Rebel, Rebel, your face is a mess.

Do not read the next sentence. You little rebel! I like you already.

The rebel is a powerful brand archetype and one that connects strongly with younger audiences in particular. But there are risks with being a standout, non-conformist brand.

To truly live the brand, you need to be unexpected and never conform – but without care, that can lead to your brand being all over the place. Disjointed. With constantly changing looks and messaging.

On the other hand, by trying to streamline your brand too much and introduce too much consistency you run the risk of being seen as too safe and mainstream. You can take away from your authenticity as a rebel.

It’s a challenge – but it’s possible to get the right balance. And if you can, the results can be incredible.

Disobedience is an essential skill

Also known as the outlaw, the misfit or the revolutionary – a spirit of rebelliousness must be in your DNA.

You can’t fake it. Or teach it. It must be authentic. Because of all the brand archetypes – there’s no clear playbook or structure to embracing this one.

By your nature, you’re going to have to break the mould of how things have been done to date.

“Rules are for people who don’t know what to do.”

Author Unknown.
So you think we’re the worst. Hmmm….

The customer is always right. Or so they say. But what if they’re not?

What if they’ve been downright unpleasant? Left you a nasty 1-star review that’s likely to really affect your ratings?

What if this disgruntled diner had complained about the state of the porridge, complaining that it arrived “tepid and undercooked”?

Well, this café dealt with it as only a true Rebel brand could…

The Nook Neighbourhood Coffee outlet in Stockport’s imaginative Welcome Board – Credit Justin Moorhead and The Sun.
Hell, it remains to be seen.

I had the pleasure of living in beautiful, windy, Wellington in New Zealand for a year, back in 2014.

And it was there, on the main parade in a little beachside suburb called Island Bay that I first discovered the amazing Hell Pizza. OMG!

I suppose first things first, their pizza is delicious! With the most incredible sauces. But for me, a brand-obsessed marketer, it was the menu and packaging that used to actually make me feel most excited that it was the weekend. And time to order.

From their original range of pizzas named after deadly sins like Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Pride and Gluttony, to their pizza box perforated to make a smaller, slice-sized box in the shape of a coffin “For your remains” – I was obsessed.

I’m hungry and feel like jumping back on a plane, just thinking about them.

Hells Pizza Coffin Box, For Your Remains! – Credit Xpose your Brand
It doesn’t mean, being mean though…

While being the rebel means going against conventions. Challenging rules. Breaking norms. And raising hell. It doesn’t mean you get to be nasty. And you need to be very careful what you make fun of.

Gymbox is an incredibly cool anti-gym concept where you might “come for the circuits and stay for the circus”. Their clubs created in disused car parks or old cinemas offer unique workouts and underground rave experiences.

But some of their advertising has been met with a lot of backlash. Like their “get hot and sweaty with a teacher” advert which people found creepy. Or this controversial outdoor series that was seen to mock the #metoo movement.

Gymbox’s controversial advert – Credit Huffpost UK
The best rebels are purpose-driven…

The rebel brand and character type isn’t about being tongue-in-cheek. Or controversial for the sake of being controversial. True rebel brands are guided by a mission to somehow make the world better. Like LUSH with their tireless fight against animal cruelty.

They exist to shake up the status quo. To challenge out-of-date norms and things that aren’t working. They are about standing up to the bullies and being unafraid to call them out. Not being the bully.

If you really want to be a successful rebel brand

  • Be brutally honest and transparent
  • Use candid, raw imagery
  • Campaign for the disenfranchised
  • Stick up for the underdog
  • Challenge perceptions
  • Be purpose and mission-driven
Which character are you?

Brand archetypes offer an incredible way to create a clear, engaging, character-driven brand. It will allow your brand to express its unique personality, in a way that’s authentic.

Maybe you are the rebel, challenger brand. Or the hero of the story. A wise sage. Or a creative innovator. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. Each meets a unique customer need. But the most important part is that it fits you. That it is truly who you are, in your DNA.

If you’d like to learn about archetypes or get some help creating a consistent voice for your brand – just get in touch? We’d love to chat.

More Character Notes