Establishing A Brand Voice: The Ruler Archetype
Tammy Slaughter wrote this article
Powerful brands are actually individuals with their own unique personalities.
If they weren’t, no one would be able to tell them apart from a line of products and services offering the same thing. This goes further than just relatability, tapping into our collective subconscious by mirroring our shared human needs.
It helps us as business operators and marketers to create consumer connections that are practically instinctual.
In 1954, Carl Jung described this phenomenon as ‘archetypes.’ These can be observed repeating across cultures and generations over the decades, helping to shape our collective human experience. From historical figures, celebrities and some of your favorite movies in Hollywood — to all across the literary pages, archetypes can be seen in our most beloved (and bemoaned) personas.
Archetypes are essentially the heart of a brand in the eyes of the consumer, conveying meaning that makes customers relate to them as if they actually were alive in some way.
We explore the importance of archetypal brand marketing in-depth in another blog post in this series. There is a lot to cover here!
In this post, we’ll explore the Ruler archetype and its different subarchetypes. If that concept is unfamiliar to you, head to the aforementioned blog post to brush up on the basics!
Brands Seeking to Help Structure the World
While different in their approach, this group of archetypes share the same overarching goal: providing structure to the world. Whether through service, control, or innovation, they are the providers, leaders and builders among us.
Weaving a narrative proving exactly why they’re leaders of their industry, Ruler brands often suggest to their customers that they can be rulers, too.
The underlying goal? Prevent chaos by taking control as a role model, creating prosperity and shared stability.
Ruler brands are driven by an innate desire to be leaders in their industry.
Examples of Ruler Brands
– Patek Philippe
– Seen in many high-end products or luxury brands
One Brand to Rule Them All: The Ruler Archetype Family
The Ruler archetype can be viewed from a few different angles, depending on which specific attributes are at play.
Confidence is key — always in control, their superiority is backed up by proven expertise or competence. This subarchetype strives to create productive, harmonious environments. Its greatest potential weakness? The fear of losing control, therefore overcompensating by becoming too authoritarian.
Real-World Example: Mercedes-Benz The Best or Nothing
Regal, with an air of prestige, Sovereign brands hold fast to tradition. They’re always controlled and proper in the public eye. The Sovereign sub-archetype can fall into a sense of entitlement if not careful, as their work carries a great deal of responsibility and they must strive to act accordingly.
Real-World Example: The Golden Globe Awards
Acting as a diplomat, the Ambassador sub-archetype can often be seen working to resolve disputes. Through strategic maneuvers, they tackle complex issues or relationships to restore collective stability. Many brands will employ real-life ambassadors to inspire a sense of FOMO and greatest professionalism in their marketing. The challenge for this sub-archetype type lies in the potential to misuse its influence.
Real-World Example: Colgate Toothpaste Most Recommended Brand By Dentists
With discerning wisdom to challenge wrongs that need to be righted (thus providing structure), the Judge is a research-driven brand that is often strong in communication and strategy. Striking a balance between compassion and justice, they can be seduced by power, so the Judge should make a conscious effort to remain objective and impartial.
Real-World Example: Consumer Reports Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit member organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace.
The Patriarch acts as head of the family, maintains order, and provides the ultimate protection. With leadership and courage, this subarketype takes care of all those under it, inspiring feelings of security. Can often be seen in Ruler brands with more ‘masculine’ overtones, but this is not a prerequisite. Patriarchs should be careful not to fall into a tyrannical leadership style to maintain the high level of expected achievement.
Real-World Example: Rolex A Crown for Every Achievement
Marketing for Ruler Brands
Marketing efforts draw on our human need to feel important, empowered, and in control — with a wide spectrum of ways the Ruler archetype expresses itself.
– Noble and sophisticated brand voice
– Establishes an aura of prestige
– Often promises safety, security, or heightened sense of status
Common Brand Colors
– Gold: Wealth, Wisdom, Valuable, Tradition
– Silver/ Light Gray: Glamorous, High Tech, Graceful, Sleek, Wisdom, Intellectual, Knowledge, Refined, Neutral
– Black/ Dark Grey: Class, Elegance, Formal, Protection, Security, Intelligence, Solid, Power, Mystery, Dominance, Authority, Sophisticated
From color palettes to typography and imagery, honing in on your brand’s ‘voice’ will both accent and inform all of your decisions when it comes to messaging and presentation.
Evolution of Ruler Brands
There are different levels to be achieved in a given archetype, depending on the strength of the displayed persona, and the brand’s evolution.
The general rule of thumb being, the higher level attained, the more success and wider net that can be cast to attract consumers.
Level 1: Taking responsibility for one’s own life, and preaching for others to do the same.
Level 2: Striving to become a leader in your industry.
Level 3: Becoming a leader at a higher level within the community, government or world at large.
Is Your Brand A Ruler?
If this post resonates with you and your company’s mission and values, it’s entirely possible!
Many brands possess archetypal qualities within their messaging that they’re often entirely unaware of.
This is because brand storytelling is far from a new art form, but it is more and more essential to achieve success in a highly competitive marketplace.
So, learn it. Know where your brand falls in this spectrum. And use it to establish marketing guidelines and company operations at a cultural level.
To start, ask yourself these questions:
– Which archetype do your competitors most resemble?
– Which archetypes do your customers resemble?
– What drives them (customers and competitors)?
– How can your brand do things differently amongst your competitors?
– What role does your brand play in customers’ lives?
Then, look within.
– What is your team culture like? (their personalities, interests, etc.)
– What motivates team members to come in for work?
– What are your company values?
Know any Ruler brands?
Let us know in the comments, and keep reading our ‘Branding’ series if you don’t see your brand represented here!
About ChopDawg.com: Since 2009, we have helped create 350+ next-generation apps for startups, Fortune 500s, growing businesses, and non-profits from around the globe. Think Partner, Not Agency.
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