Open. It's not just the sign on a retail shop door-it's an imperative and a state of mind for consumers. The successful open brand must operate under a new set of rules, embracing social Web-empowered consumers and their impact on the digital landscape, brands and each other.
Who are these new consumers? According to the Resource Interactive iCitizen Motivational Study conducted with Harris Interactive, they represent 86 percent of the online population and are defined by their online behaviors and motivations.
In addition to the three core behaviors of shopping, researching and self-servicing, three new social behaviors have emerged-creating, sharing and influencing. The consumer is social. She is empowered. She has the ability to activate and amplify a viral campaign. She can be a brand unto herself. In collaboration with her online community, she is creating a paradigm shift. She's taking the power of brand messaging into her own hands.
Today's consumer isn't necessarily more complex. The difference is that we now have far more information about her, allowing us to create more compelling and relevant experiences and thus increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and profits. A key to unlocking the social Web-empowered consumer is to create personas 2.0, which incorporate attitudes and expectations within the context of the social Web to your brand.
What Is a Persona?
Let's start with what a persona is not. A persona is not a segment. It's not a profile, and it's not a representation of a single customer. A persona is a tool that puts a human face on data, allowing everyone to share a common, documented understanding of consumers-to see them as knowable and real. It is an archetype that represents groups of consumers with common attitudes, motivations, goals and actions.
A successful persona paints a picture of the consumer's life and illustrates who she is, providing an opportunity for empathy for the consumer and her relationship to the brand. Personas are a tool that can unify stakeholders across an organization, allowing everyone to know the customers and to make more informed decisions. And ultimately, personas are an easy way to infuse your customer into the business's day-to-day operations and decisions.