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A brand's persona is the personality and character—its identity—as perceived by its target audience.

It is a way for a brand to differentiate itself from its competitors and create an emotional connection with its customers. The brand persona should pulse throughout your company, company culture, and services.

A brand persona aims to unify everything about your company—including its values and spirit—through its appearance and interactions.

When developing a brand persona, it's essential to remember the basic tenets of branding so you can represent your business effectively. For example, if you have multiple products under one brand name, you need to determine not only how each product is distinct from the others but also how they are all united under one overall brand persona.

Step 1: Consider the basics of branding

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of creating a brand persona, it's essential to know more about why branding is important.

Companies today saturate media with advertisements and marketing, but those efforts can't be directed at everyone. You must narrow down your audiences and communicate with them in a way that attracts their attention. At a time of media saturation, that's the hard part.

You can connect with your audience emotionally by branding. Sure, we live in a world where artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT can create tons of content. But there's something it lacks: wit, meaningful stories with nuance, and human emotion.

Your company needs to up the ante and bring more emotion, humor, and nuance into your work—and that includes your brand. That's why creating a brand persona that resonates with people is essential.

A brand persona allows you to create a visual and emotional representation of your brand that works as a bridge between your products, customers, and marketing efforts. By creating a unified brand persona, you distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Step 2: Consider the core elements of your brand

When developing a brand persona, think about the core elements of your brand. What values should your brand persona represent? Which ones are the most important? What are the most critical parts of your business?

Common elements of a brand persona:

  • Brand values. These are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide your brand's actions. Innovation, sustainability, and customer service might be such values.
  • Brand tone. The tone is the way the brand communicates and presents itself to the world. It can be formal, casual, serious, playful... and it should be consistent across all touchpoints.
  • Brand voice. The brand voice is the specific language and style your brand uses to communicate with its audience. It should be distinct and memorable, and it should reflect the brand's values and tone.
  • Brand appearance. The visual components of the brand, such as its logo, color schemes, and design elements are all elements that should be cohesive and consistent, creating a solid and recognizable brand identity.
  • Brand story. This element consists of the brand's history, mission, and value narrative. A strong brand story helps create an emotional connection with customers and differentiates the brand from its competitors.

Step 3: Get to know your audience

When developing a brand persona, looking at your audience is vital. What do you know about your customers? What do you know about your leads? And what types of people are interested in your products and services?

At my company, something we do to keep our fingers on the pulse of our audiences is to survey them.

There are many ways you can learn about your company's audience when developing a brand persona:

  • Conduct market research. Use surveys, focus groups, and other methods to gather information about your target audience's needs, preferences, and behaviors.
  • Analyze customer data. Your company likely has a wealth of data on its customers, including demographics, purchasing habits, and preferences. Such data can provide valuable insights into your audience—so use it and lean into it!
  • Engage with customers. One of the most effective ways to learn about your audience is to speak with them. Consider reaching out to customers through social media, email, or other channels to ask for their feedback and insights.
  • Observe your competitors. Look at how your competitors position themselves and target their audiences. That approach can provide valuable insights into what is working (and what is not) in your industry.
  • Consult with industry experts. Industry experts and thought leaders can provide valuable perspectives about your audience and your target market. Consider reaching out to them for insights and advice.

Step 4: Build a memorable identity

When creating a brand persona, look at your competitor brands' personas. Use them as a compass, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. Identifying where your competitors succeed helps you discover areas where you should focus or differentiate.

Incorporate visual elements, such as colors and symbols. Graphic elements can play an essential role in building a memorable identity for your brand.

Finally, consistency is vital. In creating a memorable brand identity, it's essential to remain consistent in your messaging and visuals across all touchpoints. That includes your website, social media, advertising, and other channels you use to communicate with your audience.

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By following the steps outlined in this article and staying true to your brand values, you can create a strong and memorable brand persona that resonates with your audience and sets you apart from your competitors.

More Resources on How to Create a Brand Persona

Build Your Brand by Separating It From Product

How to Authentically Brand Yourself in a Digital World [Marketing Smarts Live Show]

Branding vs. Brand Identity: Five Key Differences and How to Do Both Effectively

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image of Kristy Fontelera

Kristy Fontelera is the CMO at Elsey Enterprises, a boutique marketing agency based in Orlando.

LinkedIn: Kristy Fontelera