The Sage Archetype

-Pallavi Salvi

To know is to grow. Eagerness to know, seek information, understand, imbibe, inculcate and then pass-on, teach, explain, share – Here is a Sage personality; methodical and objective. An unquenchable thirst to know more; they have time, history and proven strategies on their side.

A constant desire to discover the truth, they use intelligence and analysis to understand the world. Their strategy is to seek out information and knowledge, become self-reflective and understand thinking processes. Their greatest gift is wisdom and intelligence. They are a trusted source of information and benevolent mentors.

Remember the great wizard Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings? He is a good example of a Sage personality. Some others from this archetype are Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, President Abdul Kalaam, Amartya Sen, Mark Zuckerberg, Barkha Dutt.

Some may think that Sage does seem similar to a Hero or Explorer archetype. Sage is an essential driver of the Hero’s Journey, delegating the task of changing the world to their often younger, more naive and eager fellows. The Sage differs from the Creator in that they do not always use their knowledge to change the world, and very rarely do they desire to create something new––in this, the Sage might be closer to the Explorer. While the Explorer’s goals are outward, the Sage’s are inward.

How Sages Bring Their Brand to Life – To connect with their potential customers, they avoid sounding stupid. Instead, they communicate using facts, higher level vocabulary, and deep imagery. Their tone of voice is intelligent, factual, authoritative, and researched.

Sage brands provide expertise or information to customers, encourage customers to think, are based on new scientific findings or esoteric knowledge, are supported by research-based facts, want to differentiate themselves from others whose quality or performance is suspect. Even a 5-year-old child knows that when you need an answer to something – you Google it! Can there be a greater marker of brand success than becoming a verb? Also TED Talks, CNN, Nat Geo, IBM, HBR, Colgate, Dr. Fixit, Asian Paints are some examples of Sage brands.

Sage is like a guiding light, but as every light creates a shadow, so does a Sage faces fear of becoming opinionated, intellectually isolated, disconnected from reality and arrogant. But as long as the light shines bright on you, there is no better and competent Guru! The Oracle!


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