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Using Personas for Communications

I was honored to be asked to write an article for Communication Director, the premier publication for corporate communications and public relations in Europe and Asia. The following is an excerpt from that article, with a link to the entire piece for your convenience. 

Personas help drive behavior-based communications.

Why communications professionals are exchanging demographics for personas and other behavior-based tactics

Marketing and communications professionals have always loved demographic data. In a world where nothing seems black and white, numbers always add up and this can be quite comforting. Unfortunately, many aspects of marketing communications have changed in ways that limit the effectiveness of demographic- and psychographic-based strategies. The proliferation of messaging channels over the past decade combined with the consumer’s ability to customize how they receive information means that an understanding of behavioral characteristics is fast becoming a critical success factor for communications efforts. Integrated marketing communications experts in particular have turned to analyzing and incorporating behavior to make decisions on the best strategies to use for specific campaigns.

Communications professionals are often adept at incorporating behavior into their work, particularly when it comes to the media. As campaigns become more and more integrated however, it’s necessary to understand behavior on a deeper level. This article will outline the reasons for basing strategy on behavior and provide ways to incorporate tools like personas into a communications practice.

The importance of behavior

The growing number of messaging channels has created not only a cluttered content environment, but a splintered experience for audiences. Audiences include not just the direct customer of a brand or service, but the media, influencers, and any other key public that may have an impact on a campaign. The challenge is to reach and influence target audiences through their preferred channels and that requires an understanding of how they behave and engage with those channels. This can be as simple as knowing what cable programs they watch, to something more complex such as learning the typical engagement profile of a Reddit user.

To read the rest of this article, visit Communication Director here. 

2 Responses

  1. Each persona resides in a different communications “box”, represents a different target audience, needs different keywords and phrases to relate to the topic and therefore needs a customized marketing message. Your post is spot on although I don’t think they are replacing demographics with but rather adding personas to.

    As a business executive you can be either a leader or manager or
    both. As a leader you are someone with a vision who makes a set of
    rules and takes off on a journey to make the vision a reality. People
    follow in your footsteps and you generally leave a lot of breakage
    behind for others to clean up. As a manager you’re simply someone who
    makes sure that people use a set of rules to accomplish someone else’
    vision. You’re like a referee in a game. You make sure that the game
    is played according to the rules regardless of the fact that the
    environment may be changing and the rules may need to be tweaked. Here
    are 10 qualities that define you as a business executive.

    1. The Art of Making Money

    You’re in business to make money. Your job is to deliver value to the
    customer so that you can create wealth for the business – you, the
    other owners and your employees.

    2. Keeping Abreast of the Marketplace.

    The business environment is changing rapidly because of economic,
    sociological and technological factors. If you can see it happening and
    can react quickly or are able to anticipate it you’re assured of keeping
    ahead of your competition.

    3. Improving Your Leadership Skills

    A good business executive is never satisfied with the status quo.
    There is always need for improvement. Keep honing your skills. Seek
    out others who don’t necessarily agree with you. Diverse opinions cause
    ideas to spark and take you to somewhere you couldn’t have reached

    4. Setting Goals

    Understand your goals and how to set them. Don’t just reword the old
    goals. Take a careful look at the environment and find out where
    you’re at, where you want to be and then put a plan in place to get from
    here to there.

    5. Taking the First Steps.

    Setting priorities comes immediately after understanding and setting
    proper goals. The first step may be a small one to give you a sense of
    accomplishment. Engage and have a daily focus on the major steps that
    will make your business move forward.

    6. Surround Yourself with Good People

    Invest in the right people to build a winning team. Make sure every
    job has been filled with the appropriately skilled and motivated people
    and create the right environment for them to be successful.

    7. Your Integrity is a Keystone of Your Success

    Your Integrity is under the constant scrutiny of your customers and
    employees. Avoid over-promising and always deliver on your promises.

    8. Be flexible

    You grow when you are flexible and can challenge unchanging points of
    views, yours or others’. Do not allow any one to limit what you can
    achieve. You should constantly strive to surpass your own boundaries.

    9. Maintaining the Right Balance

    There are always parties who tend to want to see your company head in
    a different direction. These can include but are not limited to
    environmental groups, government agencies and other special interests
    concerns. Learn how to keep them at bay without antagonizing them.

    10. There are no guarantees

    Use your intuition to recognize a good idea and be prepared to move
    on it. If you wait for all the facts to present themselves some
    opportunities go away. Learn to give up on bad ideas and move on to
    something that works. Find a new direction as fast as practicable.
    Spinning wheels just burn energy that could be used profitably somewhere

    To be a successful business executive, you need to be both. You need
    vision to put the business on the winning course but you also need to
    keep modifying the game as time progresses. Only then do you make
    progress along this journey called entrepreneurshipresents.
    is therefore a different target audience with different

  2. Great information. Lucky me I came across your website by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve book-marked it for later!

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