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Persona: how and why to create one for your company

Creating a persona is one of the most important steps for your company’s Digital Marketing strategy; know-how and why to create your

Persona is a fictional representation of a business’s ideal customer. It is based on real data about customers’ behavior and demographics, as well as their personal histories, motivations, goals, challenges and concerns. The persona guides content creation and Digital Marketing.

If you work in marketing or advertising, you’ve certainly been asked what your company’s target audience is. That’s because understanding who buys is fundamental not only for product development, but also for the production of content that will guide the acquisition of new customers.

In the production of material for a company’s blog or social media, we use an interesting resource that facilitates targeting the themes: the creation of a persona. This is the definition of the typical customer, with all the main characteristics of buyers.

Meeting this challenge of creating and assembling a persona, or multiple personas, can be easier when you can ask the right questions. Then, all you need to do is use this information productively so that every action and decision-making are directed to that profile.

In this post, we will cover the concept of persona and show its importance for a business. Blue World City will also teach you how to create an ideal persona model to correctly guide your company’s actions. Check out!

What is Persona?

Persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It is based on real data about your customers’ behavior and demographics. It also presents a creation of their personal stories, motivations, goals, challenges and concerns.

A good definition of persona is precisely the contact with your target audience. So, in a quick analysis, you can identify common characteristics among potential buyers.

If you have a client base, this will be the perfect source to start your investigations. Even if you have different profiles of people or companies that have consumed your product, some of them tend to exemplify your persona.

But she is not necessarily classified by gender, age or region, but rather by her consumption habits and personal preferences. These are data that go beyond numerical research.

An important tip is to focus on both satisfied and dissatisfied customers. In either case, you’re sure to learn something about the perception of your product and what challenges your customers are facing.

What is the difference between persona and target audience?

There is often some confusion with these concepts. So let’s get one thing straight: persona and target audience are not synonymous!

See a practical example:

  • Target Audience: Men and women, aged 24 to 30, single, graduated in architecture, with an average monthly income of R$3,500. They want to increase their professional skills and enjoy traveling.
  • Persona: Pedro Paulo is 26 years old, recently graduated and autonomous architect. He is thinking of developing professionally through a master’s degree abroad, as he loves traveling, is single and always wanted to do an exchange. He is looking for an agency to help him find universities in Europe that accept foreign students.

Did you understand the difference?

Generally speaking, target audience is a broad portion of society to whom you sell your products or services. The persona, as mentioned in the topic above, is the representation of your ideal client, in a more humanized and personalized way.

At first it may even sound very similar. However, it makes all the difference to think of a marketing strategy aimed at Pedro Paulo and not at an extensive target audience.

What’s more, you don’t need to limit yourself to a single persona if you feel you’ve segmented too deeply. It’s common for businesses to have more than one defined persona.

It’s just better not to overdo it. If one persona can limit your audience too much, having too many personas can cause your strategy to lose focus.

Why create a persona?

The creation of personas is a fundamental step in a Digital  Results Marketing strategy: we create personas to send the right message to the right people and thus have greater chances of success.

Without a defined persona, it is possible that in some cases your strategy is lost and you end up speaking Portuguese for those who only understand Greek. Or promoting cuts of meat for vegetarians. Or offering a product aimed at class A to class C. The examples are many!

Therefore, we list some reasons that prove the importance of creating personas for your business:

  • Determine the type of content you need to achieve your goals;
  • Set the tone and style of your content;
  • Help design your marketing strategies introducing the audience that should be targeted;
  • Define the topics you should write about;
  • Understand where prospects look for their information and how they want to consume it.

Questions that help define a persona

Once you understand what persona is, what its advantages are for your business, and gather some preliminary information, you will need to orient yourself to the profile of your typical customer.

That is, this process should be guided by the majority of your customer base to answer a few questions that will help define your persona’s behavioral profile:

  • Who is your potential customer? (Physical and psychological characteristics of the person responsible for the purchase)
  • What kind of subject is he interested in within your industry?
  • What are the most common activities he performs (both personally and professionally)?
  • What is your level of education? What are your challenges and obstacles?
  • What kind of information does it consume and in which vehicles?
  • What are your goals, difficulties and challenges?
  • In the case of B2B products, what type of company buys your solution? And what is the position of those who buy?
  • Who influences your decisions?

