attempts to control chaos in order to avoid it. The Ruler works to get (and maintain) authority because they want to feel comfortable and secure. The Ruler is attracted to things that are robust, ageless, and of the highest quality. 

He loves rules and regulations. This archetype wants to assist others in achieving success and security since it sees itself as a role model for others to follow.

Rulers follow the rules and conduct "correctly," as the name suggests, and they also want others to do the same. 

Consider the extreme of a watchful mother rearing a responsible child. A brutal dictator at the other end is vying for control of the world's nations. There is a vast spectrum that expresses the archetype between the two extremes.

For examples of the Ruler archetypes around us, we can look at Donald Trump, Verizon, Microsoft, Rolls Royce, Rolex, and Hugo Boss.

Using the Ruler Brand

Clearly, visible ruler branding can be seen in sectors like security, technology, banking, and government. They are suitable for any company that provides high-end goods or services. 

The marketing strategies they employ will appeal to consumers' desires to be significant, powerful, and prosperous. Imagination is frequently formal, statuesque, regal, or refined. Costs range from moderate to expensive.

Within Ruler brands, there is a hierarchical organizational structure as would be expected, and positions are clearly defined. 

These organizations have a tendency to be extremely stable, functioning, and ordered, but they frequently lack the ability to respond quickly or change since decisions must follow a chain of command. Ruler brands frequently expand through acquisitions, absorbing their rivals and the underdogs.

The Ruler Archetype's Various Levels

There are levels to each typology. Higher levels are more evolved or developed than lower levels, which are less sophisticated.

Level 1: Taking ownership of one's life is level.
Level 2: Serving as an organization's or family's leader.
Level 3: Ascending the ranks of leadership within the community or in the government.

The Whole Family

The Ruler is one of five connected sub-archetypes described in the book Archetypes in Branding. Based on the relative strength of numerous traits, the many elements of the Ruler archetype emerge.


​Rulers have a strong sense of self-assurance and a natural drive to lead. They must feel in charge and competent due to their shown knowledge or skill. 

This sub-archetype aims to produce harmonious and effective surroundings. Its vulnerability stems from a desire to maintain control; as a result, it may overcompensate by becoming too authoritarian.


The Sovereign exudes a sense of power and authority. The Sovereign maintains tradition while maintaining control and propriety in public. 

The Sovereign carries a great lot of responsibility and tries to behave accordingly, despite the fact that they can sometimes fall into the trap of entitlement.


The Judge challenges wrongs that need to be righted by using judgment and knowledge, giving society order.

​The Ambassador sub-archetype acts as a mediator to settle conflicts. The ambassador uses cunning moves to restore harmony in troubled relationships or difficult topics. 

This sub-archetype faces difficulties because of the potential for abuse of its power.


​The Patriarch serves as the head of the household, upholds law and order, and offers safety. 

This sub-archetype provides for those beneath it with courage and leadership, creating a sense of security. However, the Patriarch must exercise caution to avoid adopting an autocratic management style.

The Ruler Consumer
Ruler consumers frequently have concerns about their reputation, position, or prestige. They are drawn to Ruler brands because they want those brands' potent perceptions to affect how other people view them.

Natural leaders and Ruler customers frequently have a vast list of accomplishments to their credit and are great achievers. 

They are therefore burdened with a great deal of responsibility and dislike following commands from others. Consumers of Ruler are frequently extremely patriotic and deeply appreciative of their nation's laws, customs, and history.

Ruler customers have a more basic sense that they should be catered to by society. No standing in line, no being treated second-class, and no asking again. 

Those who don't want special treatment will at least be appreciative at the higher level.

Brand Examples


Verizon firmly believes they are the "only number one," as the saying goes. No matter where you are in the country, their assertion that they are better than everyone else is regularly supported by a number of sources and independent research.

Verizon, however, would do well to keep in mind that, especially in light of current headlines, the vulnerability of being a Ruler is the propensity to be despotic. 

Verizon's Ruler's propensity to ignore or mistreat employees is alarming for a firm that makes billions of dollars.


Because of its widespread recognition and pervasiveness in our lives, Microsoft is generally regarded as a vital and reliable brand with wide appeal. 

