Using Brand Personas in Customer Journey Mapping
A fundamental principle of modern day marketing is to segment the market and select appropriate target markets. For more information on the market segmentation process, please refer to the market segmentation study guide.
Target markets are smaller parts of the overall market, where consumers are grouped into sets of similar needs or buying behaviors. For example, in the fast food industry, you might create market segments for:
- Travelers and holiday makers,
- Young adults,
- Retirees, and so on.
There are many ways to segment a market – again please refer to the market segmentation study guide for more information – but once a market segment is selected as a target market, the marketer then needs to develop an appropriate marketing strategy and marketing mix that is designed to meet the needs of the consumers in this segment.
The Role of Brand Personas
A brand persona is a representation of a consumer in the firm’s target market. Basically it is a description of the consumer in terms of:
- Marital status,
- Purchasing behavior,
- Attitudes to brands,
- Switching preference,
- Price sensitivity,
- Overall product needs, and so on.
The best way to think about a brand persona is to think about the question: “How would you describe the typical consumer in the target market?”
Giving a Brand Persona a Name and a Personality
A key role of a brand persona is to help make the target market “real” for the firm and its marketing decisions. Therefore, it is quite common to give the brand persona (which is a typical consumer in the target market) a name, perhaps an image/picture, and even a personality. The goal is to create a real person in the minds of the strategists and marketers in the organization.
A simple example of a brand persona
For this brand persona example, let’s assume we are developing a brand persona for the fast food industry.
Meet Sally. Sally is in her late 20’s, has a college degree and is pursuing her career in the travel industry, where she works in the finance department for a major international airline. She is currently single without children.
Sally has a good disposal income and enjoys socializing and eats out of home on most nights, as she prefers not to cook. She likes variety in her food choices and doesn’t tend to eat at the same place more than once per week. There are about 10 different food outlets and restaurants that are in her brand consideration set. She prefers food choices that are close to her home or work, that are good value for money, and are served reasonably quickly. In other words, she seeks the benefits of: convenience, value and speed of service.
Notes on this Brand Persona (Sally)
You should note that the intent is to “paint a picture” of the typical consumer in the target market. Sally does not actually exist but is a good approximation of the target market. You should note that both Sally as a person and as a consumer are described in the brand persona summary.
Brand personas are usually based upon market research findings (from focus groups, surveys and loyalty data) and their length ad depth are reliant on the amount of information available to the firm. In the absence of formal market research data, it should be possible for firms with a good understanding of their customers to make assumptions and to describe a brand persona based on their existing knowledge.
Why create a brand persona?