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Exploring Brand Archetypes: The Magician

Danny Ruspandini - Impact Labs Australia
Danny R.

Yesterday I talked about the concept of Brand Archetypes.

We’re going to dive into all 12 of them over the next few days.

A quick word about insensitive terminology

While the success stories of this framework are everywhere, the concept of Archetypes has had plenty of critics.

You probably spotted the stereotypes and built-in sexism (like the “Everyman”). So even if you don’t ultimately adopt this exact framework, I hope that it helps to develop something more suited to your organisation.

The terms are ultimately not important - adopt the concepts that work for you and throw out the terminology.

Examples

There are a lot of articles online with examples using very well-known companies. These can help illustrate the archetype, but I’d like to add a few lesser-known brands and even some public figures where relevant, to show just how far these ideas can go.

Archetype 1: The Magician.

The underlying human desire of a Magician brand is power, which is probably misleading at first... think magical Genie from Aladdin power, not Dumpy Donald Trumpy power.

Obvious examples: Disney, Cirque du Soleil.

Other examples: Dyson, Polaroid.

Magician brands take the seemingly impossible, and make it possible. One of the mottos is “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

Disney and Cirque create wonder and entertainment by pulling tricks out of their bag that often seem impossible.

Dyson and Polaroid by comparison, create “magic” through products that do things that perhaps don’t seem impossible, but can leave you wondering.

How does a camera print out a photo? How does that tiny fan blast me with that much air from across the room? It’s a practical application of innovative concepts - great engineering, great goals, and great design all rolled together.

Less obvious examples

Geeks2U are basically mobile IT support. They fix computer problems in-home for non-techy people. For techy folk, these guys won’t be magical in the slightest... but for the poor soul who can’t connect to their printer, they’re wizards.

Dr Karl has so much science in his head, and puts science into accessible and fun language that everyone can understand. Even science people like him.

Grumpy Donuts (a local donut shop) takes flavours like buttered toast, or bacon, and turns them into yes, donuts.

(Big asterix here: This all just my humble opinion. These brands may not intentionally be following the Magician archetype, and it’s possible they’re better matched to a different one, but for the purpose of examples, I think they work.)

Can anyone become a Magician brand?

If you’re taking something that seems impossible and making it possible, then maybe!

The trick is not to force yourself into any of these archetypes. The right one will strike you when you see it.

Did this help? Can you think of better examples than the ones above?

Please reply let me know.

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