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the sage archetype

The Sage Brand Archetype

The Sage brand archetype is a thinker. A philosopher. Their top priority is cognition and critical thinking. They seek to understand the world around them and doing so is their grandest adventure. To do this, they bring to bear great intelligence and analytical skills. They can be quick—sometimes too quick—to offer a fact or quote in any situation.

The sage brand seeks knowledge and shares that knowledge with others. In so doing, they aim to build a strong, loyal following that will keep them going forever. The sage brand dislikes misinformation, ambiguity and misleading claims. Sage brands exhibit higher than average insight.

These brands excel at using language and symbolism. They often differentiate themselves by publishing case studies and other pieces of literature that display their knowledge.

Brand Promise: provide wisdom and guidance 

Goal: To educate. 

Strategy: Become a thought leader.

Personality to project: the wise man, the expert, the investigator, the mentor 

Ideal Customer: Sage customers see value in lots of different sources of information. While they get their knowledge from many sources, they’ll come back to a valuable source again and again. The sage brand seeks to profit from this loyalty. 

Color: BLUE

Weakness: This brand can come across as a know-it-all, their image can be compromised by incompetent executives, and they can be seen as out of touch.

Suggested Color Palette

This is just a suggested palette. Colors should be selected based on a robust brand strategy and should be part of the brand identity development.

Screenshot at
CREATOR brand archtype mood board


TED logo design x

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It’s a non-profit, but it’s a stellar example of a sage brand. TED features talks by intellectuals from all walks of life, and they have a very loyal—and rapidly growing—fan base.


oprah logo design

Since the late ‘90s, the Oprah brand has focused on positioning itself as a source of wisdom and knowledge. Oprah utilizes a television network, magazine and book club to maintain her position as a thought leader. 


toyota logo design x

Since 2016, Toyota has been trying to differentiate itself from competitors like Honda and Hyundai by investing heavily in automated driving. The company has devoted over 1-billion dollars to the Toyota Research Institute.

How can my brand demonstrate wisdom and provide guidance in its specific industry or niche?

Demonstrating wisdom and guiding a Sage brand archetype involves positioning your brand as a reliable source of information and insight within your industry. Here are several strategies to achieve this:

  1. Content Creation: Regularly publish high-quality, in-depth content demonstrating your expertise and knowledge. This could be blog posts, whitepapers, research studies, or case studies that tackle complex topics in your field. The content should provide valuable insights your audience can’t easily find elsewhere.
  2. Thought Leadership: Strive to be at the forefront of your industry. This could involve speaking at industry events, publishing articles in reputable publications, or contributing to industry research. By consistently sharing your insights and predictions, your brand can become a go-to source for guidance.
  3. Education and Training: Offer workshops, webinars, courses, or other educational resources that help your audience learn more about your field. This not only demonstrates your expertise but also positions your brand as a mentor that is interested in assisting others to grow and succeed.
  4. Transparent Communication: Be open about your processes, strategies, and decision-making. This transparency can show your audience that you deeply understand your field and are willing to share your knowledge with them.
  5. High-Quality Products/Services: Ensure that your products or services are of the highest quality and incorporate your field’s latest knowledge and technology. This can prove your brand’s competence and commitment to excellence.
  6. Customer Service: Provide top-notch customer service informed by your brand’s deep understanding of the industry and your customers’ needs. This can further position your brand as a helpful guide in your field.

Remember, the goal of a Sage brand is not just to demonstrate wisdom but also to share that wisdom with others. So, any strategy you choose should involve disseminating knowledge and helping your audience make informed decisions.

How can my brand position itself as a thought leader and build a strong, loyal following like the Sage brands TED and Oprah have done?

Positioning your brand as a thought leader and building a loyal following, similar to Sage brands like TED and Oprah, involves establishing credibility, offering value, and fostering a sense of community. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Provide Valuable Content: TED and Oprah have become thought leaders by consistently providing valuable, insightful, and unique content. TED does this through its talks, which feature experts discussing innovative ideas, while Oprah does this through various platforms, like her TV show, magazine, and book club. Your brand can do something similar by creating content that is not only educational but also inspires, challenges, or provides new perspectives.
  2. Host Events or Platforms for Discussion: TED, for instance, is known for its conferences and talks. You could host webinars and conferences or create online forums where experts in your industry can share their insights and engage with your audience. This allows for exchanging ideas and fosters a community around your brand.
  3. Collaborate with Industry Experts: Partner with recognized experts in your field for interviews, guest blog posts, webinars, or podcasts. This provides valuable content for your audience and helps establish your brand’s credibility.
  4. Engage with Your Audience: Building a loyal following requires developing a relationship with your audience. Engage with them on social media, respond to their comments or inquiries, ask for feedback, and show that you value their input. This level of interaction can help foster a sense of community and loyalty around your brand.
  5. Consistency is Key: Both TED and Oprah have consistently provided high-quality content and stayed true to their brand’s mission and values. This consistency builds trust, which is crucial for developing a loyal following. Ensure that all your brand’s activities and content align with your brand’s mission and values.
  6. Innovation and Adaptability: Thought leadership requires staying ahead of trends and adapting to changes in your industry. Be open to innovation, and be ready to pivot your strategies when necessary. This shows your audience that you’re knowledgeable but also forward-thinking and adaptable.

