user personas

How to Re-evaluate Your Customer Profiles and User Personas to Ensure Customer Attraction and Retention to Increase Sales in Times of Disruption

In times of disruption, the market and everyday life changes faster. That impacts both people and brands. People’s preferences, needs, habits, choices, and priorities change. Brands must be nimble to stay profitable and ahead of their market, and most importantly, ensure their user personas are re-evaluated and updated to stay relevant. 

User personas are a key tool for brands to anticipate and deliver on customer needs and wants. That is because they help make the abstract concept of a customer an actionable planning tool. 

However, changing times mean user personas can also change. The Purchaser Personas or User Personas you mapped out pre-2020 or earlier probably need to be revisited because your customers have changed. After, or even during, times of increased disruption people change in various ways fast so their priorities, perceptions, behaviour, and even psychological drivers undoubtedly become impacted which means the ways in which they make buying decisions are not the same as they were before.

Related: Branding Psychology in Adversity – 7 Ways You Can Embrace Behavioural Shifts to Grow Your Business

Here, we’re explaining why it is important to ensure that your brand’s user personas are reevaluated. Now is the perfect time to make sure they’re fit for purpose and relevant in an emerging post-pandemic world, or at least one in which people 12 months plus later have adjusted to a different way of living and working, thus enabling you to drive growth in your business effectively.

Top 6 Reasons To Re-evaluate Your User Personas Now, so You Can Consistently Drive Growth

1. A User Persona is a Practical Brand & Marketing Tool Which Enables You to Get Customer Attention to Achieve Sales

A purchaser persona is a thumbnail portrait of your ideal customer or target user. Often a brand will have multiple types of users or purchaser personas, so typically it will employ more than one user persona such as influencers and decision-makers. A user persona may include information such as demographics, psychographics, behaviour and purchase drivers. 

Related: Use Psychology in Your Brand Strategy to Create Irresistible Brand Experiences and Increase Sales

This is an important tool to keep the target users front of mind because it helps your team focus their efforts on activities that will improve the attractiveness of your brand to its target users.

branding strategy

It helps your team deliver what your customers and prospects really want, not what they would like themselves if they were the users. This matters because for many brands, the brand team, sales professionals, and marketers are not fully reflective of your target market. 

User personas are internal tools based on real-life experience of customer profiles, using personal knowledge, desk research, and field research, so they are a core part of your brand strategy. They are usually simple, concise but powerful because they focus attention on key attributes which motivate users to purchase and/or use brands.

user personas

Image via © Wee Smoky

A B2C Product Case study is Wee Smoky, a single grain Scottish whisky. This reflects an insight that there is a certain user persona who likes the sophisticated appeal of Scotch whisky but is turned off both by the overly smoky Islay flavour profile and the traditional brand packaging cues used by much of the category. This response to the user persona of “people who don’t like whisky” is daring, but clearly influenced by such a user persona. 

Related: How Four Marketing Giants Evaluate their Branding ROI, Return on Investment

2. Changed Times Require Updated and New User Personas

User needs are sometimes static – for example, a purchaser of car tyres or accounting services in 2010 had fairly similar needs to those in 2021 – and probably those in 2030, notwithstanding the impact AI and other disruptors is having on basic routine accounting services. However, while user needs and wants may seem to stay constant over time in many cases, user personas are constantly evolving. 

Take the car tyre example – the functional need may have remained similar, but purchase drivers have changed rapidly. Many users now focus more on the environmental impact, not just the price. Online shopping and price comparison has changed the way some users assess value. Social media means that some users will now care more than before about the aesthetics of the tyre, while others won’t care. User personas are constantly shifting, in small and sometimes big ways.

2020 was a year of rapid radical change that caused many people to reassess their priorities. Their shopping behaviours also changed. For example, a user persona such as “Six Month Cupboard Prepper” would have been a niche persona a couple of years ago – but for many brands, it became an important user persona to consider. That is evidenced in the resurgence of canned food sales. 

Related: Online Branding and The Fundamentals of Getting it Right so You Thrive in Adversity

Consumers were frightened by the pandemic, but in many cases, they also adopted coping strategies which shaped their behaviour as customers. A sheet music seller may once have had “Occasional Inspiration Seeker” as a key user persona. But now “Completist Home Maestro” is more important – someone who is buying sheet music much more regularly, but also to a more focused target of achievement.

This isn’t limited to brands such as medical brands – societal shifts affect user personas in almost all categories, as priorities shift, what people will spend changes and expectations move about. This is outside a brand’s control: the critical thing is to ensure that user personas are up to date and effective tools informing key commercial and communications decisions. 

