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Sage Brand Archetype

The holders of wisdom. The gate keepers of knowledge. The experts and scholars. The Gandulfs and the Yodas. Always on the quest for truth and knowledge. Sat behind dusty books or mixing chemicals in laboratories. This is the archetype known as 'The Sage'.

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 Sage brand archetype building on the work of Margret Mark and Carol S Pearson in their book "The Hero and the Outlaw".

An introduction to the Sage Archetype

Sages are the gatekeepers of knowledge and truth. They seek out and use intelligence, data and analysis to understand the world. They like to backup their understanding with cold hard facts. They value wisdom and objectivity.

  • Desire: to discover truth

  • Goal: to use logic and reason to understand the world

  • Greatest Fear: ignorance

  • Strategy: seek out information and knowledge

  • Vulnerability: non-action

  • Talent: wisdom and intelligence

  • Motto: "The truth will set you free"

They can be overly analytical and hate anything which misleads or that displays ignorance.


The Economist is a Sage brand which positions itself as the gate keeper of knowledge

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

Brands which embody the Sage: Wikipedia, Google, The Economist, University of Cambridge, National Geographic.


According to Mark and Pearson, the Sage sits in the quadrant of archetypes which serve the customer motivation of 'Independence'. It appeals to those who want to feel free and who play by their own rules.

Brand Archetype Map

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