Developing personas is an arduous process involving a lot of research and perspective-taking. Once they have been developed, the challenge becomes how to use them.

Personas are the bedrock of marketing. While they are abstract concepts, they represent the real people who see our content and use our products. We’ve successfully used personas as part of our human behaviour approach for several years, helping clients exceed their expectations and goals as a result

With Christian Aid, we used personas to test and learn our CRO hypotheses to improve the CX across their website. In 6 months we conducted 16 tests ranging from traditional UX to copy and imagery. We drove £116k in additional donations with a 34.64% increase in conversion rate providing the client with 161% ROI. 

Similar success was achieved with Nido Student, by applying our learnings from a behavioural discovery piece and the creation of personas - we were able to personalise ad copy and creatives based on the needs and motivations of their audiences. As a result, we were able to sell out all student accommodation at record time for the client, across multiple markets! 

Despite how convincing it is to use them, it’s often overwhelming to work with personas. There’s plenty of rich detail but not enough guidance on how to use them in marketing, leading to many missed opportunities. This begs the question - how do we bring personas to life and bring value to our marketing activities?

One way to do this is by acknowledging the persona not just as a static list of characteristics on a page but as a real, dynamic person we consult with every step of our marketing activities. 

To illustrate this, let’s pretend we’re a travel agency developing a marketing campaign. We’ve done our research and we have identified some key information for our target persona:


THE PERSONA: Eco-conscious escapist

  • Have a strong sense of adventure and want unique cultural experiences
  • Mindful of their environmental impact and advocate for sustainability
  • Gain inspiration for travels from social media such as TikTok and Instagram
  • Prefer boutique hotels and actively avoid large chain hotels

Now that we have a glimpse of our persona profile - let’s take it one step further and imagine that we want to have a meaningful interaction with the people this persona represents.   


What do we say to them?

We know that the Eco-Conscious Escapist values their environmental impact. With this knowledge, we can start crafting the information we want to communicate about our company in a way that resonates with them. As a travel agency, we want to help them decide where to travel - considering their values and related information needs, we can develop and communicate offerings on sustainable travel destinations or highlight carbon emissions saved by choosing certain transport options we offer. 


How do we talk to them?

We know that the Eco-Conscious Escapist has a strong sense of adventure. We can test behavioural science principles such as social identity and appeal to their adventure-loving side by using ‘For adventurers like you’ in our copies. We can also think about using a tone that exudes spontaneity and excitement and strong action verbs when we communicate through using ad copies such as ‘Explore the world responsibly’ and ‘Fuel your wanderlust sustainably’. 

We also know that they gain inspiration about travels from Instagram and TikTok. We can release visually compelling footage of people actively travelling to our destinations and provide information about sustainable travel options through these social media sites, or increase the budget on running paid ads on these channels.


How can we build our relationship with them?

We know that they have a preference for boutique hotels. We can highlight partnerships with boutique hotels with a sustainability commitment to encourage more frequent bookings. We can also employ several behavioural science principles such as rewards by offering to plant trees or donate to an environmental charity of their choice with each booking, reciprocity by gifting them with sustainable items such as plant seeds, or social proof by mentioning the number of other travellers who are similar to them and have also availed of our travel packages.

Finally, while bringing life to personas is important, it’s also important to ensure that personas stay alive by applying the learnings we get from our marketing efforts. Personas evolve just like people grow up and change with the times. It’s also important to revisit the personas we create, check whether new data continues to support them, and evaluate whether there is a need to bring to life new personas.



Personas are the foundation of good marketing, and they can be applied in different ways such as improving conversion rates and creating more engaging ad copies
We can engage with personas by keeping in mind three key questions - What do we say to them? How do we talk to them? How can we build our relationship with them?
Personas should be continually updated with new data from our marketing efforts

If there’s anything in your mind about personas and how to use them in your business, please have a chat with us!

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As part of the Human Behaviour team, Ariane helps ensure that Reflect Digital’s work is centred on people by applying insights from audience research and behavioural science. She aims to inspire others to see different perspectives and appreciate the diversity in being human.

More about Ariane

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