February 2, 2019 by  Ashley Guberman

This post looks at a major rebranding effort by Infusionsoft to become Keap, and then evaluates how they did through the lens of the StoryBrand 7-part framework (SB7).

The purpose is not to tear down Infusionsoft/Keap. I am a Certified Infusionsoft Partner, and I absolutely love the product for myself and my clients. I’m also a certified StoryBrand Guide, which strongly influences my perspective.

The purpose of this post is to use the StoryBrand framework to see how a re-branding message can be improved and to highlight how you might use SB7 yourself.

The StoryBrand 7-part Framework (SB7)

  1. A Character. This is your prospect. The viewer of your message needs to see themselves here. This touches on an aspect of their identity, not just what they do.
  2. The character has a problem – This is about what they want and the challenges they face. This is the prospect’s aspiration. The problem is deeper than a simple solution and goes towards addressing how they see themselves and their future identity. The problem exists at multiple levels.
    • Internal – what do they feel right now about not getting what they want?
    • External – What external forces are in their way?
    • Philosophical – What core belief is being violated about the way things are right now?
  3. Character Meets a Guide – this is you, the business owner, making an offer to your prospect.
    • Who shows Empathy for the prospect’s challenges
    • And establishes Authority to help the prospect get what they want.
  4. The guide gives the character a Plan to solve their challenges and get what they want
  5. With a clear Call to Action
    • A Direct Call to Action – this is what the guide wants the prospect to do, and moves the prospect forward toward working with the guide. This may or may not be a sale… it’s about moving forward.
    • A transitional call to action – this is your typical lead-magnet. It’s about getting permission to enter an email or live conversation to move the prospect forward at a later point in time.
  6. That ends in Success – here’s where you paint their world “after” working with you, with lots of benefits.
  7. And helps them Avoid Failure. This is about agitating the prospect’s pain and motivates them beyond doing nothing.

StoryBrand Elements in Keap’s re-branding message

Who is the Character?

  • We have a white woman who owns a gym (based on “how is your business going”)
  • A black man who is working late, but we have no idea why. (“The kids want to know when you’ll be home.”)
  • Another white woman we know nothing about, except that she’s “really sorry” for something.

Possible Improvements: Make the character clear by focusing on one, or clarifying what it is that the three of them have in common. Don’t make the viewer figure it out. That’s brain-calories the viewer does not want to expend.

What is their Problem?

From the audio, “Maybe owning a business is too much to handle right now.” The visuals show the “sorry” woman working late, maybe looking over bills. We infer that all three are struggling, but we don’t know why just yet. It could be inadequate business (gym), understaffing (black man), or poor quality (“Sorry” woman)

Possible Improvement: Make the problem clear, so that the product is positioned as the guide with a plan to solve it later. People who already know Keap/Infusionsoft know exactly what the problem is. The ad, however, needs to communicate this to the uninitiated viewer.

Who is the Guide?

We’re a full 30-seconds into a 110-second video, and we get an image of the “sorry” woman looking at a laptop screen with an ad for Keap. This is supposed to be positioned as a future solution, but all we see now is that it’s something she discovered.

There is nothing that ties Keap to the solution to the frustrations the characters experienced and nothing that gives Keap any authority yet. We see the black man filling out a form for a free trial, but it’s not clear if we should be focusing on “Start a free trial” or “The best way to run a …. ” and “small business” is blurry.

Worse, if anybody were viewing this on mobile, the text would be so small as to be almost illegible. this gives the audio even more weight by comparison.

Possible Improvements: A guide has empathy and authority for the character. I think empathy for various challenges has been established, but authority is completely missing, and doubly so for a name that people have not heard before.

What is the Plan?

We see the gym owner using a web page. It’s not even clear that it’s a Keap page… it could be any web service. She’s looking at somebody named Joe Hewitt. We’re drawn to his image, and only if you look carefully and read quickly will you notice notes that “He’s a retired boxer (bring boxing gloves).”

