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One seductive brand position is the posture of being indomitable. Unable to be subdued, incapable of loss, the irresistible force and the immovable object, all in one.

The public enjoys rooting for this macho ideal. Superman in real life, but with the rage of a caged tiger. It is our avenger, a Jungian symbol come to life.

This is Norman Mailer or Mike Tyson. It’s Wells Fargo or VW.

There are problems.

First, it doesn’t scale. When an indomitable brand or figure encounters an obstacle that can’t be overcome, suddenly, the promise is hard to keep. And if the indomitable begins to succeed, he gets hungrier for the next conquest, making this failure inevitable.

Second, it’s a bad strategy. In the long run, resilience always outperforms sheer strength. The instincts of the indomitable brand are to win every single battle, no matter how small. If you have armor, you will have chinks in that armor, and if those chinks distract or disable, the hero will stumble and eventually fall.

Mostly, though, the indomitable brand is self aware, and causes his own problems. The pressure is on for the next conquest, the next opponent to humiliate. The endless need for more people to bully, more opponents to vanquish, and more fights to pick (it’s fuel) leads to drama, but not useful output.

If you must constantly create an ‘other’ to oppose, your tribe gets smaller.

If you can’t say, “I made a mistake,” then it’s incredibly difficult to lead. You end up managing instead, picking small fights, skirting the rules and blaming the ref.

Ultimately, the brand that embraces the position of indomitable ends up weak and afraid, because there’s no way out, nowhere left to go.

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Indomitable is a mirage
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