When it comes to personalized marketing, there is one thing marketers simply cannot go without: personas. By using them, they get to know their target audiences better and can optimize their strategy accordingly. That way, communication becomes way more personal. After all, the better you can play at the interests and preferences of your audience, the better you can get your message across, right? And just as personas can help you get to know external audiences; you can also use them in internal communication.
Many companies still assume that their employees form one big, homogenous target audience. After all, these people chose to work for the same company, so they should need the same information, don’t you think? Well, no. Let’s face it: Although they all have the same employer, they are all different human beings. And just as external target audiences, they most likely have different ideas, needs, preferences and knowledge levels about the topic. Not only based on the department they work for, but also because of their personalities and motivations. So why would you approach them in exactly the same way?Imagine you’re about to implement a new software, for example. Some departments might need to work with it daily, while others only have touch points once a month. Also, some employees might be very enthusiastic about the change as it will solve some sustainable problems, while others are happy with the current situation and don’t want to change. None of them is wrong, they are just in different situations and have different opinions about the change. You won’t convince them all by sending the exact same information to all of them. Most of it will be irrelevant for the people who don’t work with the software daily. And convincing somebody by sending generic information and leaving it up to them to search what is relevant for them? Well, good luck with that. But you will likely be more successful if you understand their needs and use your knowledge to personalize your internal communication.
Personas help you to get to know your target audience
Once you understand that employees do not automatically form one homogenous target audience, you can start to divide them into smaller segments. For example based on their knowledge level about the topic, the way they will need to work with the change you are about to implement, but also based on their personal preferences and motivations. Get to know the different segments of your target audience as well as possible and don’t only stick to the obvious demographics. After all, Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne were born in the same year, both live in a castle in the UK and they are pretty wealthy. However, you wouldn’t want to send them the same ad of your product, would you?
Personas help you to avoid these kinds of mistakes, as they allow you to get to know your target audience as good as possible. They put a face to the name. Literally, as you can see when reading the definition of a persona on Wikipedia:
A persona, (also user persona, customer persona, buyer persona) in user-centered design and marketing is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way.
So basically, by inventing a fictional character that has the same values, opinions, motivations, knowledge levels and information needs as your target audience segments, you know exactly who you are communicating with. The persona represents all members of the segment, and several personas will represent the entire workforce of your company. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Once you know how to reach out to every single one of them, you’ll know how to get your message across to all colleagues.
How to create personas & use them in internal communication
Once you have segmented your audiences, creating personas is not too difficult. But there’s a little more to it than just coming up with a random fictional character. That’s why we’ve put these four easy steps together for you!
Start with the demographics: Come up with a name for your persona and pick a photo of image to go with it. Then, go ahead and get as specific as possible when it comes to age, department, job, place of living and more. Although demographics are not ideal to segment your target audiences, these details are important to create a realistic persona to optimize your internal communication strategy.
Once you have the demographics, it’s time to work on the background story of your fictional character. How did they end up in the job they are currently doing? How long have they been working in this position? What is their ambition and what motivates them to show up at work and do their best every single day? What frustrates them? Try to get into detail as much as possible here, keeping your topic in the back of your head. In case of a new software, for example, you might want to list skills they already have that will help them use the new system.
When you have finished a persona, it’s time to link it to the change you are about to implement. Map out the journey from where they are now to where they need to be to successfully implement the change. Which milestones do they need to reach? Which new skills do they need to acquire? What do they need to know to make the change happen? This will help you to put together your internal communication strategy in the next step.
After you linked every persona to a personal change journey, it’s time to put your internal communication plan together. Who needs what information, and when? And which media will you use to get your message across? You can always fall back on the personas, as you have listed their preferences before. You know exactly what media type they prefer and what they already know about the topic, which makes it easier for you to create a plan for an efficient change implementation.
Now, you are all set to create personas and improve your internal communication! Not sure where to start? Get in touch! Our consultants are happy to help!
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