Whooooo are you who who, who who: Unpacking Your Buyer Persona.

People feel valued and validated when their individual needs, wants and desires are met. If someone takes the time to find out about what makes you tick, what engages you, your history and context, what repulses you, makes you laugh and everything in between, you’ll be more likely to take part in a connection.

Brands are no different. If a brand is empty, soulless and lazy – after a while, the neglect and one-sidedness will wear thin and it will end up with fewer genuine connections.

In knowing someone well, you’ve learnt overtime how to talk to them – the tone to use, what opens up dialogue, what shuts it down, what fosters trust and what creates conflict.

Getting to know someone is a nuanced, subtle art. Apply the same authenticity to outlining your buyer persona and you may make a connection for life. Do it right and you’ll have a pivot point from which to make future decisions.

Here are our top three tips in unpacking a persona:

UNPACK 1: Be curious about your customer

People like talking about themselves: listen. If you’ve got an existing customer base pick up the phone and let them be the artist that sketches out a profile for you. Remove your ego and expectations from the process and don’t bend the answers to suit what you want to hear. Prepare a questionnaire or just start a conversation – whatever comes naturally.

You can also summon a roundtable with your staff, your business partner or, if you’re a lone wolf – go it solo. Make sure you have more-ish biscuits at the ready and set the team the task of nutting out a kind of ‘median’ consumer, based on your existing clientele as a whole.

It’s important to flag here that you may have more than one buyer persona(s).

If you don’t have existing customers, another way to gauge your audience is to commandeer the good ship competitor. Look at your competition’s blog and take time to visit the websites of people commenting. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery and if your contenders are doing it well, learn from their data.

UNPACK 2: Determine the demographics

This list is endless; the more you know, the better:

  • Age
  • Geographic Location

  • Civil Status

  • Family Formation

  • Education

  • Background

  • Job
  • Annual salary
  • Values
  • Research habits
  • Goals
  • Challenges/pain points
  • Preferred content medium
  • Quotes
  • Objections
  • Role in the purchase process
  • Priorities

Make use of the tools available to you:

  • Facebook Profiles
    • Your customer’s own self-summary
    • See what pages they’ve liked
  • Twitter Feeds
    • Look at what your customer has dog-eared in their reading
    • Their field of interests – who/what they’re following/retweeting
  • LinkedIn Profiles
    • Insight into interest groups and associations
  • Quantcast
    • Free tool giving you an understanding of your competitor’s traffic
    • Can shed light on demographic info about a site’s visitors
  • Quicksprout
    • Offers illumination around your customer interests
    • Use competitor’s website to get a list of the most shared content on that site. This can give you direction.

UNPACK 3: Bring your audience to life

Name each buyer persona. You’ll be more likely to get your messaging right if you’re talking to ‘someone’ as opposed to an amorphous mass. Personify them, dress them, fill them out – what’s in their pockets? are they a ‘Bruce’ or a ‘Xavier?’ Make them your screensaver, frame a photo. Have hypothetical lunch with them and start a conversation.

It may seem like a time vacuum, but you’ll waste a lot more time putting your energies in the wrong place.

The fact is – no one knows your brand better than the people that choose to use it.