Monthly Archives: June 2014

Creating Personas to Help Define Strategy

Do you know who the consumer is that your strategy is trying to serve? Is your strategy defined around your history, or the anticipated needs of the person you want to serve?

During the last couple of weeks I have been helping some of my colleagues who lead digital strategies to develop their personas. What is a persona?

  • In digital tool development a persona is a fictional character that communicates the primary characteristics of a group of users who use your website, social media feed or application.
  • Personas help software development teams understand their audience. They provide insights about the attitudes, behaviors, thought processes, challenges and desires of those being reached and served.
  • Personas inform what kind of content the developers need to create and where they publish it. They also give insight and direction for wording, images, tone and design.

When developing a digital tool personas are needed because:

  • if the customer is always right, you need to know who your customer is, and
  • you need to be constantly thinking about who is visiting your website, social media feed or application so that you design and use the tool to best meet the needs of the user.

We started discussing when in the development process someone would create their personas. There are parts of developing strategy for a digital program that have to be done prior to developing personas, e.g. basic market segmentation. However, if personas are developed as soon as the market has been segmented, then personas can really help develop the whole of the rest of the strategy.

The realization was that developing personas should not just apply to software development. Personas can significantly help develop corporate and departmental strategies. Thinking things through from the point of view of the customer can really help determine what your response could be to meeting a customer’s need, and how to differentiate that response. If that is not development of a strategy, then what is?

This applies in the organization in which I work as well as commercial corporate organizations. How often do we develop strategy from our point of view (typically what can we do to increase the amount of what we did last year?), rather than think afresh of the people we are trying to reach or serve, and developing new strategies to reach / serve them from their point of view?