Guide vs Hero: Why does it really matter?

by | Aug 16, 2021 | StoryBrand

Remember those analogy activities we had to do in elementary and middle school?

Cat is to kitten as dog is to puppy.

Well, here’s some more:

Frodo is to Gandalf as Luke Skywalker is to Yoda.

Aladdin is to the Genie as Harry Potter is to Dumbledore.

Dorothy is to Glinda as…well, I could go on!

All these pairs have a hero-guide relationship.  If you’ve been around StoryBrand or Stratos for 10 seconds you’ve probably heard of it. We use this relationship to help position each of our clients as the guide for their customer — the hero.

But why does it really matter? 

1. Everyone wants to be the heroes of their own stories. When your clients are looking to do business with someone, they are looking for someone who can guide them to reach their goals. They don’t want someone who can take their spot as the hero! Now that you know your customer wants to be the hero, you can position yourself to not take up their spot as a hero.

2. Heroes don’t have all the tools to reach their success. If they did, they’d already have achieved it. By positioning yourself as the guide who will get them there, they have no reason to not use you. They can’t reach success without you.

3. One of our core desires as humans is to be heard. A guide must always approach the hero with empathy. When they do, the hero (your customer) will feel heard and will connect with you on a deeper level.

The biggest resistance to this new positioning is EGO. As business owners and entrepreneurs we have done awesome things: built businesses, overcome recessions, supported employees. We are the heroes of our own stories. But if we let our own ego get in the way, our customers will be turned off and find one of our competitors. 

Drop the ego; it’s worth it.

In fact, think through the celebrities, influencers, or other business leaders in your network who rub you the wrong way. (I have a few of my own.) There’s a high likelihood that they are playing the hero and not the guide. 

The moment you are tempted to cross over to the hero side, remember how those people make you feel and determine you don’t want your clients to feel that way!