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The Outlaw Archetype

The Outlaw Archetype

~ Akansha Singh, Deepa Soman

“People will only remember you for the rules you break”

The Outlaws or Rebels are fiction favourites, striding through their worlds with a confidence bordering on arrogance and shaking the foundations their society has always known — often doing so with little to no help at all from those around them.

Also known as the rebel, revolutionary, iconoclast, and misfit, the Outlaw is the archetype that lives for revolution. They speak to a base human desire to break free of the rules and constraints of regular life. Take ten minutes to listen to any radio station: the message is loud and clear. Pop, Rock n’ Roll, and Punk have all gotten their popularity by settling in the hearts of the listeners and making them feel the blood of the Rebel pumping through their veins.

The Outlaw, though often motivated by a need to better the world through somewhat questionable means, can also have a desire for revenge against atrocities committed against her.

Independent and radical, the Outlaw employs outrageous, disruptive or shocking habits to shake out of complacency, those they interact with.

Though Outlaws can also be strong advocates for change, the methods they often employ to get the attention of their oppressors can be outright dangerous or misguided. They can also be dogmatic about their own perspective, and outcast those who do not fit their definition of “good,” thus repeating the cycle of society they are trying to break out of. It is not uncommon for them to turn to crime that harms innocent people on the side-lines, and, in the process, lose their way, as well as their sense of morality. They often alienate their friends or those who would otherwise support them.

Outlaw is a great archetypical identity for those who want to express their wild side. The riders see Harley Davidson as more than a motorcycle – more like a set of attitudes; a lifestyle that is not just about freedom but freedom from  mainstream values and conventions. Harley Davidson was in serious trouble some years ago because the Japanese were selling a better product at a cheaper price. The company regained its market share by selling meaning; by promoting personality of the brand, from selling motorcycles to its own line of clothing and accessories linked not by function, but by archetype.

Think Robin Hood, Zorro and Maverick in Top Gun. The Outlaw is an unconventional thinker whose aim is to shock, disrupt, and change what they see isn’t working. Their greatest fear is being ineffectual and powerless. At their best, they’re brave and free-spirited but at their worst, they can be destructive, reckless, unstable and nihilistic.

Rebel brands promise revolution, positioning themselves as an alternative to the mainstream in an effort to stand out. Successful rebel brands tend to have a cult-like following. The worst thing for a rebel brand is to be bought out or become too popular. (The latter tendency needs watching because the aim in business is to make money).

Rebel customers appreciate the unconventional and forcefully reject the status quo. They are likely to value unique or shocking content.

Examples: Harley Davidson, Virgin.

 

Other Readings & References:

Margaret Mead & Carol Pearson – ‘The Hero and the Outlaw’

Archetypes: Outlaw by Ariel Hudnall (blog March 29, 2015)

Denis Whillier – ‘Which Brand Archetype is Your Business’

 

1992 - 1996
1996
1997 - 2001
1999
2001 - 2007
2013 - 2019
1992-1996

Initiation

Deepa starts working at Hindustan Unilever Ltd., and after working there for a few years decides to take a career break to take care of her son. The family plans to move to Jamaica, and she wishes to resume working. There are not a lot of opportunities post a career break for her, and this makes her realise the plight of women all across the world who are trying to resume working after taking a break. The seed for Lumière is planted. Deepa joins J.A. Young Research Ltd. to get back to her roots, and ultimately decides to start her own firm under her CA's advise.

1996

Beginning

Start of Lumière Consultancy in Jamaica

1997-2001

Incubation

The family is aching to return to India, and post the birth of her second child, Deepa gets an offer from HUL to rejoin them. She has an itch to make it on her own, and so declines. This results in a different type of engagement between the two, and Lumière engages exclusively with HUL by expanding their scope. Deepa builds a stronghold in consumer behavior, and Lumière develops into an entity of its own. Inception of 'Consumer Centricity', which is their future key to strength, begins. With an expansion in their work, they need more resources and a group of like-minded talented professional women to join the team. Lumière gives them solace, a place to grow, rebuild their careers, and achieve goals beyond their expectations. They begin with mentoring initiatives, with an urge to inspire young individuals. People approach them through word-of-mouth, references, and to create opportunities beyong market research, Lumière becomes a Pvt. Ltd. company.

1999

Establishing

An opportunity arises to be a part of something big, to analyse the growth mindset and the creation of a best practice document for sequential recycling. Lumière makes an impact across categories and branches into Product Testing and Category Creation.

2001-2007

Invigoration

Lumière touches ₹ 1 crore. Their brochure is presented at MRSI. The company turns 10, and Milind joins the team as an observer. This becomes the phase of Lumière's upheavel: from scaling up, digitization and automation of processes, to plugging in leakages across departments and accounts. Their billings reach ₹ 3 crores.

2013-2019

Innovation

Rashmi Bansal dedicates a chapter of her book 'Follow Every Rainbow' to Deepa and Lumière. The company enters adulthood, and they facilitate change management for Lumière. The introduction of the Gallup Strengths to the portfolio is a game changer. A revamp of the technological infrastructure ensues, giving way to an articulation of Lumière 3.0.