Creating and assembling a persona, or several personas, can, at first, be a difficult and ineffective task. But knowing the right questions, this step is simpler than you think. Then, all you need to do is use this information in a productive way so that every action and decision-making is directed to that profile.

In short: you need to keep in mind what the person responsible for purchasing your product or service is looking for in your company’s area of ​​operation. Think about the subjects she might be interested in, such as the issues related to your industry that she faces on a daily basis.

Once this process is complete, you will have a fair amount of raw data about potential customers.

How to do interviews to create the personas?

If you have that possibility, interviewing your clients is the best way to define your personas. Thus, you avoid “guessing” of the company’s internal perception.

Choose people, put together a script to conduct interviews, and think of the ideal approach.

  • Choosing people:
  • Note who are the most active people on your social networks, especially those who interact most often;
  • Analyze the person’s profile and posts, you will already have some data and insights;
  • See your customer database and select the most frequent or those who consume your product the most;
  • If your product or service is new, ask for referrals from people who might fit what you think your future customer will look like.
  • Assembling the question script:
    • Think of basic data-related questions for creating the personas cited above;
    • Think of a conversational format that is fluid, not just questions;
    • Leave space for the respondent to comment on other topics, as they can provide interesting information;
    • Get ready for the possibility of insights and opportunities to discover key points for building different profiles.
  • Approach:
    • Write a private message with personal profile introducing yourself;
    • Talk a little about the purpose of the contact and propose a conversation to learn more about your buying habits;
    • If possible, offer some benefit as a form of thanks at the end;
    • Contact can be at a distance or in person, as what matters is obtaining the information you consider essential.


How to create a persona?

The next step is to detail the customer profile based on the responses obtained. With this, you will be able to unify the information and prepare the character in a document to be made available to everyone in the company who can benefit from the study you made.

Some features we use to define the personas here at Digital Results:

  • Age;
  • Office;
  • Habits;
  • Frustrations;
  • Challenges;
  • Beliefs;
  • Hobbies;
  • Lifestyle;
  • Purchasing habits;
  • Which media do they prefer;
  • Who influences them;
  • What technologies do you use;
  • Where do you look for information;
  • Decision criteria at the time of purchase;
  • Time of the buying journey you are in.

We create names for the personas because it facilitates internal debates by targeting the persona. For example: “but do you believe that Joana would be interested in this?”

Another possibility, a little further into the process, is to use some graphical model to represent the persona.

Also remember that the persona could be a visitor who has just arrived, who does not know or is looking for your business, but rather the solution to a problem. It is quite common for this to happen on websites of companies that do Inbound Marketing.

So think about it: how can you approach and expose content related to your market to this person?

How can you use design thinking to build personas collaboratively with your team?

Have you ever seen those walls full of post-its pasted on a photo or company? They are part of a technique called design thinking, used by innovative businesses to facilitate project development. 

Despite not having created the methodology, the founders of the American consultancy IDEO, Tim Brown and David Kelley, were mainly responsible for making it popular in the business world. 

Centered on collaboration, design thinking’s main purpose is to put people at the center of project development. The idea is for participants to be immersed, solving complex problems in a creative way and focused on market needs. And you can use the methodology to profile your personas!

In design thinking, the ideal is groups of 5 to 7 people, but more important than the quantity is knowing how to choose the group. Choose key people who can contribute information and experience to the project.

Tim Brown, from IDEO, defends the profile of professionals in T, in which the vertical vertex is the specialty in their area of ​​knowledge and the horizontal is the ability to relate to other areas.

Choosing the key people who will participate in creating the persona

Based on the concept of T profiles, choose from within your team all those who can add knowledge.

At the vertical vertex, choose functions that deal directly with your customers. After all, they can bring important suggestions based on their daily work, which involves continuous contact with customers.

From this, make a combination of the specialty in the function (vertical) with the behavioral characteristics and prioritize people with ease to collaborate and with good relationships between different areas, the horizontal vertex.

Interesting profiles for this step can be: social media, designer, customer service and support, in addition to the Marketing analyst.

If you have any data analysts or BI who indirectly collect customer data, include them as well. If possible, invite someone from top management, such as a director or CEO, but remember: the goal is to collaborate and there can be no opinion owner by the hierarchy in the corporate organization chart.

