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Persona-Driven Design: The Snap Philosophy

By Snap Agency July 25, 2019

We all have specific preferences, likes, and dislikes—such as preferring a specific roast of coffee over another, a vehicle make or model over all others, or even certain personality traits in a life or business partner. All of these types work together to reveal our persona. Defined as the personality characteristics we present in public, our personas reveal a lot about our personal preferences and even our purchasing tendencies. See where we’re going with this?

Businesses in the digital age are faced with the unique challenge of discovering who their customers really are behind the screen. Persona-driven design involves identifying those customers’ types and using their preferences to create highly-targeted marketing campaigns that convert. Could this method be beneficial to your brand? Let’s check it out. 

What’s a Persona?

The intention behind the concept of personas is to provide something tangible that can help you orient developing strategies and marketing decisions. When it comes to defining and designing digital products, the usefulness of personas has skyrocketed in recent years—largely due to increased market competition and changing consumer demands. 

Once you step into digital marketing, it’s vital to know exactly who is going to buy from you, who is going to advocate for your brand, and who is going to do both. If you’re uncertain of your customer demographic, you may end up wasting time and money targeting the wrong people in the wrong locations. Creating both buyer personas (solid customers) and brand hero personas (people who love your brand) gives you a clear target around which to make marketing decisions, setting you up to get the results you want.

What Is Persona-Driven Design?

Persona-driven design is the process of researching and compiling traits and characteristics that define your ideal customer (or customers). This helps to identify their strongest selling points and more accurately tailor your product, service, and marketing strategy to those preferences. In addition to offering consumer insight, personas can also be used to improve the overall user experience and UX design.

Putting Personas to Work

So, how do you actually utilize personas? A persona-driven approach typically begins with brainstorming a profile for an imaginary customer whose goals and characteristics might lead them to your product. Including backgrounds, careers, shopping preferences, attitudes, and more, this persona should form a realistic picture of someone who would like your brand and use your products. 

Creating archetypical consumers might seem silly and leave you wondering why you should dream about an ideal consumer instead of focusing on real people. In reality, personas are more than just wishful thinking—creating archetypes provides useful insight into your target audience because it helps answer the question, “Who, exactly, are we designing for?” Drawing up theoretical consumers also allows you to get outside your own perspective and into a consumer mindset. Once you better understand the breakthroughs and frustrations customers face, you’ll be better prepared to offer a solution.

Creating an Effective Persona-Driven Design Strategy

After creating several personas that speak to your current or ideal consumer base, you can implement a design strategy around these preferences. Here’s what persona-driven design strategies are useful for.

Building Personal Connections

When you meet someone new, sparking a personal connection with them is an easy way to start forming a relationship. This mindset also applies to persona-driven design. Leveraging personas allows brands to understand what consumers like and don’t like. This information should inform marketing and communication decisions, and can lead to a deeper and more authentic connection with your customer base. 

Offering Design Direction

Personas allow us to target consumers more effectively by revealing how to speak directly to their preferences and desires. From a design perspective, personas offer a sounding board for specific decisions, from altering the layout of a page to switching up site navigation. Whenever a design change is in the works, existing personas can be consulted, and likely customer feedback can be extrapolated from there. 

Boosting SEO

Using personas can help maximize SEO efforts by revealing key insights about any given target market. The more detailed your personas are, the more targeted your subsequent marketing and design approaches can be. You can use personas as a starting point for tailoring a content marketing strategy, website navigation, linking, and even color scheme.

The Don’ts of Persona-Driven Design

Persona-driven design goes a long way in helping brands create and carry out a successful marketing campaign. If handled the wrong way, however, this approach can come across as inauthentic and too focused on the return, as opposed to the real customers. When developing and implementing personas in your marketing strategy, keep these points in mind.

Put in the Research

Pulling “Amazon-obsessed Amanda” out of nowhere as your ideal customer isn’t the same as having research to support that persona. Although qualitative research takes time and effort on the front end, you’ll be glad you did it when you have the proof to back up your newly built-out personas.

Don’t Force It

Is the persona of your ideal customer casual? Are they intellectual, or down-to-earth? While you want your products to be well-suited to the ideal consumer, you can’t ignore the people who are currently supporting your brand. It can be tempting to cater our built-out personas to fit our design and not the other way around. If your current marketing strategy isn’t meshing with your ideal persona, don’t force a fit. Instead, identify the areas of disconnect and work on bridging the gap.

Keep People First With Snap

Curious about how persona-driven design can change your whole marketing strategy? Let Snap help! From expert design services to in-depth brand workshops, you can count on us to put your customers first and create bold solutions to increase ROI. Contact us today to take your persona-driven design to the next level.

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