What is a customer persona, and why do you need one?

Building a customer persona

Meet James, Sara, Marie and Thomas – the new personifications of the people who buy your products. Each represents a particular customer persona – a composite sketch of the type of person who might buy your stuff. Every time you initiate a new campaign, ask yourself how it might make Thomas or Marie feel. It’s a helpful way of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes.

Story-telling has become such an integral part of how brands position themselves – and what is a story without characters? Creating a customer persona is a useful starting point before defining what the campaign itself will look like. It allows for the concept of homophily – the idea that people love what they know, or to use a cliché, the idea that ‘birds of a feather flock together’.

To create an effective customer persona, use the data you have available to you, make some educated guesses and add some human details to bring it to life. Remember, the purpose is to get an idea of what your ideal customer looks like as a person, rather than rows and columns on a spreadsheet.

Start by asking yourself simple questions, and then build toward something more sophisticated:

  • What age group does your ideal customer fall in?
  • Where does he or she live?
  • How much disposable income does he or she have available?
  • What is his or her favourite social media site? Where does he or she engage most?
  • What industry does he or she work on?
  • Does he or she shop more often online or in-store?
  • What challenges does he or she face on a daily basis?
  • Which influencers does he or she pay attention to in making buying decisions?
  • How far along in the consideration process is he or she?

You might end up with something like this:

Sara, 27, is a successful, single millennial living in London, England. She loves Instagram, and regularly posts colourful shots of her favourite brunch spots and new purchases. Sara is a young, professional earning a decent salary, but with a high cost of living in one of Europe’s most expensive capitals, good value is essential to her. Sara often browses online clothes stores before making a purchase, but enjoys making her purchases in-store so she can feel the fabrics and try the items on. Sara bought her favourite pair of shoes after seeing her favourite fashion blogger post photos of them with a positive review.


Think about one of your favourite brands and the products or services they provide. Now, create a customer persona for them. What does their ideal consumer look like? If you feel brave, leave a comment with your customer persona below!

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3 thoughts on “What is a customer persona, and why do you need one?

  1. Rex says:

    Is the purpose of this exercise to create a profile of your ‘ideal’ customer, or your actual ‘typical’ customer. Often there’s a world of difference.

    • Wilde Words says:

      That’s an interesting point Rex. I think it would be worthwhile to do both. For example, if your typical customer is male but you have a product that you would like to market specifically to women, you could put together a customer persona for each segment of your audience.

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