The 4 Steps of Design Thinking to Use in Building Personas

After defining the group, it’s time to get down to business and, for that, the methodology is divided into 4 steps:

1. Immersion

This is the moment of chaos, the moment to dive headlong into the problem to be solved.

In immersion, we need to seek as much information as possible, research, look at data, seek new perspectives, share knowledge. To start, call the chosen group and present the project idea and the objective, which is the creation of personas.

After the presentation, ask the group to observe their clients over the next few days and apply the interviews, as we saw earlier.

2. Analysis

At this point, all data collected in the immersion phase will be organized. To analyze and synthesize all the information collected, join your working group and ask them to put the collected information on insight cards (post-its).

Put just one piece of information per card and stick them all on the wall for all to see. From there, start looking for patterns in post-its and grouping them. Group either by repetition or by type of information.

For example, bring together all cards that contain professions. When the same profession appears twice or more, bring them even closer together. At the end, we will have visual clusters that will allow you to see which profession appeared the most.

3. Ideation

On top of the groupings of characteristics, such as age, profession, gender and education, define the ones that appear the most and start building your persona.

On the empathy map, take the cards that represent each of the spaces on the map: what he thinks or feels, what he hears, what he sees, what he says and does, goals and pain.

Each empathy map will be a persona. So enjoy and download a high-resolution empathy map template for you to use in this process.

4. Prototyping

It’s time to name the oxen, literally. Based on the empathy map it’s time to close our personas.

Define a name, a job title, an age, your education and write paragraphs with behavioral characteristics.

After this prototyping, we need validation. So look for your customer base that have a profile similar to the personas drawn. Assess whether your personas are making sense and that they represent extreme user profiles of the product or service.

If the validation is negative, we can repeat the prototyping process. If it’s partially negative, we can eliminate inconsistent personas and use consistent ones.

Once this whole process is done, we can use our personas in different ways to generate insights in future projects.

How and why to run away from stereotypes when creating your persona

For all this construction of personas to be really relevant, it is essential that the creation is done based on research from reliable sources. But why is it important to make this reinforcement this?

What often ends up happening is that, instead of using real data from studies and statistical institutes, personas are made based on outdated assumptions and ideals.

This means that instead of targeting your campaigns to your ideal audience, you may be wasting resources on stereotypes that don’t exist. And the result is clear: you won’t interest people in what you have to offer.

Thus, in order to have successful products and marketing campaigns with good returns, it is essential to start the process with research in which assumptions are avoided as much as possible.

1. Always research!

The internet is a great facilitator of research. You can look for studies made by third parties with the results published on the internet, such as Think with Google, university websites and the IBGE. This will supplement your interviews with a lot more data.

2. Don’t be prejudiced

Don’t be sexist/racist/homophobic/lesbophobic/transphobic/capacitist/classist/etc-ist .

It sounds a bit obvious, but there are still many companies that use offensive materials as a tool to promote their brand.

The most obvious example of this is some beer companies, which often still use stereotypes of women, despite the fact that they increasingly consume and even produce the drink.

3. Understand the moment

To have relevant campaigns, you need to be on top of what’s important to your persona right now.

Thus, it is necessary to keep an eye on news and trends of what the public is going through at the moment. Without it, you run the risk of having an outdated and outdated approach and view of what’s relevant to your audience.

In addition, you lose the chance to interact and engage with him at the ideal time to delight your customers, leads and prospects. 

With a well-done study and a real interest in understanding their pain, the campaigns are able to fully reach the desired audience.

If you still feel a bit of difficulty when creating the ideal persona for your company, use our tool designed for this purpose.

The Fantastic  Persona Generator is a step-by-step guide that will help you create this persona. At the end of the steps, the tool will make available for download a PDF with all the documented persona information.

One tip is for you to print this document and share it with your company. You can paste the images on walls, murals or paintings to make them stand out more. It is also worth making available on a drive in the cloud so that all employees have quick access.

How to align personas with the buying journey?

After defining the personas, your company is ready to communicate in the most appropriate way with your potential customers. The next step is to create a relationship strategy based on these personas’ buying journey.

Your company can create content based on your persona’s purchase journey and then use that journey to do marketing automation planning.

To help you in this process, we have a complementary tool: the Purchase Journey Generator, a step-by-step guide for you to quickly and easily define and discover the paths your personas take until they are ready to buy your product or service.