However, throughout the years, Microsoft has been the target of numerous antitrust cases due to its quick ascent to supremacy.

Even though the corporation is now acting more cautiously, it finds it difficult to overcome the negative perceptions that were fostered by its misuse of the Ruler archetype. 

Thankfully, they are no longer seen as the "schoolyard bully" but rather more as the "class president," although not everyone is convinced that they aren't still striving to maintain their monopoly.

Royce Rolls

This Rolls-Royce commercial combines luxury and power with a passionate rendition of Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

Hugo Boss

The name speaks for itself. In this ad for men's cologne, Hugo Boss, a retailer that specializes in designer apparel and fragrances, employs strong expressions like "go all the way," "remain noble," and "man of success." (Gerard Butler's seductive Scottish brogue helps, too!)

Do You Have a Ruler Brand?

Do you market high-end goods? or those that guarantee security and safety? Are you the industry leader? Or is your long-term strategy to take control of the market? Do you favor a highly organized workplace? Do you have a regulatory role in your town or industry? Any of these yes/no responses can turn you into a Ruler brand.

Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

If the government has politicians as rulers, brands also have rulers as one of the brand archetypes. The Ruler is the one in charge of maintaining peace and order in an otherwise chaotic world. They ensure that rules are set in place to eliminate ambiguity. Although they create the rules, they challenge those who try to sit on the throne and bend them. More often than not, the challengers fail.

The Sage
​What is truth? 

If you are the Sage brand archetype, this is the question that keeps you up at night. A perfectionist by nature, the Sage won’t settle for ambiguity and is on a mission to analyze everything to find the right answer and share it with others. News outlets, museums, and universities fall under the Sage archetype.

The Sage believes the path to happiness is paved with knowledge and that by seeking out the truth and sharing it with others, we can make the world a better place. The Sage shuns ambiguity, misinformation, misleading claims, and ignorance, whether in itself or in others. Sage brands generally have high levels of consciousness and intelligence.

Snags occur when the Sage becomes too focused on the dogma of objective truth and loses touch with social graces. (You Sherlock Holmes and House fans out there know what I’m talking about.) The neverending quest for absolute answers could also result in an acute case of “analysis paralysis” and prevent the Sage from ever taking action.

CORE DESIRE: The discovery of truth.
PROMISE: The truth will set you free.
GOAL: To use intelligence to understand the world
FEAR: Being duped; ignorance
STRATEGY: Seek out information; understand processes
GIFT: Wisdom
MOTIVATION: Independence and fulfillment

The Sage Brand in Action

Typically touted as “experts,” these brands act as sources of guidance to help consumers feel more informed to make better decisions. Well-known brands such as Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University, Mayo Clinic, The New York Times, and CNN all position themselves as beacons, shining the light of truth in a dark, often confusing, world.

The Sage brand is a natural fit for any company that places emphasis on research and development, the acquisition of knowledge, or disseminating information. Examples include institutions of higher education, news sources, research firms, museums, bookstores, and libraries.

Brands that identify with the Sage often use polished and dignified marketing materials and don’t try to impress with superficial fluff or gimmicks. Sage brands tend to gravitate to a palette of neutral or subdued colors such as gray, navy, or white for their marketing designs and logos. Accordingly, some Sage brands produce marketing materials that veer from the status quo in an effort to make people see things in a different way.

Adhering always to their quest for knowledge, Sage brands refuse to “dumb down” their marketing, as that would be an insult to the intelligence of their customers. 
The focus instead is on knowledge and sometimes exclusivity. (Think Ivy League colleges, where not everyone is “good enough” and only a select few receive that coveted acceptance letter).

The culture within Sage brands is often focused on analysis, learning, research, and planning. These brands encourage freedom of thought and individuality amongst their employees so they can develop the most valuable company asset – expertise.

The Different Levels of the Sage Archetype

Each archetype has levels, with the lower levels being less advanced, while higher levels are more evolved or developed.

Level 1: Conducting a search for absolute truth by looking to experts to provide answers and objectivity.

Level 2: Aim to become an expert through critical thinking and analysis.

