What Is A Brand Persona And Why Do I Need One Thing
A “Persona” is a fictional representation of an actual user and is applied in the early stages of product development or product redesign. Personas are vital to the success of a product because they drive design decisions by taking common user needs and bringing them to the forefront of planning before design has actually started. Personas provide the team with a shared understanding of users in terms of goals and capabilities. Once Personas are defined, going through a task analysis exercise with scenarios will offer an inexpensive way to test and prioritize features throughout the development (see lesson #2 in the blog Responsive Design: Getting started).
The Benefits of Persona Development
If you don’t think Personas are worth the trouble, think again. Benefits include:
When we talk about 'personal branding' we are referring to establishing and promoting what you stand for. Your personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you you. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from other professionals in your field. A Brand Can Be Anything.
- Personas give stakeholders an opportunity to discuss critical features of a redesign: This is especially helpful when you have multiple stakeholders with different ideas about what needs to be developed first. Using Personas to walk stakeholders through common interactions unveils frustrations and pain-points that will help clarify actual user priorities over the stakeholder’s personal wish list.
- They help team members share a consistent understanding of the user group: Personas take data and make the stories more compelling and fun, thus making them easier to remember and consider when the team is working towards a solution – together.
- Personas help designers develop informed wireframes and site architecture: Since Personas focus on the needs of the users, the team can walk through scenarios and determine optimal placement of content to specifically support the goal of the product. This is vital to the success of a website or application, and will save your client thousands of dollars and/or man-hours reworking a product after it’s launched (and “officially” tested by actual users).
- Personas provide a “face” to the user story, creating more empathy and understanding about the person using the product: This prevents designers and developers from applying their own mental models to the product design which may not align with actual user needs.
What Is A Brand Persona And Why Do I Need One Day
- Having a personal brand helps to build trust with your audience, and position you as an authority and a thought leader in your industry. Get featured in media: Having a personal brand makes it easier for you to pitch and be found by media (online publications, magazines, television, radio, podcasts, etc.).
- “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody that needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” – Simon Sinek. You too can use The Golden Circle as a starting point to identify your unique brand purpose.
Collecting Data to Make Persona’s
Because Personas are fictional representations of actual users, they’ll only work if you fully understand who your users are – or will be. The more information you have, the better. Generally, 4-7 Personas (whittled down from several user groups) are sufficient to capture and document a majority of user requirements.
For projects that have several user groups, it’s helpful to group them into buckets with similarities, thus narrowing down the user groups into 4-7 specific profiles.
Depending on your project, you may have past users or you may not. Luckily, there are a variety of methods to collect data for either situation.
For existing users:
- User Interviews are by far the most useful. After several interviews you will notice patterns that emerge from each person, which should be included on the persona for that target audience group.
- Reviewing help desk calls and website feedback can also yield important feedback. So can surveys and questionnaires, focus groups, and purchase records.
- Existing clients can submit surveys, which are another cheap and effective way to collect information about users who are in various locations. Sometimes it’s helpful to offer incentives like a gift card, or a chance to win something for participating in the survey.
For non-existing users:
- Use original research by brainstorming personas using the product goals and purpose as a starting point.
- Leverage stakeholders for more information on who they believe their customer base will be. They may be able to provide contacts to work with.
Once you have this information, you can pull together the Persona stories for each user group. For this part, you only need your imagination.
What Makes Up a Persona?
Personas generally include the following key pieces of information:
- Persona Group (For example; sales manager)
- Fictional name (For example; “Government Gail”)
- Job titles and major responsibilities
- Optional: A quote this person would say that defines them.
- Demographics such as age, education, ethnicity, and family status
- The goals and tasks these people are trying to accomplish on your website or application
- Pain points or frustrations
- Technical experience and background
- Their working environment: Are they in an office on Wall Street with a lot of distractions or do they work in a library?
- Casual photos: Using realistic photos is always best. Photos from dating sites or even pulling from an image search is better than using photos from a stock photography website. Jonathan Abbott even created a website full of photos that can be used for persona development efforts!
A variety of Persona templates are available online. These can be used as-is or modified to better fit your products user needs and experiences. Here are just a few places you can download or review persona templates:
What Is A Brand Persona And Why Do I Need One Person
Alan Cooper first introduced the concept of user personas in 1999 to help inform design strategy, of which I was privileged to witness first-hand. This was important then since user-friendly digital products and services were lacking. Challenges on how to make the web user-friendlier were a pressing problem back then as well. In 2002, I began a focus on buyer personas to address the changes in buying behaviors beginning to occur. The focus shifted to informing customer strategies, which best fit, the goals of buyers.
The question I get asked occasionally when helping people is this: after a decade or more, are buyer personas still important? After having many conversations recently, I would have to say yes – and more than ever. I realize those of you reading this may think – “of course you are going to say that!” The central question is – why are they still important? Let’s review a few reasons why:
- They inform marketing and sales strategies. Many B2B organizations are struggling with how to understand the new buying behaviors of today. And, how to keep up with how fast they are changing. When researched adequately, buyer personas can illuminate who buyers are, the situations they are faced with, how they have changed, and most important – what goals they are attempting to accomplish.
- Develop a common language about buyers. Understanding of buyers can vary among different silos. Alignment still plagues many organizations. Buyer personas provide a common language and communications platform about buyers. Helping to overcome silo barriers and create the focus where it should be – on helping buyers and customers fulfill their goals.
- Inform market and customer strategies. Decision-making relative to go-to-market strategies, marketing, and sales can amount to a guessing game. Buying behaviors are changing every month. Best practicing executive teams seek qualitative understanding of buyers as well as quantitative.
- Design thinking is more prominent. Personas are ideally suited to address design issues – including design thinking. The design of marketing and sales will become more prominent in the next two years. At this date, technologies used by B2B companies are focused on what to say. Giving inadequate amount of focus to the user-friendliness of the delivery.
- Better performance results expected. According to several studies, B2B companies who have implemented best practices on becoming customer and buyer focused have consistently outperformed their competitors. In their efforts, buyer personas were a crucial component of an overall plan to guide their enterprise towards customer centricity.
- Globalization is now a must for all organizations. When buyer personas were first introduced in 2002, globalization was a strategy reserved for large enterprises. Much has changed with the introduction of technologies making barriers of entries fall like the Berlin Wall. Companies are entering new markets with little knowledge of regional buying behaviors and little room for errors.
As the above “why” reasons indicate, deeper customer and buyer understanding are needed more than ever. The globalization of business, as well as, technological advancements has made for a much more complex world. Buyer insights research and buyer personas help to break down the complexity into insightful understanding. Allowing for improved decision-making.
As a result of globalization and new technologies, there are more channels used by customers and buyers. Best practicing organizations are using buyer personas, backed by solid research, to improve enterprise-wide understanding of customers. Creating effective touchpoints, which act as links to the multiple silos customers and prospects pass through.
What Is A Brand Persona And Why Do I Need One Piece
The future of buyer insights research accompanied by buyer persona development appears bright. Researched in the right way, buyer personas can help organizations to accomplish an understanding, which has long been absent.