The Lasso Way: Communications Insights from Ted Lasso and the AFC Richmond Team
We have a few soccer fans here at 3Points, and sometimes (like during Italy’s recent victory run at the Euros), you may even find a match on during lunch at the office. Suffice to say, many of us were wrapped up in last year’s first season of Ted Lasso. An Apple TV+ original, Ted Lasso follows the title character, a Division II collegiate American football coach, who was hired to manage an English soccer (or football, for our friends across the pond) club despite having no prior experience coaching the sport and his discernible bewilderment about English traditions, such as tea-drinking and games ending in ties.
Ted Lasso (the show and the character) quickly and easily won over the hearts and minds of those who watched. Witty and inspiring, Lasso, played by Second City alum and GQ’s August cover star, Jason Sudeikis, demonstrates effective leadership and communications strategies that can, and should, be applied to the business world.
With the show’s second season now starting to air, our Chicago Tech intern, Will Brendza, took a look at some of the many lessons we learned from the first season.
(Note: this post contains some spoilers for Season One, but no spoilers for Season Two.)
Persistence goes a long way.
Being an American football coach without any knowledge of soccer rules (let alone strategy), Ted Lasso works extra time (or overtime, as Ted might say, to the dismay of his English counterparts) to earn the respect of his new soccer club and its fans. Ted works especially hard to build his relationship with the club’s owner, Rebecca; one of his chief tactics is delivering mouthwatering, home-baked cookies (biscuits) and visiting her office each morning, despite her initial strong objections to the latter. Even in the face of Rebecca’s disdain, the team’s lack of faith, and the fans’ vitriol, Ted keeps going, because he feels that he is doing something bigger than helping the club win games.
Persistence such as this is key to success in every aspect of life, yet there remains an important qualifier. In PR, when conveying a client’s message is your ultimate goal, combining persistence with precision is pivotal — it can be the difference between a reporter forgetting or following up on your pitch. Precision and grit are both core values at 3Points for that reason.
Whether you’re communicating with journalists, teammates, or the public, make sure you’ve done your research, crossed your t’s, and dotted your i’s; attention to detail can separate you from the rest of the field. And giving someone a box of homemade biscuits can’t hurt!
A dash of humor always helps.
Ted Lasso’s personality is the driving force behind his success as a leader (and the success of the show). Ever the optimist, Lasso maintained a charming demeanor, nourished by witty remarks, an endless supply of puns, and a comfort with sometimes being the butt of the joke. As Ted won over those around him with his ceaselessly positive outlook, he simultaneously won over the audience.
In order for people to remember what you say, they have to listen, and in order for them to listen, you have to get their attention. And one of the best ways to get people’s attention, to strike a chord with your audience, and to make them remember you, is to inspire a smile or a laugh. Especially in the workplace, where, as a Gallup study notes, humor is often hard to come by, a little humor can be a great communications tool — whether your workplace is an office building or a football pitch.
Stay involved in your community.
Ted becomes active in his new community almost immediately; true to form, he often takes time to talk with the club’s fans or kick a ball around with local schoolchildren. In one of the show’s (seemingly countless) moving scenes, Ted visits a local primary school to talk to students and lead them through some drills. He’s joined by one of his players, Roy Kent, the gruff team captain, and the two end up delighting the children and impressing the school’s headmaster with how long they stay.
Community involvement has untold benefits for a business; communicating about it can lead to greater brand awareness and important partnerships, among other things. But before even considering the business benefits, consider the more important reasons: giving back to the community provides a feeling of accomplishment, a sense of purpose, an identity. It’s a morale booster for everyone involved; there’s nothing like doing good.
Be authentic and honest and people will learn to trust you.
Of the many things you can say about Ted Lasso as a person, the most important may be that he’s always authentically himself. While Ted learns a great deal from those around him throughout the course of the season (especially about soccer), he never tries to be someone he isn’t. His honest, down-to-earth demeanor helps people not only learn to trust him but to emulate him by becoming more honest with him, with the world, and with themselves. Rebecca’s storyline — going from secretly hiring Ted as coach to sabotage the team as revenge against her ex-husband to embracing open communication and stepping up as a leader — is a prime example of how Ted’s openness changes those around him.
A good communications strategy is one built on honesty and authenticity, because with those two components comes trust, and with trust comes loyalty. It’s why authenticity is one of our three core values at 3Points — great results will follow from each team member feeling comfortable in being completely and honestly themself.
At the end of the day, you still need to provide a good product.
In the last match of the season, AFC Richmond faces relegation, meaning that if they lose, they are demoted to the lower division and will have to re-earn promotion the following season. In a nail-biter (major spoiler alert here), Lasso’s squad loses, and is relegated to the lower league.
You might have the greatest team, or the best strategy, but you still need a good product — effective communications cannot be done without it. When an understanding of the landscape (in business, this is the industry; in the show, it’s the soccer world), an understanding of your vision, and an understanding of your audience come together with a fundamentally good product, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. And while AFC Richmond took a hard hit at the end of the first season, it seems like a safe bet that Ted Lasso and the team will work together to lock down those three things and achieve success in Season Two. Either way, there’s certainly no limit to what the show itself can achieve.
Want to talk about communications strategy with us? (Or just talk about Ted Lasso?) Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.