Level 3: Achieving expert status through wisdom and a high level of confidence in one’s area of expertise.

All in the Family

There are different aspects of the Sage archetype that can emerge, based on the strength of various attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding breaks the Sage (including the primary Sage) into a total of five to complete the family.


Motivated by a desire to seek the truth, Sage values knowledge and learning. With an independent streak a mile wide and a healthy dose of skepticism, the Sage prefers to make rational decisions based on research.

Challenges arrive in the form of arrogance and a rigid reliance on dogma. Others dread the classic “know-it-all” attitude and accompanying air of righteousness.


The Mentor’s very existence is devoted to sharing wisdom for the benefit and support of others. The ability to remain objective and be a good judge of character serves the Mentor well and ups the level of trustworthiness. Everything the Mentor does is based on a desire to make sure the right outcomes are reached.

The Mentor needs to be careful about dispensing all that info because a “helping hand” can easily morph into “an iron fist” if no one’s watching.


Like all great sleuths, the Detective diligently searches to uncover what is hidden. The Detective possesses a fondness for puzzles and has a keen eye for empirical evidence, but is also deeply intuitive and relies on instinct.

Even if the Detective doesn’t want to admit it, the search for truth can be a selfish pursuit rather than for the benefit of others and the Detective may land in hot water if the search for truth turns into snooping.


Spiritual in nature, although not necessarily tied to religion, the Shaman has a mystical power to see and tell the truth, particularly from a “higher consciousness” or alternative perspective. (Deepak Chopra is a good example of a Sage brand that would fall into this sub-archetype.)

Dangers abound if the Shaman develops a false sense of power, as that could lead to bogus claims and manipulation.


A superb communicator, the Translator taps into universal truths by interpreting the meaning and connecting patterns. An intelligent messenger, the Translator is attracted to communication and language.

Before sharing those divine truths with the world, the Translator would be well served to remember the old saying “Haste makes waste” whenever the urge to make premature conclusions strikes.

Real-world Example of Sage Brands
TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, is a nonprofit organization known mostly for its informational TED Talks on every subject imaginable. The group’s mission is to build “a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers” and they believe in the power of ideas to change the world.

Oprah Winfrey
The Oprah brand positions itself as a source of information and enlightenment. Millions of people turn to her as a source of guidance and truth and accept her word as gospel. Evidence of the Oprah brand as a strong Mentor is everywhere: The Oprah Winfrey Show, the O, Oprah Magazine, a book club, and even her own television network. 
Oprah’s brand pulls double duty as a Mentor (a trusted source of empowering support) and as a Shaman (since many of her topics focus on spirituality). In many ways, Oprah could be considered the ultimate guru.

​The Sage Consumer

Sage consumers are a tough bunch. They don’t succumb easily to the “herd mentality” because they recognize the value of independent thought. But if your brand identifies with the Sage archetype, you will be among like-minded folks when reaching out to your customers.​

Sage consumers enjoy learning for learning’s sake and for the pure joy of adding new knowledge to their memory banks. They appreciate brands that are transparent and tend to be suspicious of brands that act like they have something to hide. They revel in hard data and brands that can give them a limitless supply will earn their trust.

When approaching Sage consumers, don’t engage in high-pressure sales and marketing tactics. Instead, give them the information they need to make an informed decision. Since intelligence is the trait they prize above all else, it’s no surprise that Sage consumers aren’t afraid of products with a challenging learning curve. Talking down to your audience or coming on too hard are sure ways to turn off a Sage consumer.

Is Your Brand a Sage?

While most companies will perform some type of research and development, and hopefully don’t consciously strive to misinform, there are some brands for which knowledge and truth are top priorities, no exceptions. 

If your company’s reason for being is to seek out the truth, and provide expertise or information to others, or if you place a high value on knowledge, your brand is likely a Sage archetype.
Still not sure which archetype defines your brand? Take the brand archetype quiz to find out your results and then check out an overview of the 12 brand archetypes to learn more.

One of the most trustworthy and intelligent archetypes in branding is the Sage archetype. They dwell on the truth and would stop at nothing to pursue it. Moreover, they also bank on knowledge, and extensive research, making this type credible and trusting.

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