All About the Magician
Let’s start with the obvious. The Magician archetype is easy to draw on if there are ancient or exotic origins or special rituals involved. But a wizard in a pointed hat does not reflect the fullness of this archetype — not even close.
At its core, the Magician sets out to achieve objectives by applying the fundamental laws of how something works in order to get results. This includes both supernatural and scientific applications. The result is often transformative.
The Magician genuinely believes that there is more — something greater than us, greater than what we see — and often stands in defiance of perceived “reality”, believing that the limits we have are mostly self-imposed.
Often perceived as intelligent and knowledgeable, the Magician may appear to have special access to secret or elusive information. Even if the application is scientific, the Magician’s ability to manipulate forces such as gravity, electromagnetism, or radiation feels magical to others simply because the concepts are mysterious, difficult to grasp, or invisible to the naked eye. Think about any major industry-shaping invention (the light bulb, the airplane, Bluetooth), and you’ll find the Magician archetype activated in every one. This type of mystique often leaves others in awe of or inspired by the Magician, particularly as the Magician uses its abilities to make dreams come true.
The Magician Brand in Action
Magician brands foster “magical moments” — experiences that feel special, novel, and exciting — as well as more lasting change. Magician brands help people transform…
- from sickness and pain to the picture of health (pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals , herbal remedies)
- from crows feet and graying hair to the regained beauty of youth (beauty products and cosmetic surgeons)
- from feeling lost and confused to total enlightenment (spiritual gurus, churches, life coaches)
- from dirty and neglected to fresh and sparkly (cleaning companies, restoration services, hygiene products)
- from ultimate chaos to perfect peace (spas, retreats, travel agencies)
- from financial lack to bountiful prosperity (MLM opportunities, career agencies)
- from inefficient to productive (technology industry)
So it should make sense that the Magician archetype is seen in brands that transform and fascinate, such as Walt Disney, MAC Cosmetics, Dyson, and Polaroid.
Magician brands have grandiose vision – something that others may even see as impossible – but Magician brands believe if they apply the right formula, success is inevitable.
The marketing of a Magician brand usually reflects this grandiose feel. Whether ethereal, expansive, or magnificent, imagery like a sky full of stars or a rainbow spanning the heavens are intended to evoke feelings of awe.
Magician brands can easily come under attack by competitors, the media, or public opinion, simply for the fact that they promise transformation that may be difficult to objectively prove. Good advice for a Magician brand is to avoid the temptation to generate attention with edgy or extreme marketing. Doing so will alienate or distract consumers and leave the brand with only a fringe following, missing the opportunity to truly connect with consumers by focusing on the true transformational purpose of the brand.
The Different Levels of the Magician Archetype
Each of the 12 different archetypes can be expressed at varying levels. The lower levels are less mature while higher levels are more developed.
Level 1 involves experiencing “magical moments” that leaves one feeling mesmerized, satisfied, happy, or transformed in some way, though generally short-term or superficial.
Level 2 brings the experience of “flow” – a state of being in which you are fully immersed and “at one” with what you are doing. The mental, physical, and spiritual are all in sync working in perfect accord toward reaching the vision.
Level 3 brings miracles or the complete manifestation of a vision.
All in the Family
Within the Magician family are different facets that can emerge based on the predominance of particular attributes. The book Archetypes in Branding labels these as sub-archetypes, and lists a total of five (including the primary Magician) in the family.
Dream big! That’s the motto of the Magician. Charismatic, influential, and very perceptive, the Magician turns dreams or ideas into reality for others. The Magician relies on forces beyond the natural to get results, and must beware not to fall into manipulation or trickery in the process.
The Alchemist uses a combination of fact and intuition in order to transmute one thing into something else entirely. The Alchemist values purity and perfection, wanting everything it touches to become pure gold. The scientific and the spiritual mesh to give this sub-archetype a belief that there are no limits. Nothing is impossible!…which may lead to the Alchemist’s weakness, if not careful — a temptation to engage in fraud.
The Scientist is passionate and curious, wanting to see what things are made of, and uses that knowledge to be a change agent in the world. A logical and questioning sub-archetype, the Scientist has to “see it to believe it”. One thing it has to be careful of: missing the forest for the trees in its quest to dig deep into science and beyond.
Using a structured approach to problem solving, the Engineer transforms creative energy into practical expression. Logical and curious, the Engineer is the sub-archetype to turn to for solutions to everyday problems.
The Innovator, with a seemingly limitless ability to dream, is an idea machine. With high intellect and curiosity, the Innovator thrives on change and is not afraid of taking risks to get to a solution. Even though the Innovator has willpower and will perform in-depth research, this sub-archetype may be challenged to stay focused on the task at hand.