Remember, thought leadership isn’t achieved overnight. It takes time, effort, and a genuine commitment to providing value and fostering growth in your industry.

What strategies ensure the brand doesn’t come across as a know-it-all, a potential weakness of the Sage archetype?

The Sage archetype’s pursuit of knowledge and desire to share that knowledge with others can sometimes result in the brand appearing as a “know-it-all”, which can be off-putting to some. Here are some strategies to avoid this pitfall:

  1. Humility: Even while sharing your brand’s expertise and knowledge, it’s essential to maintain a tone of humility. Acknowledge that there’s always more to learn and that your brand doesn’t have all the answers. This can make your brand more relatable and approachable.
  2. Open Dialogue: Encourage feedback and honest discussions with your audience. Show that you’re not just interested in teaching but also in learning from others. This can create a more balanced relationship with your audience, where they feel their opinions and insights are valued.
  3. Empathy: Understand the needs, concerns, and challenges of your audience. Tailor your content and communications to address these. This shows that you’re not just sharing knowledge for the sake of it but to genuinely help your audience.
  4. Accessible Language: While it’s essential to demonstrate your expertise, avoid using overly complex language or jargon that your audience may not understand. This can come off as pretentious or exclusionary. Instead, strive to make your content as clear and accessible as possible.
  5. Focus on Practical Solutions: Instead of just sharing theoretical knowledge or abstract ideas, focus on providing practical advice and solutions your audience can apply to their lives or businesses. This shows that your brand is knowledgeable, practical, and useful.
  6. Transparency: Be open about your brand’s mistakes and learnings. This can show your audience that your brand, like them, is on a journey of continuous learning and improvement.

By maintaining a humble and open attitude, encouraging dialogue, and focusing on practical and accessible solutions, your brand can avoid the “know-it-all” pitfall and be seen as a valuable and approachable source of wisdom.

How can my brand leverage multiple sources of information to educate its customers, as the Sage archetype’s ideal customers value diverse sources of information?

Leveraging multiple sources of information to educate your customers can be a powerful strategy, especially when your target audience values a diversity of input. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Diverse Content Formats: Utilize a mix of formats to deliver your content, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, webinars, and infographics. Different formats can cater to different learning styles and preferences, increasing the likelihood your content will resonate with a broader audience.
  2. Expert Collaboration: Collaborate with other experts in your field. This could involve guest blog posts, joint webinars, or podcast interviews. Bringing in outside perspectives can enrich your content and give your audience a wider range of insights.
  3. Curated Content: Besides creating your content, share high-quality content from other reputable sources. This could be industry news, research studies, or insightful articles. This shows your audience that you value and promote diverse perspectives, not just your own.
  4. User-Generated Content: Encourage your audience to contribute their content, such as testimonials, case studies, or posts on a community forum. This can provide a more holistic view of your field, including the experiences and insights of your audience.
  5. Research and Data: Use data and research from various sources to inform your content. This enriches your content with evidence-backed insights and demonstrates your commitment to staying informed and up-to-date in your field.
  6. Interactive Learning: Consider interactive educational resources, such as quizzes, workshops, or online courses. These can provide a more engaging and personalized learning experience, catering to individual needs and pace.

By leveraging multiple sources of information in these ways, your brand can provide a rich, well-rounded education to its customers, enhancing its value as a Sage archetype.

How can my brand differentiate itself from competitors, as Toyota has done with its heavy investment in automated driving?

Differentiating your brand from competitors is crucial in any industry and can be achieved through various strategies. Here’s how your brand can stand out, taking inspiration from Toyota’s approach of heavy investment in automated driving:

  1. Innovation: Like Toyota, your brand can strive to be at the forefront of innovation in your industry. This could involve investing in research and development, adopting the latest technologies, or developing new products or services that meet emerging needs or trends.
  2. Expertise and Specialization: Your brand could specialize in a certain area within your industry, developing deep expertise and offering specialized products or services that competitors don’t. This can make your brand the go-to choice for customers seeking that particular product or service.
  3. Value Proposition: Clearly define your brand’s uniqueness and communicate this value proposition to your customers. This could be superior quality, exceptional customer service, sustainability practices, or other unique aspects of your brand that customers will find appealing.
  4. Brand Story and Values: Your brand’s story and values can be a powerful differentiator. Customers often choose brands that they feel align with their values and beliefs. Communicate your brand’s mission, values, and story compellingly and authentically.
  5. Customer Experience: Offer a unique and outstanding customer experience. This could involve a seamless online shopping experience, personalized customer service, or unique in-store experiences. A great customer experience can make your brand stand out and build customer loyalty.
  6. Partnerships and Collaborations: Strategic partnerships or collaborations can help differentiate your brand. For instance, you could collaborate with non-competing brands to offer exclusive products or services, or partner with influencers or experts in your field to reach a wider audience.

Remember, differentiating your brand is more than just being different; it’s about offering unique value that meets and resonates with your customers’ needs.