Related: Branding in a Crisis, 5 Practical Steps, so You Match to the Moment Brilliantly

brand strategy“We participated in the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Mastermind Programme online. The 12-week program suited us as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.

We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Personas and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.

The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business such as restructuring our product offerings, so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.

Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor with follow up after each live working session and the half-day masterclass. Most of all the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.

In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019. By the end of May 2020 [after being completely closed for 6 weeks with our 150 staff furloughed] we were back to 69% and by end of June 2020 back at 108%, January 2021 we’re up four-fold on January 2019 

— results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”

Sinead Heffernan

Managing Director

Thunders Bakery

Sinead Heffernan

We know that sometimes it’s a struggle to build a brand strategy that really engages your ideal customers effectively, particularly in adversity, so we’ve developed three different ways of working with us to help you build your brand, depending on your preferences, so if you’d like us to:

  1. Build your brand for you – find out more here or get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
  2. Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme here. This is a live, interactive programme online where you work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy to differentiate more strongly and achieve higher revenue. Alternatively, join our online half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast injection of brand building essentials. Ask about our Personal and Corporate Leadership Brand Alignment Masterclass
  3. Want a DIY solution? Check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here and our how to audit your brand yourself eprogramme here

Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme

3. A User Persona Should Anticipate Not Just Summarise User Behaviour

At a simple level, a user persona summarises known information about a target user. This could be drawn from sales data or customer-facing staff knowledge, for example. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be complicated and evaluating the data already in the business to inform your decisions is better than nothing or making risky assumptions.

A more useful purchaser persona anticipates possible shifts in customer behaviour. As a core part of your brand strategy, it’s part of your roadmap for your brand’s future success, not just a snapshot of what it stands for right now. Rather than relying purely on known behaviour, it also digs into existing motivations and new possible motivations. 

This can be based on formal research, but some companies with leaner resources simply figure it out themselves using simple frameworks to map out their customers and through trial and error. They then road-test the user personas by using them to make better decisions. Either way, the fuller a picture a user persona gives you the more useful it will be in helping you adapt to changing markets, so you can achieve higher revenue. 

For example, let’s say a home decoration company has a user persona of “empty nesters” – people aged 50-65 whose children have moved out of the family home. That is helpful in making some brand decisions. But it doesn’t help the team get into the mind of those people, so they really understand their needs, wants, loves, hates, challenges and aspirations. 

Are they looking for a refresh of their home or a dynamic new look? Do they want to emphasise its family nature to cover over the absence of the children, or is it a chance to refocus the design just on the parents again? The better a user persona captures psychological motivations, desires and behaviours, the more relevant it will stay, even if the facts of the market change rapidly. “Radical reshapers” or “time-rich home aesthetes” could thus be more helpful as brand tools than “empty nesters”.

user personas

Image via The Parenting Jungle © Lick

A B2C Product Case study is Lick paints. This paint brand appears to target a user persona of people who want a high level of finish and sophistication for home painting, but without all the mess and effort typically associated with paints. This comes to life at the product level, with “peel and stick” colourway samples enabling customers to visualise how the paint would look without having to try it.

Related: Using Buyer Personas to Increase Your Business Profitability

4. A Helpful User Persona Focusses on Your Target Audience Not Necessarily Your Actual Audience

An easy and lean way to start developing user personas is to evaluate the characteristics of your last ten ideal customers. Develop some pen portraits of their apparent motivations and behaviours. Some will be the same, while others will stand out. That is normal – many brands work with between five and twenty user personas, some of which are more common than others.

A lot of brands use a similar approach to developing user personas, interviewing customers and carrying out detailed research. However, the most useful user personas should focus on the people you want to sell to – your ideal target customers. 

Sometimes they are the same as your customers, but often there is some difference. That is especially true for a newer company or an organisation which is evolving into a new vertical, geography, or new area of product development – often you are trying to figure out how to sell your brand to people who may not have bought it before. 

It’s also worth understanding the path to purchase as purchasers and users may not be the same. For a chocolate brand, for example, the purchaser buying a chocolate bar in a newsagent is likely going to be the person to eat it. But the purchaser of a multipack in the supermarket may not be the only person who will eat it. Similarly, a purchaser of a premium dark chocolate Easter egg intended for gifting, may not be the user or consumer. So, for certain brands, it is helpful to differentiate between purchaser personas and user personas.

