- Vanessa Rowley-Matthew
The Outlaw Brand Archetype
Updated: Jan 8
Brands/People Who Want to: Leave a Legacy | Be Remembered
Missy Elliott. Root Capture—Hasselblad H5D
About Brand Archetypes
We are all born with a personality, hopes, dreams, wishes, and desires. They exist on conscious and subconscious levels, shaped by our sphere of influence, societal norms, and semiotics. All of the most successful brands use brand archetypes well, whether or not they are aware of it.
However, those conscious of their brand’s personality can optimize their marketing efforts by presenting to the world a clearly identifiable personality customers can like, know, and trust. This is the best personality a brand can have as long as brand stewards understand that the personality they adopt will largely be the personality of the consumers they attract.
A shared personality with its consumers allows for an opportunity for a brand to connect with its target audience on a deeper, more subconscious level.
The Outlaw Brand Archetype
Notoriously counterculture, an Outlaw brand can be quite the rebel with a propensity for breaking the rules and challenging common norms, perceptions, and the status quo. Although often acting out of a place of anger, under the surface, these brands are typically kind-hearted and free-spirited. Their nature often inspires others to work to make a change. Whether the change is positive or negative depends on the brand, but it is common for these brands to be brave in the face of oppressive and regressive ideologies.
Some common characteristics of this archetype are that they are known to do the following:
Disrupt with the unconventional
Challenge the status quo
Challenge social norms
Rebel and take risks
Outlaws have also been coined revolutionaries or visionaries because their rebellious nature is focused on the betterment of all. For this reason, Outlaw brands have been known to pave the way for new ideas and progression. On the other hand, brands with questionable intentions tend to act in morally ambiguous ways for their benefit. They can let their anger get the best of them and may use fear as a tactic.
The Outlaw Brand Archetype in Practice
Brands that embody the Outlaw Brand Archetype may actively disrupt oppressive forces or reinforce questionable morals. Their brand culture is often rebellious and revolutionary, attracting employees with similar values. This archetype does not shy away from making others uncomfortable or creating shock value when challenging others.
Harley Davidson is one of the most well-known representations of the Outlaw brand archetype. At its core, Harley Davison is a brand meant to inspire others to take risks. Motorcycles and the people who ride them are often seen as counter-cultural. There’s a rebellious feeling that Harley-Davidson curated in their marketing with phrases like “Screw it. Let’s ride.” This laissez-faire attitude and brashness says it all.
Activating the Outlaw Brand Archetype
If you challenge social norms, are provoked to create change, and act more independently, you probably resonate with the Outlaw brand archetype. It’s imperative that you understand where your brand’s passion comes from and how to harness it, questioning the world around you, honing your beliefs, and inciting passion in others.
The Outlaw Archetype in Branding
When considering how to express the Outlaw brand archetype’s energy visually, take a moment to reflect on the core of this archetype. Rebellion, disruption, drive, change, revolution, and passion are key drivers for this personality type. Therefore, your brand should use bold, bright colors like red, orange, and yellow. These colors provoke these feelings, which should be paired with messaging that uses the Outlaw brand archetype’s combative, disruptive, and rebellious voice.