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The Sage


More typically, Sage marketing is dignified and subdued, with an elite air to it. Think, for example, of the way Ivy League colleges are promoted. Public relations efforts focus on getting out the word about important research projects conducted at the college, the accomplishments of faculty and graduates, and the difficulty of getting hired for a job there or being admitted as a student. The message is “Not very many people are smart enough to be here.” Furthermore, although scholarships are designed to make certain that meritorious students from moderate circumstances can attend, the high cost of tuition gives out the message: The education provided here is expensive because it is the best available. Similarly tasteful and elite marketing approaches are characteristic of museums, like the Corcoran or the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and of symphonies, ballet companies, and other places offering cultural opportunities. Even in the world of conventional brands, an air of mystery or mystique can contribute to the aura of the Sage brand. For example, for many years, Bell Labs carried an aura of “communication genius,” even though most people didn’t have any idea what was done there. But its very existence “lifted” parent AT&T, as a result of the assumption that it was somehow “ahead of the curve” in terms of scientific understanding. Of course, the most convincing way to appeal to Sages is to have your brand recommended by an expert. The Palm Pilot (which, in other ways, is a Creator brand) was launched by demonstrating the product at industry conferences and offering it at half price to opinion leaders. Predictably, experts in the field spread the word, with the result that it took just a little more than a year to sell a million Palm Pilots. The Sage Organization Sage organizations are often found in universities, research labs, think tanks, and companies that see themselves as learning systems (as described by Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline)6—that is, organizations whose structure and values promote continuous learning. 6. Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (New York: Doubleday/Currency, 1990).

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype