Brand Persona: Mini Case Study

By Marisa L Biggins

It’s always refreshing when you’ve taken a course that carries over to relevant topics in a new one.

As a former student of Doug Wilson’s Marketing Strategy class and Katie Mercurio Brand Strategy, brand persona is something that I know all too well (plug: Highly recommend you take their classes if you can). Doug is absolutely correct when it comes to using real-world data to create personas, which several students reiterated on the twitter feed.





In the aforementioned marketing courses, brand personas were essential components of our final projects. However, I will admit the brand audit project for Ben & Jerry’s in Brand Strategy required more in-depth research. The project was broken up in three stages:

1) Assess the brand’s current position in the marketplace

2) Identify potential opportunities for brand expansion or threats to brand image

3) Develop a strategic plan to capitalize on identified opportunities and mitigate potential threats.

During stage three of the project, we created a new brand persona for Ben & Jerry’s in order to create and reach a new generation of brand loyalists. By collecting real data, much like the Target Internet graphic Doug shared with us, we were able to recommend new personas for Ben & Jerry’s rebrand.

From all the data collected, our analysis findings helped us create and introduce two personas, the Wilsons (right) and Harrisons (left). Here is the condensed version of each persona:

Wilsons are college educated, in their late 30s and live in Chicago. They stay active with various family activities and enjoy sharing ice cream.

Harrisons are grandparents of 8 grandchildren and enjoy spending time with their two youngest grandkids. Since they live in the south,  on hot summer days you can find them creating memories and sharing ice cream with the little ones.

So whether you’re working on a brand audit or creating a brand for a company, it’s important to collect your data (research, analyze and survey) when building your personas.


Twitter: @Mei_Ling25

This Article Has 12 Comments
  1. Sophia Meyer says:

    That class sounds really interesting! Thank you for the recommendation. I like that you took what we talked about in class and showed how you personally had experience with the topic. I’d be interested in what research you did to determine those two personas, given that they are both so different from one another. Did you also consider how you would take those personas, and market differently to each one?

  2. Rachel Hanks says:

    I’m glad you emphasized how important it is to back up persona profiles with research and data! As we begin to prepare our final presentations to our clients, it’s good for me (and I’m sure all my classmates) to remember that every suggestion we give must have data and evidence behind it.

  3. Samantha Nadel says:

    Hi Marisa,

    Ben & Jerry’s is one of my favorite brands, so I loved reading your post! However, while it may be too in-depth for this blog post, I am curious as to the specific data you collected that led you to construct these two personas for Ben & Jerry’s. What did the data say about brand loyalists of Ben & Jerry’s, and how exactly did you use that information to create these personas?

  4. Brian Willison says:

    Great post! I like how you connected with what we learned in class about personas and used personal experience to share your ideas about the topic. The class sounds very interesting and the research you did on Ben & Jerry’s sounds interesting as well. Giving a specific case is unique as it gives a more in-depth understanding of personas which made this blog fun to read.

  5. Aaron De Ocampo says:

    Great post! I love the visuals you incorporated. Very well written, concise and to the point! This is a great case study example.

  6. Emily Soury says:

    It seriously is so refreshing when courses topics overlap! Thanks for sharing the results of your final brand audit project for Ben and Jerry’s- it’s neat to see concepts we’ve learned in class being applied in the real world. I love the little breakdown you’ve provided for how you went about creating those personas. Great post!

  7. Justin Hanes says:

    I agree with you completely! I feel as though brands don’t always create personas before creating a campaign. I feel like this was evident in Starbucks’ “Race Together” campaign, where they had baristas talking with customers about race. They didn’t think about the type of persona that baristas were going to engage with. Instead of being a productive and successful campaign, it was arguably one of the worst Starbucks’ communication efforts in history. Personas are also important on social media, too, as they help to augment the user experience.

  8. Ali O'Shaughnessy says:

    Interesting approach and awesome post! Would be interested to see the data you used to create these personas and wonder how they compare to what Ben & Jerry’s uses now.

  9. Jesse Walker says:

    Ben & Jerry’s is a great brand example. They really know who their customer is and they aren’t afraid to make products for that specific customer. Good mini-case study!

  10. Marley McIntosh says:

    I am a big believer that brand personas are essential to getting your brand anywhere because you need to understand and visualize who you are trying to reach. Doug is an expert when it comes to this stuff, so I was so happy he was able to come speak to us. Many topics were covered that I will take into my career and only benefit from in the long run!

  11. Claudia Davis says:

    Personas are a huge thing to focus in on when getting your brand to the right audiences accordingly. It is super important in present day to be following your audiences to see what would marketing would best get them on to your site. Super helpful post! Campaigning using personas is key to a successful business.

  12. Maddie Landers says:

    Any article with ice cream on the cover is going to catch my eye! I love that you incorporated another class in this post. I think so often our classes connect to one another and we don’t always act on it or make the connection. I think any example of brand personas that we can read about helps build a better understanding of a hard to do thing (you never know if you’re hitting the right category of people on the first try!). Thanks for sharing!

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