The customer experience blog

Video tutorial: what is a persona and how do I create one?

16. September 2019

Video tutorial: what is a persona and how do I create one?

In this video you learn what a persona is and what one has to consider when illustrating it. Also the video shows why demographic data is not relevant enough to define a good persona.

Besides other insights you’ll learn about the importance of research when creating personas. Therefore, the more data is available, the better you can rely on your persona. Accordingly, it is easier to offer products that are perfectly tailored to the persona.

Watch this four minute video to learn more about personas.

Download your cheat sheet on personas as a perfect reminder on your desk.


In this methods video we’re going to talk about personas. We’ll cover what a persona is, how you can use this in your organization, what value it actually provides and how to create one.

First, let’s start with what it is. A persona is a profile that represents a particular group of people, such as a group of customers or users, a market segment, a subset of employees, or any other stakeholder group. A persona is not a stereotype, rather it’s an archetype based on research. Even though personas are fictional, they help make groups of people with similar service needs more understandable. Often personas are used to challenge existing definitions of market segments used in an organization. Try to base your persona on common user needs, patterns, similar interests etc.

In general, be careful when using demographics for a persona. Age, gender, income and alike is data that is easy to get and therefore it’s often used in marketing to segment customers. But demographics often lead to stereotypes and not actionable insights regarding your users. Netflix even says demographics are garbage when it comes to predicting users needs. So try personas as a chance to break free from current ways of market segmentation and create personas that are based on research which can ultimately help you to break down silos and get away from stereotypes.

Now let’s talk about how we can use this in our organization and what value it actually provides. There are three specific things to think about.

1. Personas can be used to share research findings and insights within your team. But they can also serve as a common language to align an interdisciplinary team or align multiple organizations.

2. Personas can help create buy-in. They help gain buy-in on a specific user problem or need within the team or even outside of the team.

3. Empathy. They help a team to get onto the same page and step into the shoes of different customer groups, to understand their needs and to check how the work of the company actually serves the customer. For example, some companies even have life-sized cardboard cut-outs of their persona and they bring them to meetings to include a specific perspective.

So how do we create a persona? There are five different steps.

1. Figure out what you want to learn about your customer. You can consider questions like like: – What are their goals? – What are they worried about? – What needs do they have? – What expectations do they have of my product or service?

2. Once you figured out some questions, go and talk to your customer. But really.

3. Draw on what you have: chances are you probably know a bit of information about your customers through things like CRM data, analytics, customer databases, order history and so forth. These kind of things can be added to your personas.

4. Create a draft of your persona in a pen and paper workshop. On our website you’ll find free downloads of persona templates that you can use in your workshop. If you can – include your customer in these workshops. If you can’t, frontline stuff who often interact with your customer are also great in these types of workshops.

5. Try Smaply to translate your first drafts into professionally illustrated personas that you can share, edit and further develop.

If you’re curious about the purpose or how to create stakeholder maps, journey maps or the methodology behind these tools, check out our methods videos.

Isabel helps us manage our online channels and provide our users with helpful learning materials and updates. She loves learning new things, good food and snowboarding.