Personas are fictional characters, which you create based upon your research in order to represent the different user types that might use your service, product, site, or brand in a similar way. Creating personas will help you to understand your users’ needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals.

As opposed to designing products, services, and solutions based upon the preferences of the design or other internal team, focusing on your customers' needs in a human-centered design process helps make sure you're building something your customers will actually use.

A slightly different approach.

Through our years of experience, we've found Personas to be a very useful tool for understanding your customers and keeping the team aligned on the people they are building products for.

We’ve taken it a step further. Here’s why…

Personas have two major problems:
  1. People tend to focus too much on the demographic details of the persona and not the problem they’re trying to solve for the people the persona represents. 

  2. Personas can give you a limited view of what your target customer struggles with. 
Enter Actors and Roles
Instead, think of the problem you’re trying to solve as a theatrical production with actors and roles. Demographic and psychographic information is compiled to create a role, which is the aggregate of people who experience your problem in a certain way. Each role is defined by a common pain point. The people who fill these roles—the ones you’ll talk to during interviews—are actors.
Think about the seven men who’ve played James Bond since 1962. They’re all actors playing the same role. From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, they each brought something unique to the role, but they’re all James Bond!
Look at the people you interview the same way. Who are they (actor) and what group do they belong in (role) based on how they experience the problem (pain point)?

We thought we understood our customers until we went through this process. Now we have a clear idea of who our customers are, what they need, and how they make decisions. It’s game-changing.

Stacey James - Director of Sales, MP Cloud Technologies

What to Expect:

Discovery Meeting

Overview meeting with your team to outline what you’re building, what you already know about your customers and your target market, and your goals for the project.

This is a critical first step to ensure we talk to the right people and ask the right questions so we can deliver the insights you need to succeed.

In-Depth Interviews

We research your customers through one-on-one interviews and surveys to learn about their needs and wants, and how they make buying decisions related to your product or service.

We seek to understand their psychographic behavior and the positive outcomes they seek from using a product or service like yours.

Analysis and Executive Summary

We take all the notes from the interviews and create Personas based on what we heard. 

  • Clarify your customer personas based on our Actors & Roles methodology.
  • Document the tasks your customers are attempting to complete, and how they approach these tasks.
  • Generate Persona Documents for each Role in your Target Market.

The Details:

All sessions can be held remotely from anywhere in the world.
Expect this to take at least several weeks from start to finish, subject to availability of your team.
We can usually schedule the Discovery Meeting within a few business days.
Critical leaders and decision makers from your team must participate.
We will synthesize the output from all meetings and interviews and deliver it to you in a cleaned-up and digitized format. Roughly one week after the final interview, you will receive:
  • An Executive Summary, including:
    • Overview of the Target Market and Roles (customer segments) within it
    • Creation of up to 3 User Personas -- one for each Role interviewed
    • Summary of our notes from user interviews and survey results

The Actors and Roles framework helped our entire team see our customers the same way and understand the “why” behind our product decisions. It’s been tremendously helpful.

Marcus Solomon - SVP of Digital Products, Federated Holdings