Brand Archetypes: The Rebel

From the forthcoming book, Mass Behaving: Unlocking the Secrets of Shifting Behaviors with Archetypes. Learn more here. 

Within the change agent quadrant, exists The Rebel archetype. This archetype seeks to challenge injustice and the law with irreverence. Rebels shirk the law of the land in an effort to force change through oftentimes without care for collateral damage. The ends always justify the means in their view.

It's important to remember that archetypes are not personalities, therefore, one can find rebel brands in every industry. Wherever there is a need for change, there will be a brand that does it with guts and without concern for the status quo.

Dive into the details that make Rebel brands tick:


The Rebel archetype is fueled by an intense desire for freedom and a rebellious spirit that refuses to conform to societal norms and constraints. These individuals are often driven by a deep sense of injustice, and their motivations are grounded in a determination to challenge oppressive systems, question authority, and disrupt the status quo. They yearn for autonomy, self-expression, and the right to live life on their own terms.


Robin Hood: The legendary rebel Robin Hood is a quintessential example. His motivation stems from a burning sense of injustice as he robs from the rich to give to the poor, challenging the corrupt feudal system of his time.

Julian Assange: In 2006, Assange founded WikiLeaks, a media website focused on bringing to light injustices across the world. He became a well known public figure in 2010 when he published a series of leaked intel from US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. This lead to his exile and imprisonment despite his dedication to revealing the truth.

Punk Rock Movement: The punk rock movement of the 1970s and 1980s serves as a collective embodiment of the Rebel archetype in the world of music. Motivated by a rejection of mainstream conformity, punk rockers expressed themselves through music and fashion that defied societal norms.

Brand Examples:

There is something alluring about a Rebel. Something that a lot of us are drawn to. Maybe it’s our sense of finding ourselves when we hit our teenage years that makes this archetype so ingrained in our psyche. It’s so ubiquitous that rarely do you find branding experts tying it to specific industries. Instead, you see common examples like Harley Davidson popup despite the brand not representing rebelliousness at all. Brands that to exemplify this archetype are as follows:

Liquid Death: Despite this irreverent water brand’s claims, they are a rebel brand through and through. They rebel against plastics. They rebel against the standards in the water industry. And they rebel against those who hate them, just check out their Greatest Hates on Spotify. Liquid Death offers a brash, in-your-face brand for those who wish to be brash and in-your-face.

Paypal: As a fintech company, one may not see Paypal as a Rebel brand. They certainly don’t look the part. But in their hearts, they believe “every person has the right to participate fully in the global economy.” And in their efforts to live that Purpose, they’ve broken the status quo in the banking industry. Now, they just need to get their identity to be as rebellious as their Purpose.

Uber: The taxi industry was a mainstay for decades or more. No one realized it was a broken system until Uber came along. Uber’s innovations broke that system and offered a new paradigm for personal travel. Their purpose has been clear from the beginning, “reimagine the way the world moves for the better.” 


Courageous Defiance: Rebels possess an unmatched courage to challenge authority and confront injustice. Their fearlessness in the face of oppression inspires others to question the status quo.

Individualism: They champion individuality and self-expression. Rebels encourage others to embrace their uniqueness and resist societal pressures to conform.

Innovative Thinking: The Rebel archetype is often associated with creativity and innovation. Their refusal to adhere to convention can lead to groundbreaking ideas and solutions.

Empathy for the Marginalized: Many Rebels have a deep empathy for the marginalized and oppressed. Their actions often seek to uplift those who have been overlooked or mistreated by society.

Catalysts for Change: Rebels can be catalysts for societal change. Their actions and rebellious spirit can spark movements and revolutions that challenge and transform existing power structures.


Recklessness: The same defiance that makes Rebels fearless can also lead to recklessness. They may disregard consequences and act impulsively, sometimes putting themselves and others at risk.

Isolation: Their rebellious nature can lead to isolation as they often find themselves at odds with authority figures and societal norms. This isolation can result in strained relationships and emotional turmoil.

Conflict Magnet: Rebels tend to attract conflict due to their confrontational approach to challenging the status quo. This constant conflict can be emotionally draining and, at times, counterproductive.

Inflexibility: Their unwavering commitment to their cause can sometimes make them inflexible or resistant to compromise, which can hinder cooperation and conflict resolution.

Legal Consequences: The Rebel's actions often involve breaking laws or defying established norms. This can lead to legal consequences, which may undermine their goals or put them in jeopardy.

To summarize, the Rebel archetype embodies a rebellious spirit, challenging the norms and injustices of society. While their strengths include courage, individuality, and a drive for positive change, they must also grapple with potential Challenges such as recklessness, isolation, and the consequences of their actions. Rebels serve as a reminder that sometimes, it takes defiance to pave the way for progress.

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