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The Ruler Archetype

~Aparna Khadilkar, Sanjana Ramani, Deepa Soman

The term archetype has its origins in ancient Greek. Its rooted from the word “archein” which means original or old and typos which means “pattern, model or type”.

The psychologist, Carl Jung, used the concept of archetype in his theory of the human psyche. He developed twelve primary types that symbolize basic human motivations and each type has its own set of values, meanings and personality traits. These types are divided on the basis of 4 states i.e. Provide structure to the world, mastery, yearn for paradise & connect with other

One among the twelve of Jung’s archetypes is the Ruler archetype. The motto of the Ruler archetype is “Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” and the core desire here is to control. The goal is to create a prosperous, successful family or community by exercising power. The Ruler archetype seeks to prevent chaos by taking control. A lover of policies and procedures, the Ruler is drawn to things that are substantial, timeless and high quality.

The Ruler archetype is one of the most recognizable and easily corruptible Jungian archetypes. This involves taking leadership & responsibility not only for his own life, but the lives of others Here, the tendency is to see oneself as the role model for others to emulate and help others secure prosperity and security.

As the name implies, the Ruler tends to follow rules and behave “properly”, while expecting others to do the same. Examples of a ruler archetype could range from a protective mother raising a child to a leader in the community to a ruthless dictator, power hungry for control over nations.

The Ruler archetype is driven by the need for power and is the final of the twelve archetypes in the series. The ruler is concerned with creating wealth and prosperity and in order to do that, they must obtain absolute power. The ruler is always at the top of the food chain, and is generally wholly responsible for the atmosphere of the world in which they inhabit. Unlike the hero, the ruler isn’t concerned with a singular purpose – they must weigh the entirety of the community they oversee and as such, are rarely universally loved. The rulers exert their power as a first course of action, with or without counsel.

The Rulers are often known as King, Queen, Boss, Leader, Politician, Role model, Manager, Aristocrat, Power broker, Conductor, Sovereign

The Ruler has a very real fear of being overthrown. This archetype is one of the most dangerous archetypes to fall into shadow. When this archetype falls, they fall with absolute power on their side, and are difficult to overcome without heavy costs to the opposing side.

The Ruler types need to be careful about being authoritative, tyrannical, forceful & manipulative. They should also be wary of getting bogged down in policies and procedures, and becoming overly hierarchical or political.

Examples of Ruler type personalities include Abraham Lincoln, Beyonce, Barack Obama, Margaret Thatcher, etc.

The Ruler archetype is clearly evident in industries such as security, technology, finance and government. They offer high end products or services. They desire to be independent, influential and successful. Likewise, the Ruler consumers are concerned with image, status, or prestige. They gravitate towards Ruler brands because they want the powerful impressions associated with those brands to influence how others perceive them.

For a brand, the Ruler archetype maybe right if it is:

  • A high-status product used by powerful people to enhance their power
  • Makes people more organized
  • Market leader that offers a sense of security and stability in a chaotic world
  • Offers a lifetime guarantee
  • Empowers people to maintain or enhances their grip on power
  • Has a regulatory or protective function
  • Moderately to high priced
  • Want to differentiate it from more populist brands or one that is clear leader in the field

Brands and organization cultures in the ruler archetype include Brooks Brothers, British Airways, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Boss, Rolls Royce, Microsoft, Raymonds, Times of India, Taj Hotels.




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