A lot of business owners feel like they have a pretty good grasp on who their customers are and who their business is for. However, a great way to gain a deeper understanding of your consumer is by building out some Customer Personas / Consumer Profiles / Buyer Personas. Whatever you want to call them, they're a great way to guide the branding and marketing process to separate your own personal preferences while prioritising your customers emotions and values. Helping us figure out who we’re talking to, which informs how we talk to them - not only in our tone of voice but also with the visual/design aspects, where we advertise and a whole lot more.
When working with new business owners and founders entering the branding or marketing process there’s the potential to see a lot of decisions based on their own personal feelings and preferences. This can cause problems for the whole process as they occasionally fail to really consider the preferences of their customers, leading to a brand or campaign that struggles to connect with their audience, this can have a huge effect on the success of the branding and marketing efforts.
So at the start of this process we like to engage with the client to build out some in-depth Customer Personas to guide the whole process from start to finish and provide a different perspective, really putting the client in the shoes of their consumer.
What to include in a Customer Persona?
To get an understanding of the customer, their purchase habits and things they like/are interested in we need to include a few things.
There’s the basics, how old are they? Their relationship status? Their gender identity? What do they do for a job? Do they have a family/children? etc.
Then there’s some more specific things around their purchasing habits and how they spend their time, ask questions like: Do they go for runs and hit the gym? Or are they more of a homebody who likes to lounge around and watch TV? Or what brand of jeans they wear? What’s their coffee order? Where do they go out for a nice dinner? What other brands do they engage with? Questions that allow us to gain a deeper understanding of their lifestyle and potential connections to other brands.
From there we move into their values and beliefs. What do they prioritise when looking to purchase products? Are they driven by good value? Are they more inclined to choose something that is higher quality? Maybe they just want to save time and get whatever is most readily available. Answering these kinds of questions gives us a clearer picture of who they are and what they are looking for.
Now we get into some more specific questions around what your company/brand can provide to them and help them with. Ask yourself, what is this personas’ biggest challenge? How can your company help them solve it? Are they strapped for time and your product can help them save some of that time? Are they worried about security and you can provide them with a secure path to purchase? Whatever they are worried about or challenged by, what does your company do to help them with it?
Other tips & tricks...
Here’s a few additional things to include in these personas, that can really help with making them more relatable.
Don’t base your personas entirely off a real person.
It can be tempting to just base these personas entirely off someone you, or your client knows, but this can be a little too specific. Keep in mind that we are creating these personas to represent a group of people, not one specific person that you are familiar with.
Give them a name, and a photo.
This can help them feel more real, more relatable. Find a nice stock image or google image that reflects the audience they represent. Then give them a name that also represents that group of people. Are they more of a Sophie or a Rachel, or maybe it’s a name that reflects the cultural background of the audience. There’s a lot in a name.
Build out a few personas, but not too many!
In the initial stages it can be helpful to build out a few separate personas and develop some branding or marketing concepts speaking to these different audiences, this can be a big help in deciding which persona is the strongest and should act as the primary persona to guide the direction forward for your brand or campaign.
There’s an old saying; “If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll end up being nothing to no one”. Moving forward with too many personas can be just as, if not more confusing than having none. Your brand should cater to a specific audience.
So, hopefully this has shed some light on how customer personas can give your brand a more defined perspective, allowing you to resonate with the right audience clearly.