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Ruler Brand Archetype

It's tough at the top. Responsibility. Control. This is the calm and orderly world of 'The Ruler'. The archetypal character who embodies leadership, integrity and order out of chaos.

Archetypes are recognisable patterns of human behaviour which are often amplified in stories. In turn, stories are the way we make sense of the world around us. For those involved in the disipline of 'managing meaning' archetypes become a powerful tool which enable brands to tell powerful stories. They help teams build extraordinary meaning and create remarkable creative work because archetypes help to communicate on a deep psychological level with their audiences. More on the power of archetypes here.

In this post we will review the Ruler brand archetype building on the work of Margret Mark and Carol S Pearson in their book "The Hero and the Outlaw". This archetype is also known as the 'sovereign'.

An introduction to the Ruler Archetype

Wanting to lead their people to success, the Ruler brings order and control out of chaos. They like rules, law and order and use these to great effect. They focus on creating a prosperous family or community. As strong leaders they take their responsibilities seriously.

  • Desire: control

  • Goal: to create a prosperous community

  • Greatest Fear: chaos

  • Strategy: to lead

  • Vulnerability: being too authoritarian

  • Talent: responsibility

  • Motto: "Power isn't everything. It's the only thing."

When you are at the top there is no where else to go but down. Rulers fear anarchy and having their position overthrown.


An example of the ruler archetype in action. Hugo boss is all about looking like a boss.

Examples of images and brands which embody the Ruler Archetype can be found on my specially curated Pinterest board here. Note: I will be frequently updating this board as I come across new Ruler images so bookmark it!

Brands which embody the Ruler: Metropolitan Police, Hugo Boss, IBM, Mercedes Benz.


According to Mark and Pearson, the Ruler sits in the quadrant of archetypes which serve the customer motivation of 'Safety & Stability'. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, this archetype therefore serves one of the basic levels of human needs.

Brand Archetype Map

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