A luxury I get from writing this post at the end of the term is the curriculum knowledge from our past 10 weeks of class. I have been reflecting on this winter term and the various skills we learned in #sojcssm throughout it. For one, I think I am physically incapable of writing “sojcssm” without placing a hashtag before it. More importantly, we covered so many topics, spanning from influencers to virtual reality to data analysis. Although there was a variety of intriguing discussions, the one I found most interesting was our coverage of personas.
I was familiar with the concept of personas prior to J480, but upon delving deeper into the tactic, I appreciated learning about the humanity that translates into the online world. Business professor Doug Wilson spoke to our class on Monday about the infinite data companies are receiving from us daily, and the personas they have created from it. It’s easy to forget there are humans on the other side of our phone screens, or even on the other side of the advertisements that plague our social media feeds. However, it’s a cool thing when you stop and think about how those ads were curated specifically for your feed.
Personas put consumers into specific categories without overgeneralizing the things that make them unique. This way, companies like Pedialyte can market to moms worried about their children’s well-being, and also to millennials worried about their Sunday scaries. Personas are a hugely helpful tool in identifying your audiences and how to best market to them. If I were to have a persona created after me, it would be; “Taylin, 21, earning a degree in public relations, often spends weekends at college bars but always prioritizes her schooling first, can’t say no to brunch or any other aesthetically pleasing meal that will look good on the gram, cares about the environment but isn’t sure about where to start saving it, loves dogs, loves her family more, cherishes friendships and trending memes.” Something along those lines.
When companies identify the types of people interacting with their brand, they are better equipped to attract more of those people. Personas are an impactful way to not only reach your audiences, but to make your message stick with them. A lot of the human connection can get lost in digital translation, and it’s important to remember that it’s the human connection that led to an interaction in the first place. After explaining the persona of “Kyle,” Doug told our class that there is usually a woman behind every Kyle who is helping him make his decisions. It is these relationships that influence our daily lives and the choices we make. Kyle may make his decision for a new car with the help of his wife; Mary, who wants to provide the best for her child, might make her decision of baby wipes based on their eco-friendliness, and I might make my decision on a brunch spot based on my friend’s rave reviews.
The things that make us human can easily translate into the nonhuman digital world, companies just need to identify what those things are and why we have them. Generalizing the millions of intricacies of a person’s life is much easier said than done, but is the first step in generating quality content for your audiences. I feel so fortunate to have taken #sojcssm and learned from not only Kelli, but also from guest speakers we’ve had the privilege of listening to. Our class curriculum will stick with me for a long time, as I enter the professional world in just three short months, but personas will stick with me for a lifetime. And yes, I will be categorizing all of my friends into personas from now on. If you’d like any updates on what those personas are or need brunch spot recommendations, follow me on Twitter or add me on LinkedIn.