Archetypes: The Revolutionary

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Revolutionary, rebel, outlaw and even villain. The names associated with the archetype are not very flattering, but this doesn’t mean it has a negative approach. Think about how revolutionary minds are important to our society’s evolution and how ‘outsiders’ are irresistibly seductive.  Honestly, who doesn’t like to break some rules every now and then?

While the Hero fights for a better world or to help the underdogs, the Revolutionary feels like the underdog and fights against this same society who outlawed him. It is probably the archetype that better exposes our dark side, however, it offers a necessary balance, an escape route from the system. Rockers, hippies, punks, grunges… All these movements began as manifestations against the established culture. James Dean became an icon of rebellion thanks to his role in ‘Rebel without a Cause’ and inspired teenagers all over to cultivate a bad boy attitude. Harley Davidson became a rebel brand by associating its personality with Hell’s Angels and the leather + tattoos look. Vivienne Westwood dared to open a store called ‘Sex’ and to sell pieces inspired by sadomasochism, tailored to the 1970s London punks. These examples reveal the Revolutionary desire of breaking the rules and scandalise.

Ok, but is it possible to have people shocked in 2016? Yes and no. If we think how society is much more open to so-called daring attitudes, the answer is no. On the other hand, in a world where the politically correct rules and there is an enormous pressure to show a ‘fit for Instagram’ life, one can see there are plenty of reasons to rant and rave.

From the branding perspective, the Revolutionary may work pretty well for brands focused on changing the way we consume. The best examples lie in technology: when Apple appeared in the 1980s, it challenged the rules and dared to think in a different way to use a computer. Skype allowed free calls. Netflix changed how we watch TV and movies, Uber, how we call and ride a cab. The list goes on and on…

Summing up, the Revolutionary awakes our inner rebel and the desire to break the rules. It may be good for companies with innovative products and services, with new ways of purchasing or interaction, surrounded by an ‘outlaw’ attitude.  Think different!

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