by Julia Nunes
Today, with so many dozens of ways to reach people – and for people to receive or find information – the discipline of identifying the target consumer and how and where they discover or seek to be informed is paramount to efficiently inspiring action. At Double Forte we use buyer personas – descriptions of the different target audiences including how, where and why they seek information – to inform the strategy and execution of our programs. Precision helps focus our time, craft compelling stories that inspire, and create meaningful traction in all of our communication tactics.
To create buyer personas, start by asking your brand the following four questions:
1. What are the genders and approximate age ranges of the target audience?
Generalizing who your target audience or consumer is can be hard. It is difficult to label someone you have never met, but think of it this way – who is most likely to purchase or enjoy your products? With high-end wine for example – is your primary consumer most likely to be a 21-year-old right out of college or are they between 45 – 54 years old women with money in the budget for an expensive bottle of wine? Are men and women equally likely to purchase your product? Once you have an age range in mind, develop more qualities about your target consumer and list them in your buyer persona. Brands often develop multiple personas to demonstrate how to reach different demographics.
2. What does your target persona like to do?
Now that you know your buyer’s age and gender, the next step is to identify how they spend their free time. What are their hobbies? Do they shop online or in-store? Are they more likely to be cooking at home or going out to eat? Big picture – how are they exposed to your brand and how would it fit into their lifestyle? How can your brand help your target audience; why would they choose your brand over another?
3. What does the target persona care about?
Understanding consumer attitudes and developing a story for your brand that authentically resonates with them is critical to connecting and inspiring the target consumer or customer. For instance, does convenience trump ingredients? Do corporate values and behaviors influence purchase or loyalty? Is environmental impact a critical factor in your target audience’s decision-making? Color? Price? Once these are understood, we can then identify not only the key messages that are likely to influence action.
4. How does the target buyer persona communicate or get their information?
With 1, 2, and 3 in hand, we can now hone in on the communication channels to use to reach our target audiences. What social media platforms do they use? Do they text or talk on the phone? Do they watch TV news, or listen to certain topical podcasts? Is there a certain publication that is ideal for your buyer persona? Your consumer isn’t going out of their way to find you; you must meet them where they are.
As important as the discipline of using personas to inform the communication strategy and then execution, it is equally important to review and update your buyer personas regularly to ensure you’re “moving” with your audience. As Marshall McLuhan so famously coined “the medium is the message” – and where and how we communicate speaks for us as much as the words and images we choose to use. Staying current helps ensure that your brand is continually findable and relevant to your target buyers.