September 21, 2016

Exploring Brand Archetypes: The Outlaw

September 21, 2016

Exploring Brand Archetypes: The Outlaw

Branding, Brand Archetypes

This blog post features the 5th brand archetype in this series, which explores how brands use literary archetypes to stand out and be remembered.


The Rebel. The Misfit. The Revolutionary

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

— Albert Camus, author of The Rebel


Outlaws thirst for revolution. They are driven by their desire to change their world for the better, most of the time choosing to do this through questionable means. Always challenging the status quo, they don't conform and support structures that do not work, even if society still does.

In literature, we see this personified in the Hunger Games protagonist Katniss Everdeen, Mulan, Harry Potter (especially in the last few installments of the series), and Voldemort. In real life, this is evident in Richard Branson — creator of the Virgin Empire — and the famous bushranger Ned Kelly.

Outlaws fear powerlessness. Anger and mistreatment trigger them to act out their sentiments. But when they take their revolutionary endeavours too far, it can pave the way to their destruction.

Customers with the Outlaw personality uphold the unconventional. They will likely prefer brands and ads with unique messaging and deliver outrageous content.


How the Outlaws Bring Their Brand to Life

This is a great archetype for brands that want to stand out against the traditional, mainstream, ‘boring’ competitors in the category. Outlaws create disruption in their category when they see that what is currently being used — a system, a tool, or a practice — is not working anymore and has to be changed.

To live out this brand, your business ought to be radical, shocking, disruptive, liberated, and countercultural. 

Do not, however, resort to promoting destruction and going against the law. Also, for your brand to be bought out is something you should avoid as that could be seen as a weakness.


Categories that Have the Outlaw at the Foundation

Promising revolution, this brand archetype personifies the defiance, which is why leading a revolutionary movement and challenging what has to change are their greatest virtues. Here are some of the categories with the Outlaw archetype at the foundation

  • motorbikes
  • apparel


Examples of the Outlaw Brands

Harley-Davidson-Outlaw-archetype.pngHarley Davidson, the epitome of the Outlaw archetype.


Harley-Davidson-Outlaw-archetype2.pngMore than just a brand name. It’s an identity every rider, and even non-rider, proudly wears.


Virgin-Cola-Outlaw-archetype.pngVirgin Cola. King of publicity stunt and Virgin Cola founder, Richard Branson, drove a tank towards Coke’s HQ when they launched Virgin Cola in 1998.





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