by Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-Owner, Brand Shepherd

Brand development is an exercise of examining what the brand is and is not, and then codifying the discoveries in a way that the brand owner(s) and stakeholder(s) can easily leverage to grow the brand.

Here are what I know to be the second of the 5 key ingredients for building a brand:

Part 2: The Brand’s Customer Personas

Equally important to the brand’s voice is the customer persona the brand is talking to.

Brands that lack focus are not successful brands. You need to know who you are talking to, what their buying habits are, lifestyle choices, etc.

The brand voice will be compelling and even familiar when it speaks the sub-cultural language of its customers.

So, What Are Customer Personas

Mix demographics and habits together, and we get a customer persona. The persona is an average, an ideal person that would love to buy from the brand. The customer persona has all the demographic and habitual data that makes our brand’s offering attractive and needed.

It’s always best that a customer persona be written out, and documented as part of any brand guidance resources. Just as the visual parts of the brand have guidelines, so should the brand’s ideal customer(s) be documented in quick, brief write-ups of what the customer persona is made up of.

An example might look like this:

Jack Doe is a blue-collar man, aged between 32-45 years old, who drives a pickup truck, loves to hunt, and is fiercely patriotic. As part of Jack’s daily rituals, he loves a good meaty meal. He will prefer a steak, brisket, pulled pork, or a hamburger over a salad any day of the week. Jack’s living spaces are populated with products that use simple visual branding – he doesn’t go for loud, clever, or modern/minimalist design. He likes bold, earthy simple colors and is proud to display logos that align with his values.

A good example is the sport of basketball. I sometimes love watching and listening to basketball because I have no idea what the announcers and advertisers are talking about. It’s a sport full of language and assumptions that make absolutely no sense to me. Yet it makes a lot of sense to its fans, and those fans become customers.

Customer personas will help identity the age, location, lifestyle, buying habits, values, and more of the people who we want to become loyal to the brand.

FTR: I came of age in the greater Chicagoland area watching Jordan win 6 rings with Da Bulls. Today’s basketball product is a vastly inferior product compared to yesteryear; once I’ve had steak, it’s hard to chew on cheap ground chuck.

In the next segment, I’ll cover Part 3: The Brand’s “Why”, where I will tackle the big question of “Why does our brand and products exist?,” which has become entirely more complicated than it needs to be. In Part 3, I will simplify it for you.

If this has helped you identify that your product brand needs to define its voice, please get in touch. Brand Shepherd would be delighted to consider working alongside your product brand.

The Full Key Ingredient Series

Part 1: The Brand’s Voice

Part 2: Customer Personas

Part 3: Brand Identity

Part 4: The “Why?”

Part 5: The Chef