Personas. Why they matter and will save you time.

Personas be honest do you love them or hate them? Do you adorn office walls with them or do they stay filed away in unopened google docs? Or worse still, do you design your project plan and communications without one?

Without a hive mind how do you know you all picture the same audience?

3 Reasons to use a persona

1. Save time with project clarity.

  • Chances are you have a lot of stakeholders and colleagues. Without some very cool hive mind advanced Borg style mental functions how sure are you that when you all think about your stakeholders you are all seeing the same picture? Get clarity. The very process of developing a persona will iron out confusions.

2. Get great content.

  • Because a persona is also a segment, your content can be personalised and resonate with your audience. The process of developing a persona means you have considered their life goals, shared behaviours, demographics, media usage and influencers. Use this knowledge to be more than just noise. Stop broadcasting and get social.

3. Disrupt and innovate. Change.

  • Map your audience’s journey through your behaviour change cycle. Is this where I lost you? Is it possible to enthuse with promises of ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’ and then talk ‘behaviour change theory’ without losing your attention?

I hope not as this is where the transformation begins. Social and public health challenges ebb and flow up agendas but are rarely news to your audience you need to break through the constant noise and disrupt habits. Persona’s provide you with the insight to tease out openings for the possibility of change and ignite your audience’s motivation to start the journey toward change.

Reactivate your persona

Start mapping. Print out your persona and print out your behavioural framework. Connect the dots between where you are now and where you want to be. Consider where your persona is strong and where support is needed. Look at the timing, seasons and influencers etc. What does your persona need on their journey?

Pull up a chair for your persona. They are the voice of your audience.

Your persona is the voice of your audience so give it a seat at the table. Introduce it to the team. Check how decisions fit with the brand, tone, style. Actively use your persona to guide your decisions. Don’t create content without one.

What’s your persona story?

What’s your persona story? Are you estranged, apathetic or a total believer? Honestly I love them and I don’t plan or activate without one and I try to ensure everyone is involved and engaged through the development process. This is because I have spent hours in meetings planning, creating, innovating only to find we all had a different idea of the audience. Often we knew who we wanted to reach but we didn’t understand them or more importantly have a shared understanding. Now I use them because I know they will save me hours of time and confusion down the road.

Save yourself time and confusion, create and use your personas. After all we all see the world differently and that applies to our audience too.

If you are not sure which behaviour change theory to use have a look at these blog posts for ideas –COM-B, Stages of Change and the Theory of Planned Behaviour.

Want help developing your persona get in touch via the contact form or you can tweet me on ruth_dale. I’m always on LinkedIn too.

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