In my last post I introduced the persona mechanism as the encapsulation of meaningful knowledge about an audience. Personas can be used in a variety of situations: for product design (user persona), for marketing creative development (buyer persona), and for product messaging (buyer persona, influencer persona).
The purpose of a persona is to identify those meaningful traits that distinguish one audience from another. Here are the components I use when developing personas:
- Behavioral Type
Demographic characteristics include: gender, age, marital status, income level, location and education.
Psychographics characteristics include: personality, values, attitudes, interests and lifestyles.
Bizographic characteristics include: industry, seniority, functional area, role, responsibilities, knowledge and risk.
Motivational characteristics include: needs, goals, pains, ideals and challenges.
Relationship types include: individual, directed, collaborative, competitive, contentious, subordinate, superior and consensus.
Behavioral types include: methodical, spontaneous, humanistic and competitive.
It is important when creating personas to select those traits that are shared and meaningful. By shared, we mean those traits that are common amongst all members of your audience. Meaningful traits are those that have relevance to the connection we want to establish with our audience.
Remember, our goal in creating personas is to better understand our audience. For this reason, we need to dig beyond surface-level traits to those traits which drive behaviors in our audience.
For instance, if you were creating a persona for a high level executive, one important characteristic is that he/she is very busy. Underlying that busyness are other traits: their expertise is in high demand, they attend too many meetings, they need to be in control, they desire a better work-life balance, ...
Imagine what directions and approaches each of these attributes might suggest in your messaging. Knowing that executives are busy isn't enough to create compelling messages. Understanding underlying motivations and behaviors are the real jewels in your personas.