Understand Your Target Audience through Personas

My last article, “What Story is Your Brand Telling?” discusses how marketers can use ideas from storytelling such as the 12 common character archetypes to help define their target audience and brand. Another way to better understand your target audience is to create personas.

A persona is a real or ideal representation of a person or group of people within your target audience. They can be used to understand your audience on a deeper level by listing out their characteristics and behaviors such as their title, age, goals, motivations, frustrations, brands they follow and more. You can use this information to analyze how you can better design or market a product toward a certain set of needs, goals or expectations.

Below is an example of a persona built with an app called Xtensio.

PersonaImageThe example persona listed above is Clark Andrews. Clark could represent one individual or 3,000 individuals who carry similar needs and characteristics. He is a 32 year-old software developer who is health conscious and likes to use data to track his lifestyle habits. Clark could have been developed by brands such as Nike or Crunch in order to gain a better understanding of their target audience and to improve their marketing messages to fit Clark’s goals, frustrations and more.

Do you truly know who your audience is, what their interests, goals, or frustrations are? You may need to take some time to conduct some research in order to gather this information.

The following are two methods that I have used to gather information on a target audience:

  1. Interviews: Interviews are the best tool for gathering rich and detailed information about your target audience. The following are a couple of examples of persona interview questions:
    • How old are you?
    • Where are you located?
    • Describe your lifestyle.
    • What is your job title?
    • What do you like to do in your free time?
    • What are your core values?
    • Which brands do you follow?
    • Which influencers do you follow?
    • What is your family life like?
    • What goals are you trying to achieve?
  1. Social Media: If you have an email list try searching for your audience on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms. You can use this information to understand their interests, personality, location, and more!

Keeping track of all of the data you gather can be a pain. I recommend setting up a spread sheet using Microsoft Excel or Google docs to organize your data in one place.

At the end of the day your brand represents your audience and it is best to know your audience inside and out so that you know how to cater and sell to their needs. Building brand personas is just one way that you can take a closer look at your target audience and your brand as a whole.



  1. Sarah, good blog.
    Interviews are one of the best ways to develop a persona. I recommend interviewing current clients to build a persona based on an individuals characteristics that already work for you, but just need to be defined.

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