Brand archetypes’ typology is one of the most common brand classifications. It divides brands into 12 understandable and relatable categories, which determine how a company comes across in its communication. In part 1 of this series of articles we explained what brand archetypes are, why they are so popular and went through the three most self-confident ones: the Ruler, the Hero and the Outlaw. In part 2 we featured the three most human and gentle ones: The Caregiver, The Innocent and the Regular Guy. In this post, we will take a look at the Sage, the Creator and the Jester.
The Sage, the Creator and the Jester seem to be quite far from each other. However, what makes them fall into the same group is the fact that they are not self-absorbed, and want to make the world around them a better place to live by contributing something valuable – knowledge, expertise & understanding (the Sage), craftsmanship, creativity & innovation (the Creator) or fun, light-heartedness & entertainment (the Jester).
Find out below what the three archetypes are all about:
Brands in the Sage archetype want to be perceived as wise and knowledgeable, and play on the connotations of learning, expertise, science and mastery in their communication. They have an underlying desire to find truth and their goal is to get a better understanding of the world around them and share this knowledge with everyone. Typical examples of brands based on the Sage archetype include universities and education publishers. A few big tech brands at least to some extent are based on the Sage archetype as well, one of them being Google.
Google is on a mission “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. With its diverse portfolio of products, Google helps people learn more about the world around them and enables them to find any information they need. Whether you’re using Google Search, checking vocabulary via Google Translate or getting directions on Google Maps, the internet giant is often the most reliable source of information.
A brand not as obviously considered a part of the Sage archetype is L’Oréal. As expected, beauty is a key pillar of L’Oréal’s brand strategy, but it’s not the sole focal point. L’Oréal’s second leg is innovation. The brand isn’t quiet about the fact that it invests a lot of time, money and resources into research and technology, in an effort to make its products more effective and advanced, while also making sure they’re more socially responsible.
The Creator archetype’s remit is creating, building and innovating things. Creator brands emphasise in their communication their production process, craftsmanship, artistry, innovation or entrepreneurship. Some of them are proud of their products just because of the way they were created (e.g. high fashion luxury brands), while some place a lot of focus on how they enable self-expression (e.g. a lot of FMCG beverage brands).
Lego is almost self-explanatory when it comes to clarifying why it’s placed in the Creator archetype. Its product is one of the most popular creative toys in the world and the company’s mission “to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow” proves that the brand is truly committed to developing the creativity of children, and stimulating their imagination.
Another example of a Creator brand, which represents a category rarely associated with creativity, is Nescafé. Nescafé prides itself on its pioneering and innovative spirit. Over the years, the brand has developed more than 5000 products satisfying different taste, usage and budget needs: from more sophisticated, premium blends, to cold beverages to coffee machines, to drinks on the go, to modern coffee shops. Nescafé’s brand strategy is built around the idea of the new beginnings: new ideas, new ventures, new connections, friendships and relationships, all of which can simply happen over a cup of Nescafé coffee. It’s about triggering inspiration and new opportunities and it’s summed up in the company’s tagline – “It all starts with a Nescafé”.
Clearly, the Jester is the most lighthearted of the three archetypes. As any traditional jester would, brands in the archetype take pride in entertaining others, and focus heavily on humour, joy and spontaneity.
A well-known example of a Jester brand is Pepsi. When compared to its biggest rival, Coca-Cola (the Innocent archetype), Pepsi has a much more humorous tone in its brand communication. While Coca-Cola is about happiness, Pepsi is about fun. It can be seen how Pepsi lives and breathes the Jester archetype in its official brand statement, which declares “over 100 years of fun and refreshment”. The light-hearted element of their marketing can also be seen on their packaging, which uses emojis and social media references, including hashtags.
Another example of a Jester brand is BuzzFeed. What would the internet be now without listicles, online quizzes, memes, gifs and all the “LOLs” and “OMG!s” which BuzzFeed has popularised to the satisfaction of its audience? BuzzFeed, despite the fact that it recently tries to be a bit more more “grown-up” in order to be taken more seriously, most of the time is a cheerful and positive media brand, that focuses on entertainment and shareability.
In the last article of our four part series, we’ll take a look at a few “extraordinary” archetypes – the Explorer, the Magician and the Lover, which declare that the simple, everyday life is not for them and, because of that, they need to: find a better, more adventurous world (Explorer), transform it to something more magical (the Magician) or simply fill it with love and passion (the Lover).
Read part 4.
For more examples of brands based on different types of archetypes, go to BrandStruck, where each brand strategy analysis has at least one archetype assigned to it.
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Magda Adamska is the founder of BrandStruck.
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