A sense of who they are
Challengers [...] often have a founder at the center, many of whose personal beliefs they reflect and amplify. Richard Branson is offering his own personal culture within Virgin: the smiling revolutionary, the entrepreneur in a fluffy jumper, the debunker of the establishment.
The sexiness of Dov Charney's American Apparel image is in a different way a projection of his own personal culture: Known to conduct interviews in his underwear, he also takes all the photographs in his intentionally controversial ad campaign himself.
In these kinds of cases, everything else in the company flows from this sense of personal culture--behavior, image, communication.
From Adam Morgan's Eating the Big Fish (I guess you can tell what I'm reading these days).
This is precisely what's been fascinating me for a long time. Especially the part about discovering, ownning, and nurturing that personality. For some, it's just there. For most, that's a process of self-discovery, and finding the courage to be who you are.
And that's why I care so deeply about the intersection of this kind of marketing and personal development (or "personal unravelment", if you will).
Like Eddie Izzard finally getting out of the closet and performing as a transvestite. That takes balls. Fortunately, he has those.
(And please do watch the movie about Eddie Izzard, titled Believe. It's outstanding.)