On Monday of this week, Brendan Regan wrote an excellent post highlighting 3 ways to enhance CRO efforts with customer personas.Â Grok reader Kyle Reiff, from FinallyFast left a particularly astute and intriguing comment on that postâ€¦.
Is it really advisable to try and market to 4 personas through one brand?Â If these four personalities truly require a specific kind of copy (copy which will drive conversions for these the consumers that match this persona), wouldnâ€™t it make the most sense to develop branding for each persona type?
I guess what Iâ€™m asking: Is it a recommended strategy, especially if youâ€™re in the process of launching a product, to re-evaluate your marketing strategy to including branding options for each persona?
His comment really got me thinking.Â If he had asked the more typical â€śHow can you possibly speak to 4 different types of people on one website?â€ť I would have been able to answer the question in my sleep.Â But he seems to intuitively understand that just because each persona might require a particular kind of copy doesnâ€™t mean there have to be four websites.Â Those four kinds of copy can coexist on one site, just in slightly different locations, even on the same page sometimes… but what about in a brand? I was stumped!
FutureNow friend, David Freeman, came up with a savvy character development technique for screenwriting called character diamonds, and has since adapted the diamond technique to Branding and Integrated Marketing.Â The character diamond meshes nicely with our customer personas, since the conceptual roots are similar to those of our personas.Â And another David, Dave Young, trained in FutureNow’s Persuasion Architecture, writes a branding blog we like to read and point people toward…. be he certainly doesn’t limit his topics to branding alone!Â Thatâ€™s why we sometimes look to one of the two Davids when it comes to overlaying our personas with a customer’s branding efforts.Â Still, despite my limited knowledge of the two Davids’ branding techniques, I wasnâ€™t really sure how to answer the question.
When I think about branding, I think about the single primary feeling a product evokes, or image it promotes.Â For me, that feeling is most strongly associated with the productâ€™s tagline, which usually appeals more openly to one of the four persona types than the others.Â Here are some examples that came to mind immediately:
So, how could a brand speak to four personas?Â Could it?Â Naturally, I wasnâ€™t the only one here at FutureNow who noticed this comment.Â Senior Analyst Brendan Regan, who keeps tabs on the comments people leave on his posts, reached out to me to ask me if I had seen it.Â Hereâ€™s the discussion that ensued (WARNING – this conversation contains numerous references to Meyers-Briggs and/or Keirsey Temperament types and styles, whose interaction styles tend to overlap quite nicely):
MjB: So what do you think about it [comment on your post]?Â I know we can address 4 personas within the context of one site but what about one brand? Doesn’t a brand, by its very nature, favor one persona over the others? I think of examples of brands that exude a persona (the granola/tree hugger stuff, or the high power executive).Â VW versus BMW is one example.
BR: Right, so it’s the personas vs. demographics thing.
MjB: Come again?
BR: Brands tend to target demographic segments, e.g. the BMW buyer type
MjB: But isn’t the message “the ultimate driving machine” targeting NTs? I mean, if you have a tagline that best represents what your product or service brings to the market, and that’s a part of your brand, how could that one tagline appeal to all people?
BR: A segment can “skew” to a particular MBTI, but to do it to the exclusion of other MBTIs is a mistake.
MjB: right…. I understand that even though BMW may skew to the NTs there may be other aspects of the product that appeal to other MBTIs too, like safety features, or energy conservation, or “it’s so fun to drive!”
BR: And, an NT may switch to a different buying modality once they realize they’re going to be investing $85,000 in a car!
MjB: OK. But that shift doesn’t change the brand at all, does it?Â When branding, doesn’t one message tend to dominate the others?
BR: Yeah, “Branding” can/should exist separate from marketing personas.
MjB: It seems to me that with the strong association between a brand and it’s tagline, that all the examples I can come up with have a clear leaning toward one MBTI type, although it doesn’t mean other types wouldn’t find something to like in the product or service. How closely does a tagline reflect the overall brand?
BR: Yes, I agree that most taglines will skew towards an MBTI.Â That’s why the tagline will only get you so far.Â A tagline is an appendage of the brand.
MjB: I guess part of what I struggle with is knowing what a brand is exactly…. if it’s just the feeling a particular way of marketing evokes, it seems a little nebulous to me.Â The only way I can relate or qualify it is by its more concrete parts.Â So, if a tagline is an appendage of a brand do brands have multiple taglines, that appeal to different MBTIs?
BR: No, which is why trying to “brand” to multiple personas is probably a mistake. “Brand” to your overall target audience (the greatest good for the greatest number), then make sure the user experience and marketing covers all personas.
If you want to create customer personas, or even learn how to apply them to your branding efforts, contact us now to find out what weâ€™d do to help you achieve your goal, and keep building upon it.