A leading independent publication about strategic branding worldwide.

How to Define Accurate Buyer Personas for Strategic Branding

Image of a man making a purchase on a tablet

Buyer personas are often viewed as a fictional profile of the ideal customer created through market and audience research. 

But did you know that developing buyer personas using insights from real customers is not just a more powerful and accurate approach, but also one that empowers you with a deeper understanding of your audience?

By exploring the world of buyer personas built from the words of real and recent buyers, you can avoid speculation and gain access to a wealth of real, applicable information that can enhance your brand positioning and strategy.

In this article, you will not only learn what a modern buyer persona is and the five rings of buying insight, but also how to build a buyer persona based on real customer’s insights. You will also discover how to practically apply this information for your brand positioning strategy.

50 Video Lessons | In-Depth Workbook | Templates | Support
The Ultimate Brand Building System is now open for registration. Enroll today to stand out in your market and create a future-proof brand!

What is a Modern Buyer Persona?

Built from the words of real buyers, a contemporary buyer persona reveals everything your prospective customers want to know and experience before they buy from you.

More than just a fictional archetype of an individual or role involved in the buying decision, a modern persona reveals real buyers’ mindset and steps as they identified options to address a particular need, sorted through their options, and made a final purchase decision.

Based on the 5 Rings of Buying InsightTM, these buyer personas uncover:

  1. Priority Initiatives – the most compelling reason(s) buyers begin to evaluate a solution like yours NOW, while others are content with the status quo.
  2. Success Factors – results that buyers expect from purchasing a solution like yours. These are desired outcomes from the buyer’s perspective.
  3. Perceived Barriers – a buyer’s concerns about making this investment or making it with you. These are factors that eliminate providers from consideration as buyers narrow down their options.
  4. Decision Criteria – questions that buyers are asking throughout the buying journey. This is how buyers evaluate and compare each option to determine the best fit for their needs.
  5. Buyer’s Journey – steps taken, resources trusted, and people involved as buyers look for solutions, evaluate their options, and settle on a final choice.  
Graph shoring the 5 rings of buying insights in a circle

To Build Your Persona, Interview Recent Buyers

The only way to build authentic personas is by interviewing recent buyers—they are the experts! A recent buyer is someone who made the exact same type of buying decision that you’re trying to influence. These may include some of your current customers, but they should also include buyers who never considered you or did so but chose a competitor’s solution.

Interviewing recent buyers is critical for a few reasons:

  • Real buyer insights through interviews
    Recent buyers aren’t speculating about what they were thinking or what they did or didn’t do during their buying journey. Having just gone through the purchase process, they will confidently share all the essential details about what was most important to them as they figured out who they were going to consider, winnowed down their options, and made a final decision.
  • Authentic persona development with buyer quotes
    Conducting interviews with recent buyers yields the buyer quotes you need to build your persona. These quotes provide explicit access to the authentic voice of buyers, providing real insight. They infuse depth, richness, and a profound level of understanding that is unmatched. It’s this level of understanding that paves the way for groundbreaking brand strategies, positioning, and messaging.
  • Improved team alignment with buyer insights
    Conducting interviews with recent buyers enhances the authenticity of your buyer persona and better aligns your marketing, sales, and product teams. Integrating buying insights with real buyer quotes will make your persona the definitive source of “buyer truth”.

Once you’ve developed your buyer persona, you will have a complete and accurate view of everything your prospective buyers want to know and experience to have confidence in buying from you. By interviewing recent buyers, you’ve eliminated the guesswork.

    Position Your Brand at the Intersection of Real Buyer Needs and Your Capabilities

    Once you’ve developed your buyer persona, the final step to determine your optimal positioning is to find where buyers’ wants and needs uniquely intersect with your organization’s capabilities.

    To do so, follow these three steps:

    • Step 1: One by one, identify your organization’s capabilities to meet each of your persona’s wants and needs. For example, if you sell enterprise software and your persona reveals that data security is a critical buyer need, identify the specific solution features or capabilities you have to meet that requirement.
    • Step 2: Once that’s complete, rate each feature or capability that you identified for value to the buyer and whether your company has a differentiating capability to delivering it. Consider your competitors’ strategies for this analysis.
    • Step 3: Based on the capabilities you’ve identified, and your value to the buyer and differentiation ratings, find your positioning sweet spot. This is the intersection where your capabilities deliver significant value to your buyers and you (ideally) have certain competitive advantages in doing so.
    graph showing two circles overlapping. On the left it shows "buyers want", on the right "you deliver" and in the middle, "perceived value"

    After pinpointing these intersections, you have the necessary information to establish a distinctive and compelling positioning for your brand. This will enable you to formulate themes (usually around 4-5) that will be the focus of your marketing messages, supported by the evidence from the capabilities identified in the initial step.

    In Conclusion

    Buyer personas take all the guesswork out of marketing because they reveal everything that is important to buyers throughout their buying journey.

    This clarity allows you to map buyer wants and needs to your organization’s unique capabilities, yielding positioning and messaging that’s difficult for your competitors to beat.


    50 Video Lessons | In-Depth Workbook | Templates | Support
    The Ultimate Brand Building System is now open for registration. Enroll today to stand out in your market and create a future-proof brand!

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related Posts