All of that is obscured by the clear male voice-over, stating “You gave up a steady paycheck to chase this dream. Maybe it’s not worth it.” This is not the woman’s internal voice, so she has an unknown male (boyfriend, husband, father?) being critical of her.

Possible improvements: Even if we posit that the first step is to try Keap.com, there’s a gap for what comes next. We need to know what to do after signing up for a trial that will move us forward to success. The leap from using Keap to a thriving business is so great that it’s in line with the South Park Underwear Gnomes Profit Plan (explicit)

What is the Call to Action?

This Joe Hewitt books an appointment with Superpowers Gym. Ahh… maybe we should go to the gym too. Only if you look carefully at the bottom will you see that the schedule is “powered by Keap.” Wait… is Keap a scheduling program? Is that what people need?

We’re never actually asked to take any action. Instead, it’s implied in the visuals that maybe we should go explore Keap. Oh, and don’t mistake it for a vulgar slang that was recently removed from the Urban Dictionary, nor the English word Keep, nor the Keap candle company.

Possible Improvements: Make the call to action on the visual and audio, at the same time, and be explicit on what action to take.

What Does Success Look like?

Joe scheduled an appointment at the gym.

Read quickly, and you’ll see that somebody named Maria paid an invoice. We don’t know what she paid, nor why. I only saw the tiny, and blurry “Keap” logo above this invoice confirmation on the 3rd viewing. The eye is not drawn to the brand, but to something Maria Lopez did, or her picture.

The black man is happy about something, shaking somebody’s hand. We don’t know why. But the voice-over of his nonsupportive wife from earlier says “Do you have any idea how hard it is to find new clients?” The man is now using something to track proposals. We don’t know what he’s doing, nor that it’s Keap.

The “Sorry” woman is moving pillows and decorations around. Is she cleaning her house? The voice-over emphasizes “What do you know about managing people.” Wait… is she doing well? Did she give up? Does Keap help manage people? Is she working or at home? Then we see she gets a lead on her phone. But what is it that she actually does? Do I care that she has a new lead? I don’t know who she is as a character… she’s just “Sorry Woman” since that really identified her at the start.

The music at this point made a pivot to something more upbeat and positive, but the voice-over is still highly critical. The messages on visual and audio channels don’t match, creating confusion akin to the Stroop Effect.

Possible improvements: When the visual mood shifts, make the voice-over match. Have the doubters switch to “I knew you could do it,” or “I’m so proud of you,” or even “How did you do it?”

How does the Guide help the character avoid failure?

Back to the gym. The boxer dude walks into the gym and the woman gives him some gloves. The dominant voice-over says “It’s great that you took the risk, but it’s time to admit that it’s not working.” Wait… is the voice-over right, or is this one dude in the gym supposed to be evidence that her business is working now? And was it from the scheduling app?

The black man is at home with his kids. He sees something blurry on his phone. Look carefully enough (why bother?) and you can see his proposal was accepted.

Now, with the big powerful ending, the dominant voice-over says “I know you gave it your best shot.” and the Sorry woman is welcoming guests into her house.

Voice over continues “But maybe it’s time… Maybe it’s time… Maybe it’s time… to get a real job.” OK, so is the way we avoid failure by getting a real job? I have no idea what Keap is or what it does, but now I should get a real job.

Possible Improvements: The characters need to be the hero in the StoryBrand Framework. The product or service needs to be the guide. Strengthen the link that it was by using Keap that their business turned around. Perhaps something about using Keap that came after signing up did it? Establish not just the product, but that Keap as a company is committed to helping small businesses.

Big Call to Action

Text on the screen asks the viewers to “Quiet the doubters. With Keap. Start your free trial today. Keap.com.” Keap.com is tiny, and even less compelling on a mobile device.

Possible improvements: Make the call-to-action part of the audio, and make it explicit. Have the audio say “Grow your business. Go to Keap.com for your free trial.” The call to action is the one thing you need to be most explicit about.

Keap’s re-branding video fails to tell a coherent story.

Literally, what on earth is supposed to be happening here? Why would I possibly be motivated to try Keap? That is if I even made it to the end of the 110-second video.

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