Mad About Personas

I'm going to describe a man to you. He lives in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio. Some call it the heartland, some call it the beer belt.

He has some college, makes a good living, but it doesn't feel like it because he works long hours.

He has a lawnmower. Wants a hammock.

Bunch of power tools in his garage that he never uses.

He loves sports because he used to play them. He loves dogs because they don't talk.

We all know this man because there are millions of them.

...and he drinks beer. Not just any beer - it has to be HIS brand. And what is HIS brand? The one he drank in college? The one his dad drank?  
The one that comes in the best bottle, can, tap?

It doesn't matter because that's it and it's not open for discussion.

Now you all know that's not true - but how do you get him to open his mind?

Better have something more, or in this case....less.

What you just read is a scene from Sunday night's Mad Men episode Lost Horizon. Don Draper, now a part of the famous McCann Erickson firm is listening to this description of the target audience for their huge client. As you were reading it did you put a face and name to the man? Do you KNOW this man? Can you guess what brand they were talking about? I'll give you a hint - the first beer to introduce a low calorie option.  Miller Lite, everything you've always wanted in a beer, and less. 

Building a "persona" for a brand is the best way to narrowly target your audience and yet most credit unions don't know who their target audience is or if they do have labeled them something innocuous like "middle market, credit driven."  We're afraid to target an audience because we're afraid of excluding anyone. After all, EVERYONE needs deposit and loan products, right? At some time in their life anyway, so why would we risk it? 

Because if you don't clearly define your target audience you could inadvertently target the wrong one. What's the average age of your membership? Pushing 50? Pushing 60? Guess who you've been excluding? 

It's time to get out of the field of membership rut. Lives, works and worships (or goes to school) is NOT a target. It's a territory. Umpqua Bank does not target anyone that lives on the West Coast. Bank of American doesn't target everyone in America. 

What is your target? Who do you honestly NOT target? Try creating a persona, have some fun with it, name the person, make up their life.  It'll make YOUR life so much easier. 

- Denise