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How to use personas?

12. June 2016

How to use personas?

Use personas to empathize with your customers and develop products and services that suit your persona’s needs.

Personas are fictional profiles representing a group of people, such as customers (e.g. market segments), potential customers (e.g. target groups) or employees. After defining the characteristics of your persona(s), you can use them in your daily work. The most important idea of using personas is: try to walk in the shoes of someone else, such as your customer’s shoes.

Creating personas in service design

Creating empathy

Personas illustrate for whom a product or service is created for. They
represent your target group and allow to slip into their shows. It’s easy to empathize with personas and you’ll easily understand your customer’s need and context-of-use. In contrast, it is really hard to empathize when you visualize a target group through e.g. an excel chart. The data is just too abstract. When you see the world from your customer’s perspective,
determining what data is useful and what data is not becomes a lot easier.

Getting a team on the same page

Personas are simple illustrations to communicate research data within a team. Without a lot of knowledge, everybody can follow research findings and get a picture of what your target group looks like.  When everybody shares the same understanding of their customers, building consensus on important issues becomes easier as well.

Testing with personas

Use personas to test your ideas for new or improved products, services, or features. You can slip into your customers’ shoes and go through different scenarios with your persona(s) in mind. If someone who is acting as a persona has problems with a feature or gets frustrated when using your product or service, your real customers probably will have difficulties as well.

How many personas?

The answer differs from organization to organization and from project to project, but to give a rule-of-thumb guideline: you will probably need between three to seven core customer personas. It’s unlikely that you’ll have less than three different target groups. It is however likely that you won’t really use personas in your work if you’d have more than seven of them. You simply wouldn’t really remember them. Besides your core personas, you can have many more extreme case personas to test ideas from rather extreme point-of-views.

Katharina takes care of marketing and communications at More than Metrics. With her background in business and psychology she loves both logical as well as empathic thinking.
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