Creating Personas for Priority Groups of Consumers

Most advertising agencies and consumer product companies rely heavily on demographic data to segment customers and drive marketing and communication efforts. But often this consumer research data doesn’t capture the essence of what motivates those groups. One answer to this shortcoming is to design detailed archetypes or personas to help them better understand and empathize with those consumers.

An archetype or persona represents the essence of a priority group, often captured and presented in caricature form, though it is not unknown for agencies to hire actors, develop scripts, and videotape scenarios to develop an in-depth understanding of a group and also be able to communicate that understanding and empathy to clients and stakeholders. These personas or archetypes might be developed for current or desired users of products or services as well as for people who engage in a behavior we are trying to change or who are open to trying a new behavior.

This archetype distills the team’s understanding of the priority group members, insight into what motivates them, what emotions resonate with them, and what actions they are ready to undertake. However, describing the persona is also a creative opportunity for the agency and its client to bring the person to life for themselves and others.

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