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If you are working in the world of Public Relations and Marketing, you have probably heard the term “persona”, a profile that depicts the target audience. Heavily based on research, personas are expected to describe who our ideal consumers are, what their days are like, the challenges they face, and how they make decisions. Why is this important? Simply because every brand wants to differentiate themselves. For example, you are offered several brands of fresh vanilla milk, which one would you choose, Ultra, Greenfields, Frisian Flag, or Diamond? Why would you choose that?
I believe the answer to the above questions will vary because fresh milk is a flat product but our choice is affected by the needs (ie. drink milk to prevent osteoporosis) as well as the perception towards the brands. There are thoughts, feelings and associations that consumers make when they think of our product. However, how shall we make our brands perceived unique and relatable for consumers?
Branding is not merely about creating logos. In order to differentiate our brand, we also need a persona. According to Social Media Today, our personas should incorporate a combination of internal and external research and some brands will need to create multiple personas to represent different types of consumers. Now, let’s take a look at some of the important takeaways we need to include in every persona.
Basic demographic data
All information such as age, location, occupation, level of education, and/or annual income should be identified from the very beginning. However, we might not have access to the exact demographic data, thus this is the time for us to use our competitors, social listening tools, and online communities’ observations to find our target audience. In this stage, our data doesn’t have to be exact. We only need a general idea of where to look for now. Hence, start listing questions about basic information of the consumers and try to answer it.
Media and social pages
Next is social media. Generally, we can get a bit of sense of who our consumers are, what makes them interested, and which gurus or influencers they look up to by looking at their consumed media and social pages. Not only that, those media and social pages should be considered to be the places we shall present because they are where our target audience will find us. We can also consider using online services like Google Trends that will allow us to track mentions of particular keywords. More info on how to utilize Google Trends can be read here.
Identifying personal values of our target audience is important, because it is the characteristics and behavior that motivate them and guide their decisions. For example, maybe our target audience values health. If we are a brand that produces fresh milk we should tell them about the natural ingredients the product uses. However, be always honest wherever possible and choose what is really important to say.
Whether to prevent osteoporosis or simply because our target audience loves to drink milk, we have to determine what goals do they want to achieve. Similar to the previous point, identifying our consumer’s goals can really help us to focus on specific highlights that matter the most for them. This will then help us to be more relevant and relatable.
In the last section, we shall also list down several things that our consumers fear as well as the challenges or pain points they experience. Simply put, the pain points are the things that stop them accomplishing their goals. The pain points are problems our consumers need to solve that are addressed by our products and services. This creates an urgency that they need the solution we provide. There are usual challenges or pain points like not enough budget or money, lack of resources, physical pains, or ambiguous goals. Finding this can take us one step further to help our consumers.
That is all the things we should dig deeper while creating personas. However, having only well-built personas will never be enough. PR practitioners and marketers need to continuously improve their strategy through trial and error with real data feedback from time to time. Do you have any other opinions or suggestions on how to create better personas? Please let me know in the comment section.