So you’re on a mission to make a positive social and environmental impact in the world and you have an idea or a solution.
One of the first questions you’ll have to answer is who am i creating this new solution for?
Gone are the days when engineers came up with an invention, knocked on the door of the marketing teams to ask them to go and sell their invention to the world.
Organisations have to build meaningful experiences around users’ needs and connect emotionally with them. People and planet-saving innovations are no exception.
This is when user personas come into play.
What is a User Persona?
A User Persona is a fictional character you create to represent the motivations, emotions and behaviours of a hypothesised user.
Persona templates may vary but will always aim at humanising your target audience, so that anybody working on the project can picture them.
The following template shows the key element which can be documented. A persona template and a how-to guide can also be found with our persona toolkit.
How many user personas do you need?
For a given project, user personas usually come in families of 3 to 6, depending on your business and the number of stakeholders it has to engage with.
Primary user personas focus of the most important end users of your service.
Secondary user personas will be influencers, admin, partners or investors.
Why every impact entrepreneur should develop user personas
First, User Personas are the best way to get everyone, starting with you if you are a solo founder, to gain a deep understanding of whom you are designing for.
By unearthing insight such as motivations, needs, attitudes, barriers to action and emotions, personas can help understand and navigate the Attitude / Intention gap, which is huge when it comes to sustainable consumption.
At Impactivs, we talk to a lot of impact entrepreneurs who are passionate about saving the world, but their optimism and determination often makes them overlook the fact that not everybody is ready to compromise or change to have a better social and environmental impact.
This is why persona are hugely beneficial to validate or invalidate marketing and design decisions.
In summary, user personas are key to design, build and test your products with an insight-based and user-centred approach. By putting yourself in the shoes of your main users, you are able to shape your product/ service strategy, test and hopefully avoid design pitfalls that could make you lose time and money in your project launch…and at the next stages of your growth.
Need some help to create your own user personas? Check out our User Persona Toolkit and Templates.