The Magician

From the forthcoming book, Mass Behaving: Unlocking the Secrets of Shifting Behaviors with Archetypes. Learn more here. 

The third archetype within the Change quadrant brings a sense of mystery and alchemy to the mix. The Magician is a force that uses metamorphosis to usher in the new and change perceptions. Brands that leverage The Magician are enigmatic and enamoring. Here’s why:

Motivations

The Magician archetype is propelled by a profound yearning for understanding, transformation, and the uncovering of hidden truths. Their motivations are rooted in the pursuit of knowledge, mastery, and the power to manifest change. They are driven by a desire to bridge the gap between the ordinary and the extraordinary, to explore the mysteries of existence, and to wield their insights for the betterment of themselves and the world.

Examples

Merlin: The legendary wizard Merlin, often featured in Arthurian legends, personifies the Magician archetype. His motivation is to harness the mystical forces of the universe in order to guide and empower King Arthur in his quest for justice and harmony.

Marie Curie: Marie Curie fundamentally transformed our understanding of the nature of matter and energy. Her groundbreaking work on radioactivity led to the discovery of new elements, such as radium and polonium, and challenged existing scientific paradigms. This transformation of scientific understanding had a profound impact on the fields of physics and chemistry.

Steve Jobs: The co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs, embodied the Magician archetype in the realm of technology and design. His motivation was to create groundbreaking products that bridged the gap between technology and art, transforming the way we interact with the world.

Brand Examples

Magic captures everyone’s hearts. From Harry Potter to I Dream of Genie, there’s a desire for magic innately in all of us. As an archetype, the Magician isn’t frequently relegated to specific industries like other archetypes out there. Nevertheless, here are some uncommon examples of the Magician archetype in action.

Snickers: As a product brand, Snickers doesn’t tout a Purpose statement like its parent brand, Mars Candies. However, their advertising, which began as a mere slogan, has now shifted to a defining position. “You’re not you when you’re hungry” was a clever angle for their advertising campaign back in 2013; ever since, Snickers has defined itself as the go-to for hungry “monsters” looking to metamorphose back into themselves. And therein lies the magic.

Red Bull: What does Red Bull do for you? It gives you wings. Once again, we look to an advertising campaign slogan that redefined this product’s position in the audience’s mind. The brand claims to give you the energy you need when you need it, including giving you metaphorical wings. Talk about a metamorphosis! Never mind that pesky lawsuit by some dimwit who thought they’d literally get wings. The phrase is the epitome of the Magician archetype in effect.

Spanx: This female-focused fashion and undergarment brand was built to “ensure you look as good as you feel.” Their passion is in their belief that they “will make the world a better place… one butt at a time!” While their product contours bodies to elevate self-esteem and self-image, their brand has solidified itself as a change-seeking, Magician-fueled powerhouse.

Strengths

Wisdom and Insight: Magician brands possess deep wisdom and insight into the mysteries of life and existence. They are often sought after for their profound knowledge and ability to see beyond the surface.

Transformational Power: Magician brands have the power to bring about significant transformation, whether in themselves or in the world around them. Their ability to manifest change is a testament to their strength.

Visionary Thinking: Magician brands are often visionary, able to see possibilities and solutions that elude others. Their innovative thinking can lead to groundbreaking discoveries and solutions.

Healing and Restoration: Many Magician brands are skilled in the arts of healing, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. They possess the ability to restore balance and well-being.

Mastery: Magician brands strive for mastery in their chosen field of study or expertise, constantly seeking to refine their skills and knowledge.

Challenges

Isolation: The Magician’s quest for knowledge and transformation can lead to isolation, as brands and their leaders may become consumed by their pursuits. That consumption can lead to distancing the brand and its leadership from culture building internally and partnerships on the external side of things.

Hubris: Their deep understanding and power can sometimes lead to arrogance or a sense of superiority, making it challenging for them to connect with others who may not share their insights. This is especially dangerous in marketing where connectivity is so key.

Ethical Dilemmas: The pursuit of power and knowledge can sometimes lead to ethical dilemmas. Magician brands must grapple with questions of how to responsibly use their abilities and platform and for the greater good.

Burnout: The weight of their knowledge and the responsibility to bring about change can be overwhelming at times, leading to stress and burnout among the team.

Detachment: Detachment from the mundane world can make it difficult for Magician brands to relate to the everyday concerns and struggles of the team and the Patrons alike. 

In summary, the Magician archetype is a seeker of wisdom, transformation, and the mysteries of existence. Their strengths include profound insight, transformative power, and visionary thinking, but they must also contend with potential challenges such as isolation, hubris, and ethical dilemmas. Magicians remind us of the power of knowledge and the importance of responsible use of that knowledge for the betterment of all.

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