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Persona development

26th September 2018

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Persona development is a really useful marketing tool that can help bring data insights to life. We can use the persona development process to create characters based on your ideal customer profiles. Using a combination of data and imagination these composite sketches will help develop useful, relevant content that resonates deeply with your audience. The process gives a face to data work and enables a shared image (that everyone can relate to) to be developed. They are, however only as good as the research behind them.

Personas can:

Give a clear picture of  a user’s expectations and how they’re likely to use a website.

Describe real people with backgrounds, goals, and values.

Represent and identify major user groups for websites.

Help uncover universal features and functionality that will benefit all.

Personas help to focus decisions surrounding website UX, functionality and content by adding real-world context to the development. They also offer an efficient way to test and prioritise site features throughout the development process. 

In addition they can help:

Evaluation of new site feature ideas.

Designers create the overall look and feel of a brand or website.

System engineers/developers decide which user behaviours to respond to.

Copy writers ensure site content is appropriate for audiences.

Best practice in persona development:

Persona development provides best value at the beginning of the project, as personas can inform a website functionality, help uncover gaps, or highlight new possibilities.

More than one personas can be developed for a project but it should be limited to the main site audiences. Creating only three or four prioritised user group or stakeholder personas works well. 

Use broad brush strokes to identify the traits of the larger user groups or populations rather than try to characterise the needs of everyone. 

To ensure your persona development provides accurate representations of users.

Carry out user research including: Who are your users and why are they using the system? What behaviours, assumptions and expectations affect their view of the system?

Condense the results: Tease out themes or characteristics that are specific, relevant and universal to the system and its users.

Organise elements into persona groups that represent target users. Name or classify each group.

Refine, combine and prioritise the draft personas. Separate them into primary, secondary and necessary if required complementary categories. 

At this stage you should have 3-5 persona ‘skeletons’ and their identified characteristics.

Add some personality, make them as real as possible. Develop the appropriate descriptions of each personas background, motivations, and expectations. What is underlying their behaviours?

However, do not include too much in the way of personal information. Keep it focused, relevant although an anecdotal element may help add another dimension to your persona development.

Persona development complements customer profiling and can be a useful tool in strategic branding and online brand environments/experiences.

To discuss how persona development can be used to inform your next brand or digital investment please contact our Client Services Director Frank Norman on 01483 410380 or email

Follow this link to The Incorporated Brand which shows our approach to strategic branding.

Click here to view our Brandworks portfolio