The Rebel Brand Archetype

The Rebel Brand Archetype (or the outlaw) is the one that will have your mother in a whirl. Any excuse to indulge my David Bowie obsession! But who better to talk about when we have a look at The Rebel. The rebel talks of revolution over evolution. Just like Bowie’s career – rejecting the normal to do things on their own terms. They disrupt the status quo, kick over tables and sneer at conformity.

I spoke previously about how Archetypes are a useful tool to get started coming up with a brand persona. They’re a handy shortcut to provide an easily recognisable personality that can help people resonate with your brand and make that immportant unconscious connection. The challenge though, is to not to lean on it too heavily and create carbon copies of the same archetype. The secret is nuance and niche.

What motivates a rebel?

The rebel brand archetype seeks liberation. Their real talent is freedom and they will disrupt, destroy or shock you to achieve it. You might want to use The Rebel Brand Archetype as a starting point if you want to:

  • Challenge injustice
  • Kick back on conformity
  • Change what isn’t working

Don’t be limited by that! Sometimes taking an Archetype where it shouldn’t belong can take an interesting turn.

What would a Rebel energy company look like? Or a Rebel grocery store?

Instantly – there’s a billion fun ideas you could explore there! Sign up to my Q&A if you’d like to talk more about them!

Who buys rebel brands?

The customer motivation for rebel brands is mastery and esteem (Mark, Pearson, 2001). Your customers want to take ownership, feel in control, have a sense of achievement, and to feel independent.

If you’re going down the rebel route – what can you do to embody that into your business plan? This is how you begin feeding your brand strategy. Creating a “What you do do”, “How you do it”, and “who for” that stands out and is distinctive. In marketing terms – It’s the Product, Price, and Place.

Bitesize Rebel Brand Archetype

  • Desire: revolution
  • Motivation: Liberation
  • Goal: to change or destroy what is not working
  • Strategy: disrupt, destroy or shock
  • Talent: freedom
  • Vulnerability: going too far
  • Motto: “Rules are made to be broken”


  • Harley Davidson
  • Virgin
  • Smirnoff
  • Rimmel

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Image accreditation: AVRO, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, via Wikimedia Commons

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