Commercial Risks is a B2B insurance broker. It helps clients manage risks far into the future which can be difficult to fully appreciate or evaluate today. To be successful, they need to understand the persona of who is buying insurance now – but also what their future needs will be, even if they themselves don’t know that yet.

Related: Increase Sales Using Buyer Personas, Your Guide to Understanding and Targeting Your Ideal Customers

“An exceptionally talented individual. Lorraine Carter, Persona Branding and Design has a wonderful ability to ‘horizon scan’ for any business and then bring them on a journey that delivers value to their Balance Sheet.”

Dave Feenan


Technology Ireland & ICT Skillnet

Dave Feenan

Are you a business leader, manager, or entrepreneur who wants to re-evaluate or build your brand strategy, so you can match your user personas to the changing market to increase your sales? Are you curious about how to build or scale a highly successful standout brand? Join one of our branding masterclasses because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value, so you can command a premium and achieve higher revenue. 

In fact, the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme is all about fast-tracking you, your brand, and your business through the brand building, agile branding strategy process using professional big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results, so you can grow your business faster and more effectively. 

The programme enables you to make your brand highly differentiated, visible, credible, trustworthy, memorable and much loved amongst your ideal customers, so you can become more profitable and leave your competitors way behind. Be The One — your ideal customers’ favourite brand of preferred choice commanding a premium.

If you want a tailor-made solution specifically for your brand then we also provide in-house bespoke Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Intensives™. Working specifically on your brand and organisational needs,  the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ framework is used working collaboratively with you and your team, so you can grow your business faster and more profitably. Contact us to discover more [email protected] or +353 1 8322724

5. Users Evolve so User Personas Need to Evolve too

It’s often cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one. While that is typically true, it’s not always possible. Many brands have a defined length of relationship with users, maybe because they change their buying habits at a key moment or milestones like parenthood, retirement, unemployment, or such like, or sometimes because the relationship is by definition limited. Divorce lawyers, skip rental companies, university admission companies, and many more brands will often only make one sale to a customer. 

Sometimes, a brand can stretch its relationship with a user by recognising that the user evolves. For example, consider the journey from student to unmarried first jobber, to home-owning married manager, to married senior manager with children. The same person will be represented by many user personas over the years. 

Parenthood is the trigger to adopt organic food for many people – they typically pay more attention to what they feed their baby than themselves, but then realise that if it’s good for a baby it is probably also good for them. But the same logic doesn’t work for shampoo, where the relevant user persona of a 20-year-old often stays the same for a couple of decades.

That’s why it is important to understand how your target users evolve over time, and whether your user personas reflect that. Sometimes this can help you move them through your portfolio, from the “first job value seeker” user persona to a user persona of “my success on show” suggesting a willingness to pay more.

That’s also true during times of political or social turmoil. Users can evolve quickly, and it’s important to recognise that. Keeping your user personas as current as possible helps you anticipate the market and keep your brand moving forward relevantly even in a challenging market environment, so you continue to achieve revenue growth.

user personas

Image via © Lego

Lego’s B2C product range is a clear manifestation of user personas which reflect different stages of childhood, from the very basic, colourful Duplo, through the more challenging Lego, to specialist ranges targeted at teens and above whose motivations are less about fun and more about a sense of achievement through completion of a technical challenge, such as Lego Technic. These different user personas can reflect the same user, over different stages of their life. Interestingly, some of them are interoperable, so for example the Lego user can continue to use their old Duplo bricks with the Lego bricks.

Related: How a Strong Value Proposition Drives Your Sales and Profits Growth

Brand Identity“Lorraine Carter has been the catalyst and an inspiration for MGI Learning to clearly define our brand.

Working with Lorraine has been both enlightening and enjoyable. Her blueprint for defining a brand is extremely comprehensive and challenged us to think very deeply about what we offer to our customers and really understand what underpins our success.

Lorraine is extremely knowledgeable, very focused and supportive and leads you through the process and ensured we got maximum benefits from the investment we made.”

Shona Cooper


MGI Learning

Shona Cooper

If you’d like to discover more about building and maintaining a thriving, high-performing, highly profitable standout brand, then get in touch because we’d love to help you make your brand into a profit powerhouse.

  1. Schedule a chat — we can meet in person online
  2. Let’s consider a customised plan for you
  3. And perhaps implement the plan together  
  4. Contact us [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724 (GMT Dublin/London time 9:00 – 17:30 weekdays)

Lorraine Carter is a branding expert and international speaker delivering talks that inspire and motivate along with masterclasses and workshops online and offline that inform and support transformational outcomes fast, and consultancy expertise that solves problems — using agile branding strategy underpinned by professional big-brand know-how — so you can outshine, outperform and leave your competitors way behind. 

