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  • Writer's pictureJillian Felty

How Your Brand Can Play the Guide Like Ted Lasso

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

Part 4 of the StoryBrand Framework

Let’s be honest, most brands are too quick to make themselves the hero. It’s easy to say “my product/service will solve all of your problems” and act like the “savior” that your customers have been looking for.

But here’s the thing – that’s not how people think. 🚫

People aren't looking for a hero to save them. In their minds, they are the hero of their own story, but oftentimes, they need a guide to help them win the day (aka your brand).

Even if you’ve got a product or service that solves their problem, your customers don’t need you to be the hero for them. They need you to help them become the hero, but how the heck do you communicate that? By getting super clear with the next part of the StoryBrand Framework – the Guide.


Wait a sec. 😅 What’s the StoryBrand Framework?

The StoryBrand Framework is a proven marketing framework built around the 7 elements of story - Identity Transformation, Hero, Problem, Guide, Plan, Success, or Failure. Essentially, it takes your brand’s message and frames it in a story-like format, so that your customers connect deeper with your brand, right from the start (kind of like getting hooked to a show like Ted Lasso).

(P.S. Want to work directly with our StoryBrand Certified Guide on your brand’s story? Schedule a call here.✨)

Where Your Brand Comes In ~ The Guide.

If you’ve ever watched any kind of TV show or movie, then you’ve watched it play out: The hero (a weak character) has a problem, and meets a guide (someone who can help them). Then, that guide shows them the way to success.

It’s the Yoda to Luke Skywalker. The Haymitch to Katniss. The Gandalf to Frodo. Dumbledore to Harry Potter. You get it. (I mean who would want to be whiney Luke Skywalker when they can be wise Yoda, anyway?)

So when it comes to your marketing, you have to play that strong character who is going to lead your customer (the hero) to success.

But you don’t do that by telling your customer how strong you are. You do it by showing them. And you do that by demonstrating that you understand the problem they’re facing and are competent to help them solve it.

In other words, you need to show empathy and authority.

  • Empathy - I understand your problem, I understand where you’ve been, I’ve been there, too.

  • Authority - I can get you out. I can solve this. I am competent to solve your problem.

When you enter into your marketing with empathy first, you automatically position yourself as a guide – you’re not placing yourself as the hero because you recognize that this story isn’t about you, it’s about them.

Empathy makes people way more likely to listen to what you have to say because it resonates with them. Then, when you add in authority, it’s like you’re saying “hey, I know you’re feeling stuck. I’ve been there. But I know a way out.” When you do this, you earn the opportunity to sell them.

The Guide in Action ~ Ted Lasso.

When we think of a guide, we think of Ted Lasso. He’s the unlikely leader and relentlessly optimistic coach of AFC Richmond.

Ted is an American Football coach turned first-time coach of a British Football club. While he’s certainly the protagonist in the story (and doesn’t totally understand the sport he’s been hired to coach), it doesn’t make him any less of a guide to the team he leads.

  • He uses curiosity to understand the game, the team, and the culture that he’s been thrown into – and gains the respect of his team.

  • He uses empathy to break through the rough outer shells of Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt to help them play their best and become better people.

  • He meets Rebecca where she’s at and shows her loads of compassion in the midst of her divorce – even after she admits she was using Ted to run the team into the ground.

Ted brings out the best in his team, encouraging them to transform their lives and become better humans, on and off the pitch.

As a guide, he gets to participate in the transformation of the people he leads, and that’s what makes him so effective. That’s what we, as brands, get to do for our customers.

So, What Does This Mean for YOU?

Just as Ted leads AFC Richmond to transformation in the show, you want to lead your customer to transformation as well. In order to do that, you have to use empathy and authority.

How to Show Up as the Guide

Here's a few thought-starters to help you position yourself as the guide.

  1. Show your customer that you care about the problem they’re facing. When you demonstrate your understanding of their problem, you show empathy. Empathetic brands = human brands! Incorporate “we understand…” statements into your messaging and copy, especially on your About Page.

  2. Show that you’re competent to solve your customer’s problem. You can easily do this by leaning in on these five things:

  3. Testimonials - This one is the most important!

  4. # of clients served

  5. Awards

  6. Years in business

  7. Case studies

When They Win, You Do Too.

When you understand that you’re the guide - not the hero - and that you get to help your customer win the day, you win too. Not just because you made a sale, but because you got to help someone transform their life. And personally, what’s better than that?

Need some guidance on how to reach your hero in your marketing strategy? Schedule a call with our StoryBrand Certified Guide and see how you can write a brand message that invites your customers into a compelling story. ✨

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