The Sage and his ice cream maker

The Sage archetype is a powerful focus for brand positioning. But guard against the risks of being a Sage - by learning from brands that do it well. We analyzed the brand extensions of Heston Blumenthal, internationally-acclaimed chef, to give you inspiration and direction.

If your brand fits a Sage profile, it might be described as having an intelligent, inquisitive and dignified personality and have knowledge-based competences. It could be about making breakthroughs by getting to the (scientific) truth or as a voice of authority, giving people advice and direction based on deep knowledge.






Good examples of Sages are Philips and their
science-led innovation...





...or Consumer Reports, with their authoritative independent evaluation and tests.





There are many different ways of using the strengths of a Sage archetype in branding and you can create a unique mix for your own brand.  Of course, the strengths of any brand archetype are countered by potential weaknesses and dangers that the best brands work hard to avoid.

Dangers of Sage Branding

It is useful when looking at your own brand to think about each of your strengths and ask “what would happen if we overdid this?” “What are the dangers of emphasizing just one aspect f our brand?”

For the Sage, two obvious dangers are: overdoing the science and overdoing objective criticism. We call these danger zones “The Cold Expert” and “The Impotent Professor”.

The Cold Expert focuses strongly on science and rationality and forgets about warmth and engaging our emotions. Look again at Philips above. There is a clear science focus but their vision is about people’s lives and if you follow their ‘consumers’ link, you’ll see very engaging and warm communication.

The Impotent Professor isn’t usually an actual professor - just an ‘expert’ who delights in critiquing everyone else’s mistakes but never actually creates anything himself and doesn’t inspire or engage us. Consumer Reports guard against this danger by testing on behalf of everyone to help us make better choices. They are not critiquing  to show that they are experts, they are representing us and guiding us to the best ways forward.

In tough, competitive markets, coldness and lack of creativity are two things to guard against if you are building or strengthening your Sage brand.  Let’s look at a Sage brand that has managed that balance well.

The Heston Blumenthal brand

Heston Blumenthal is an internationally-acclaimed celebrity chef who owns The Fat Duck 3-star Michelin restaurant in England.

We follow Heston’s brand closely. He was a perfect inspirational case study for one of our retail clients when we worked with them on creating customer service and store design strategies for their own Sage brand. (Also, opento’s office happens to be just around the corner from his Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck.)

He is known for his multi-sensory dining experiences, such as his Sound of the Sea dish where diners listen to a recording of seaside sounds while eating a fish dish and for his use of unexpected combinations in dishes, such as his bacon-and-egg ice cream.

He has a strong Sage brand profile but combines it with both creativity and a light, playful style that has already helped his brand extend beyond the restaurant kitchen into books, television programs and a range of cooking ingredients.

Extending a Sage brand

Where’s the next smart place for the Heston Blumenthal brand to extend? Home kitchen equipment, of course. Many famous chefs attach their names to knives and pots and pans. But Heston’s extension is a masterclass in building your product offer to enhance your core archetype.

Let’s analyze closely how the brand has been brought to life in kitchen equipment.

Smart Scoop™ Ice Cream Maker

There are 16 products in the range, including mixers, toasters and blenders. Like all of them, the ice cream maker is designed with precision fit to the brand.

Firstly, the name “Smart Scoop”.  This is not an ordinary ice cream maker, it's an intelligent ice cream maker as befits a Sage.

Secondly, the breakthrough science. This is “the first ice cream maker that automatically senses the hardness of the mixture”.  A technological superiority linked directly to a known customer pain point / job-to-be-done.

So far, so Sage.

But then there is the beautiful added touch that brings lightness and fun to the Sageness: “It can even play an ice cream van tune when it’s ready!”

You’ll find similar touches in other products in the range: a ‘quadrafin cone’ in the juicer, ‘A Bit More’ option on the toaster and the Scraper mixer as the key to “scrumptious cakes, biscuits, bread and pastries”.

As if to emphasis the archetypal nature of the whole product range, they’ve named it: Sage by Heston Blumenthal.

It’s a beautiful example of how to strengthen your Sage brand through extending your offer while keeping core personality intact.


Need some help to make sure your product and services offer helps build your brand? We have a range of products to help you do just that. Take a look at them here.