Improve your advertising with personas

In a recent BusinessWeek article by Steve Mckee, he outlines seven reasons why your advertising may not be working. This is no. 6:

You like it. O.K., this one may sting a bit, but you are not the best judge of your own advertising. You can’t be, because you simply know too much about your brand and have too much affection for it to remain objective. Look at Burger King. Its advertising over the past few years has been quite successful in appealing to the company’s core target audience of young men, but many Burger King franchisees could personally do without it. The smart ones recognize that they’re not the target and leave it alone. Your advertising is not only not about you, it’s not for you. Both points seem counterintuitive, but that’s why this stuff isn’t for amateurs.

McKee is right on track. But getting past your personal tastes is often difficult, or as Mckee stated, counterintuitive and not for amateurs.

So how do the professionals do it? They start by developing personas.

A persona is the model of your target audience. Personas have a name, a face, a personality. They have likes, dislikes and motivations. They are created to remove the personal biases of the designers, copywriters, CEOs, their spouses, the secretary…. Anyone who may have an opinion about an advertising campaign is removed from the equation. This enables you to honestly ask, “Will this message motivate our target audience?”

Perona Example

Perona Example

If you want your advertising message to work, make sure it’s speaking to the right people.

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