Marketers are always on the lookout for new inspiration to engage their audiences. And that inspiration can strike from anywhere.
Enter the latest content muse: Apple TV+ character Ted Lasso. If you’re not familiar, Ted is an American college football coach who leads the losing English Premier League football (aka, soccer, to Americans) team AFC Richmond. The storyline follows the journey of fish-out-of-water Ted, who arrives straight from the middle of America with zero soccer experience. He uses a compassionate, humorous, group-oriented, and helpful approach to turn the team around and achieve victory.
Like other phenoms that have gone before, jumping on the Ted Lasso bandwagon is a great way to ride the wave of a cultural moment and engage your audience in different ways. The trick is to make sure you’re capturing the unique essence of Ted while still being true to your brand’s voice.
How to “Ted Lasso” your brand content
Many companies are trying to lasso (pun intended) the energy and popularity of the show and gain some of that street cred with their audiences. And when people say “we want to be like Ted Lasso,” the first instinct will be to mimic the witticisms and tone of voice that flow so effortlessly from Ted’s lines.
But as we all know, this approach can be a double-edged sword.
It’s a tricky thing to pull off that kind of mimicry successfully—you will either knock it out of the ballpark, or hit the ball so foul, it might as well be your epitaph.
Are there other ways you can pull off a “Ted Lasso” without taking such a giant (and risky) leap or completely changing your brand’s voice? We’ve got a few ideas on how to pull inspiration from the show without sacrificing the cred you already have with your customers.
1. Inspire with positivity
When executed correctly, positive brand content can foster the emotional connection that drives loyalty and better brand perception. Instead of focusing on hyperbolic headlines like “X Reasons the World Will End” or “If You Experience THIS, You Could Have a Rare Disease,” showering your audience with positive vibes can go a long way. And in times of uncertainty or anxiety, psychology experts suggest that people seek out positivity. (And if we’ve ever had a need for positivity, it’s now.)
To exude it, swap out negative words and phrases for a more joyful tone. For example, on Zendesk’s homepage, customers are greeted with a slider that proclaims they are the “Champions of no-hassle returns, not waiting on hold forever, social messaging, extra sauce on the side, actually having a nice day, and customer service.”
In the streaming show, Ted repeatedly turns opposing challenges into positive ones—and motivates and unifies his team in the process.
“If you just figure out some way to turn that ‘me’ into ‘us,’ the sky’s the limit for you.” —Ted Lasso
Let your enthusiasm radiate through your content. Offer an encouraging and uplifting tone and real-world applications to your product or service. Enthusiasm is infectious, and it will pay dividends with your brand content.
2. Tell a good story that motivates your audience
Stories humanize the brand and reduce the difficulty of explaining a product or service. Storyelling gives the reader something the audience readily identifies and connects with and helps avoid “corporate speak” and salesy messaging. Storytelling gives a company a way to create a unique world and set the customer squarely in it.
And a master of storytelling and creating a unique world we all want to be part of was Steve Jobs. When Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007, we were living the dream with our Motorola Razrs and Blackberries not even realizing the world could be so much better. (For our readers too young to remember the revolution, the iPhone was a true disruptor—the very first smartphone.)
Steve Jobs masterfully set up the big reveal during his historic announcement at MacWorld 2007. He built up suspense and then explained the inspiration for the product, what it did, and why you needed it. And we all needed it. Fifteen years later, the world is literally at our fingertips with a whole slew of devices by various brands to choose from. But when you think of smartphones, who doesn’t immediately think of Apple and the iPhone?
“Takin’ on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse. If you’re comfortable while you’re doin’ it, you’re probably doin’ it wrong.” —Ted Lasso
Take it from Ted—a good story goes a long way. At first, his team scoffed at Ted’s frequent anecdotes, figures of speech, and real-world examples. But soon, they were sucked in and his point resonated.
3. Provide amazing customer service
Providing excellent customer service is one of the cornerstones of any business. As part of your content strategy, every piece of content you produce should aim to answer a question your audience is asking—even when focusing on features, remember why you have that feature in the first place. (What problem does it solve for the customer?) You forge trust and solidify relationships by being a valuable resource for your audience. These actions help improve conversions and generate leads without directly selling.
QuickBooks, an accounting platform for small businesses, developed a robust resource center designed to give small business owners advice from starting a business to growing it (and everything in between). They even offer handy tools, like a self-employment tax calculator, that are free to use, even if you don’t subscribe to their software.
“If you care about someone, and you got a little love in your heart, there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together.” —Ted Lasso
Ted is all about being of value to others. He is a fixer who is adamant about solving things that don’t work. For example, when players complained about a water pressure problem in the locker room, he fixed the issue without delay. His quick action created immediate trust with some of his players.
4. Build a strong team
Building a strong team includes both your internal team and your customers (who we hope will become raving fans). Inclusion and a group mindset are essential for both your external and internal audiences. When you’re part of an inclusive team, studies prove that it motivates you to work harder. When you share a common goal, you feel a greater responsibility to achieve and champion it.
“Everyone wants to be part of something, so give your people something to be part of,” suggests Jamie Wallace in an article for Writer’s Room.
Lego found itself struggling to compete with video games and the internet in the early 21st century. To stage an incredible company turnaround, they dramatically shifted their mindset on innovation and their fans—instead of creating new products for their customer, they started creating products with them. The result? They became the world’s largest toymaker, replacing Mattel in the top spot.
“I think that you might be so sure that you’re one in a million that sometimes you forget that out there [on the field] you’re just one in 11.” — Ted Lasso
In the Apple+ TV show, Ted develops camaraderie before skills and treats the worst player the same as the best.
“Believe” in your brand’s content
The content you produce is as important as the product or service it supports. Your blogs, ebooks, podcasts, videos, and social content extend the value of your company and engage your audience long before (and even after!) a purchase is made.
As you look for new ways to catch people’s attention in a sea of crowded content, look to Ted Lasso. He hung a sign that read “Believe” in the team’s locker room to serve as a constant reminder for them to remain positive. And you should do the same in your content marketing efforts. Inspire with positivity, tell a good story, find ways to help, and develop a strong team—and you’ll reap the benefits.
UNIVERSAL TELEVISION / Album