Strategic profile can give brands personality

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Brand personas are all over the advertising world, and marketers should do strategic profiling in order to capture the true persona of their brand.

Robust, detailed consumer personas help your marketing partners create successful strategies as well as provide insight for creative development, media placement and promotion design.

"Brand persona is the human face of a brand," said Martha Bush, senior vice president at SIGMA Marketing Group. "The persona is the description of an archetypal user."

To create a proper persona, marketers need to profile," she said. "The profiling stage helps find the most useful and important characteristics."

Personas should be used for products or services where there is a narrow homogenous target audience. However, what should not be assumed is that there is only one customer. Marketers tend to use personas for advertising development without also using concrete customer data. Transactional data allows marketers to see consumers' product purchase patterns, time between purchases, lifetime value and what channels they use.

"In order to build a strategic profile, marketers need to first understand their customer," Ms. Bush said. "To understand the customer requires survey data, purchase data, enhancement data and focus groups."

Ms. Bush listed the following considerations to take when building a profile: lifetime value, brand preference, favorite activities, purchases behavior, product usage frequency and Web behavior.

Questions such as "Who is my best consumer?" "How does the consumer use the product?" and "Where do they research?" are useful guides in creating a brand persona.

Focus groups are good, but what the consumers say about themselves is not always their true behavior. They do allow marketers to see whether consumers are loyal about their brand, what their buying process is and how they use products. Surveys validate focus group data. They let marketers see their consumer's category involvement, share-of-wallet, loyalty and referral behavior.

"Building facts around your consumer allows for myth-busting," Ms. Bush said. "It also quantifies each part of the customer relationship. It generates further questions, allowing marketers to delve even deeper."

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