She enables you to differentiate, achieve higher revenue, expand your market share, build IP brand asset value — make the complex easy as ABC, so you can Transform Your Brand & Increase Your Sales — Be The One, the brand that’s most credible, trusted and commanding a premium, so you’re highly profitable and leaving your competitors way behind.

Ask about the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme™ — live, interactively, face-to-face online.

6. Better Defined User Personas Increase Sales Productivity

For many brands, especially B2B brands, a rough set of user personas already exists – in the minds of the sales team. That reflects the fact that sales professionals interact with customers frequently and often seek to understand their motivations more deeply.

In fact, user personas – sometimes developed collaboratively between the marketing and the sales teams – can also help the sales team. If well produced they help your sales team target their sales activities, shared language with the customer, and communications more efficiently. In this way, sales and marketing teams can work with each other to keep user personas relevant and up to date. 

Formally internalising that knowledge about your customers through user personas or purchaser personas enables you to mitigate risk and make far more informed faster decisions. By properly documenting and keeping up to date your purchase personas centrally in your business you internalise the knowledge base for your whole team to leverage. 

This avoids the risks of informally relying on a key person keeping it all in ‘their head’ leaving you vulnerable to either them leaving the business or inconsistent unformed decisions being made across the business because the information is not accessible to the full team.

user personas

Image via © Blackthorn Salt

Peacock Salt is a leading salt wholesaler. But the needs of B2B customers using cooking salt in commercial kitchens and de-icing salt to grit roads are very different in terms of brand appeal compared to retail consumers seeking artisanal salt for home cooking. Selling to these customers, the managing director of Peacock Salt realised it would be best to set up a separate SME brand – Blackthorn Salt – to market sea salt produced on the Ayrshire coast using revived traditional techniques to great effect.

Related: Using Buyer Personas to Increase Your Business Profitability

Final Thoughts

User personas are a central part of your brand strategy and an essential marketing and sales tool, but like any sort of tool they need to be kept sharp, so they continue to provide relevant, usable data to inform key business decisions.

To stay current, user personas or purchaser personas need to reflect the changes in the worlds in which your target audience lives and works. An effective set of user personas also needs to anticipate the future influence factors which shape your users’ thoughts and feelings. 

It’s also important to evaluate whether users and purchasers are the same people. For some brands, it can be useful to have a separate set of purchaser personas and user personas. Changes like we all lived through in 2020 influence purchase drivers, as well as the motivations of users. 

In order to stay relevant and anticipate future changes it’s essential to leverage informed insights through a brand audit health check because a key part of the process entails reevaluating and updating your user personas or purchaser personas, so you stay connected to your customers’ changing needs.

brand strategy“For anyone who has a well-established business I would totally recommend working with Persona Design because it will provide them with a new perspective on how to think of their brand. You see in different markets and industries that are overly competitive what makes the difference is knowing what exactly your business is all about and why people would choose you instead of any other competitor.

What makes you different from all the other service or product providers in the market because that’s what’s going to make your business be the No.1 choice in the range of those specific products or services that you’re providing. Also, that’s what’s going to make your brand stand out and have a long-lasting life and thrive in the context of where you’re operating and delivering value. So totally go for it!

This framework provides you with a lot of insight and more than that, with a systematic process that’s easy for you to understand, easy for you to grasp, easy for you to work with, so you finally nail what makes you different in your business, and what you are about and what those key points are that resonate with your audience.”

Camelia Păduraru


Crafting Minds

Camelia Păduraru

Book your consultation with Lorraine Carter here now

Questions to Consider

  1. When was the last time you reviewed your brand strategy and user personas for relevance?
  2. What systems do you have in place to ensure your user personas incorporate likely future shifts in your target customers’ lives?
  3. Are your target purchasers and target users the same?
  4. How have your user personas evolved over time to reflect how your target users have evolved?
  5. What information about target customers could your sales and marketing teams share to help each other?
  6. When did you last use a brand audit health check to re-evaluate your brand and business in terms of its strengths, vulnerabilities, and opportunities for innovation and growth — particularly your user personas?
  7. If you’re considering a rebrand or brand refresh have you ensured re-evaluating your user personas is a core part of your process, so you have a customer-centric decision-making process?

“I really appreciate Lorraine’s energy and passion. Although good branding includes so many facets, Lorraine is able to simplify the process and make it so much more tangible for any company to put into practice.”

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen

Marketing Communication Specialist

The Switch

Lisa Kettman-Kervinen