All About the Ruler
The Ruler archetype seeks to prevent chaos by taking control. Motivated by the desire for safety and security, the Ruler works to get (and keep) power. A lover of policies and procedures, the Ruler is drawn to things that are substantial, timeless, and high quality. This archetype sees itself as a role model for others to emulate and seeks to help others secure prosperity and security.
As the name implies, Rulers tend to follow the rules and behave “properly”, while expecting the same of others. At one end of the spectrum, think about a protective mother raising a child responsibly. At the opposite end is a ruthless dictator, power hungry for control over nations. In between those two extremes is a whole spectrum expressing the archetype at different levels.
For examples of the Ruler archetypes around us, we can look at Donald Trump, Verizon, Microsoft, Rolls Royce, Rolex, and Hugo Boss.
The Ruler Brand in Action
Ruler brands are clearly evident in industries such as security, technology, finance, and government. They are also appropriate for any brand offering high-end products or services. The marketing techniques they use will appeal to the consumers’ desire to be important, influential, and successful. Imagery is often classical, traditional, statuesque, noble, or sophisticated. Pricing is moderate to high.
As you would expect, organizational structure is hierarchical within Ruler brands and roles are clearly defined. These organizations tend to be highly stable, functional, and orderly, but are often incapable of quick response or adaptation because decisions have to go through a chain of command. Ruler brands tend to grow by acquisition, taking over their competitors and swallowing up the little guys.
The Different Levels of the Ruler Archetype
Each archetype has levels. The lower levels are less advanced, while higher levels are more evolved or developed.
Level 1: Taking responsibility for one’s own life.
Level 2: Being the leader of a family or group.
Level 3: Becoming a leader at a higher level within the community or government.
All in the Family
The book Archetypes in Branding includes the Ruler as one of five related sub-archetypes. The different aspects of the Ruler archetype emerge based on the strength of various attributes.
Rulers possess a high degree of confidence and have an innate desire to be leaders. They need to be in control and feel qualified based on proven expertise or competence. This sub-archetype strives to create environments that are productive and harmonious. Its weakness lies in the fear of losing control, and can therefore overcompensate by becoming too authoritarian.
The Sovereign carries an air of prestige and rank. Holding fast to tradition, the Sovereign is controlled and proper in the public eye. While the Sovereign can fall into the trap of entitlement, it carries a great deal of responsibility and strives to act accordingly.
The Judge uses discernment and wisdom to challenge wrongs that need to be righted, thus providing structure to society or environments. With a balance between compassion and justice, the Judge is strong on communication, research, and strategy. However, it can be seduced by power, so the Judge should make a conscious effort to remain objective and impartial.
Acting as a diplomat, the Ambassador sub-archetype works to resolve disputes. The Ambassador strategically maneuvers complex issues or relationships to restore stability on common ground. The challenge for this sub-archetype lies in the potential to misuse its influence.
The Patriarch acts as head of the family, maintains order, and provides protection. With leadership and courage, this sub-archetype takes care of those under it, inspiring feelings of security. However, the Patriarch should be careful not to fall into a tyrannical leadership style.
The Ruler Consumer
Ruler consumers are typically concerned with image, status, or prestige. They gravitate to Ruler brands because they want the powerful impressions associated with those brands to influence how others perceive them. Often natural leaders, Ruler consumers are high achievers with a long list of accomplishments to their name. As such, they also have a lot of responsibility and don’t like taking orders from others. Often Ruler consumers are very patriotic and have a deep appreciation for their country’s laws, traditions, and heritage.
At the lower level, Ruler consumers feel as if the world should cater to them. No waiting in lines, no second-tier status, no asking twice. At the higher level, those that don’t expect special treatment will at least appreciate it.
Brands that want to reach Ruler consumers should consider how they can make them feel important (through VIP status or a platinum club membership), as well as focus on the stability they can give them.