What is a Brand Persona and Why Do I Need One?

  •    Carrie is a designer and content marketer. She works promoting the Roanoke Region of Virginia and has more than 10 years of media and marketing experience.

Every piece of communication you have with a customer tells them a little something about you (or your business). That personality is your online persona, or brand persona. Believe it or not, a brand persona can impact whether a visitor clicks a button, fills out a form or makes a purchase.

So what brand persona is right for you? And how do you create it? Here's a place to start.

What is a Brand Persona?

Wide Eyed Cold Brew Brand Persona

A brand persona is a collection of personality traits, attitudes and values that your brand showcases on a regular basis to help connect with a certain audience segment. A brand persona can be a person, character, mascot or idea.

“The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments for reference. These representations should be based on qualitative and some quantitative user research and web analytics," according to usability.gov.

A good brand persona is one that you can almost visualize as someone you know. You can also think of it as a mirror image of yourself when interacting with the brand. As a small business creating a brand persona, the easiest way to create a personality for your company is to envision the type of person you think would be most interested in our products and services, and create messaging for them. Think of a brand persona as the “character" that best represents what you are about, such as the owl for Wide Eyed Cold Brew.

An authentic persona can help establish trust with users and help maintain their loyalty. This is especially good for eCommerce websites, as a effective persona can positively impact sales.

5 Key Branding Personas

Historically, brand personas fit into several different “buckets" based on human behavior. If you are new to personas, this is a good place to start.

  • Caregiver: This nurturing persona is empathetic and kind.
  • Competent: This persona is an influential leader that can help users or sway them to act.
  • Excited: This spirited persona is happy to do just about anything and embarks on adventures with ease.
  • Rugged: This more muscular persona is athletic and tough.
  • Sophisticated: This persona exudes elegance, style and prestige.

Tips for Creating a Persona

Some of the best advice on creating successful brand personas comes from Aaron Walter, who wrote “Designing for Emotion." He has a list of elements for you to think about as you try to better describe your brand.

Each of these is an action-based item that you can use as a to-do list of sorts.

  • Create a personality image. What/who does your persona look like? Is it a person, animal or other object?
  • Create an overview of your brand.
  • List traits of your brand that you want to highlight.
  • Map out the personality you desire from the list above.
  • Describe how your persona would speak, and provide examples of copy.
  • Describe how the persona engages with others.
  • Put together a style guide with fonts and colors that match the persona.

Why a Persona is Important

Brand Persona Skinny Man Gourmet Jerky

Your brand persona creates a real connection between your company and users. If you don't create a persona intentionally, some type of personality will come out of what you do, and it might not convey the impression you want. That's why you need to create a persona intentionally.

Skinny Man Gourmet Jerky has done this with a fun, light persona that helps sell the product. The character is a stick figure, or skinny man, who speaks to users in casual tone. The overall colors, typefaces and design are light as well, further connecting the company to the brand personality.

Conclusion

A good persona can take your business a long way. It helps establish a valuable connection between customers and your brand. You want shoppers or website visitors to feel like they know you and want to be a part of what you are about. The persona is their guide or mentor or friend.

The right persona can serve you well in the long term and will become strongly associated with your brand. Make sure that it embodies what you want people to think about when they interact with your brand. With these tips above, you can create a brand persona that connects with your customers for years to come.