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The Meaning of Marketing: The 12 Archetypes, Pt. 2

Written By Lindsay Isler

February 5, 2020

In yesterday’s post, we tackled the first three archetypal identities—the Innocent, the Explorer and the Sage—as outlined in The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes. The book categorizes the next three archetypal identities as the Hero, Outlaw, and Magician. They share a desire to “take action and exert power” against what they have deemed “some limiting, restrictive, or harmful reality.” These brands prioritize mastery over belonging, stability, and independence by challenging accepted norms according to their own prevailing convictions. The Hero and Magician deviate in often more attractive and glamorous ways than the Outlaw, who resorts to jarring methods. 

The Hero

Credit: USMC,

Daring and courageous, the Hero pushes the boundaries of society for its greater good. The Hero brand, which champions a framework of beliefs or “communicates some value that ennobles life,” tends to attract consumers of a similar mindset. To truly embody the Hero, a company must maintain the presence and strength of their convictions through every aspect of their work.

The United States Marine Corp is a clear example of the Hero identity. Upholding distinct, non-negotiable values while placing critical focus on effective training, the Marine Corp balances the Hero’s desire to push and strengthen society without sacrificing honor and conviction in the process. They state: “Honor, courage and commitment are the core values that drive the actions of every Marine, but is the fighting spirit within that ensures victory.” The Marines settle for nothing less than external and internal victories.  

The Outlaw

Like the Hero, the Outlaw also breaks from cultural norms in pursuit of deeper values. Individuals who are familiar with the experience of alienation from their respective communities generally relate to the Outlaw identity. Their sense of estrangement subsequently results in brands which are not harried by image management and are willing to adopt edgier strategies and campaigns.

Credit: Apple

The Hero and the Outlaw spotlights Apple as an example of the Outlaw persona. Founded by college dropouts, Apple is no stranger to sitting at the outskirts of cultural norms for the sake of creativity. One of their early campaigns, “Think Different,” was even partially born out of a response to IBM’s campaign at the time, “Think.” In many ways, Apple defines their brand as not like the others. Like Robin Hood, they are willing to stray from the “rules” in order to provide the public with accessibility and innovation. 

The Magician

The Magician archetypal identity impacts the world through its appreciation of synchronicity and desire to uncover the connectedness of the universe. Magician brands generally facilitate transformative experiences or “magical moments” and provide products or services which prioritize holistic views of healing and health.

Credit: MasterCard

MasterCard takes up the Magician’s cloak emphatically. MasterCard offers access to priceless moments and the resources needed to make them happen. This statement from the company’s website illustrates the Magician archetype perfectly: “Transforming the way we live: Electronic payments have the ability to create a world with greater opportunities for all. To take us beyond borders, to new markets. Beyond mere moments, to meaningful experiences. That’s the power of a World Beyond Cash. And that’s Priceless.”

Follow along tomorrow as we learn more about the next three archetypes: the Regular Guy/Gal, the Lover, and the Jester.