Persona building exercise

The idea here is to work with your colleagues to create a believable, “flesh and blood” person to represent your target audience. ​

The Exercise

A “persona” is much easier to identify with and will help you to empathise with real-world needs and problems. Work in a group to develop such a persona to represent the target group you want to work with and for.

Get together any research or intelligence you may have about the target group. ​What do your colleagues know about them? Use this information and your imagination to help you build a portrait.

Get creative and make a big poster with your ideas – use images, stories, anecdotes. ​Give your persona a name and a back-story.

Be playful – imagine what this person does, what they care about etc. More questions.​ All ideas are good – work together to create a believable character.​ Don’t worry if it feels as though you are stereotyping – you will have a chance to test out your assumptions. ​

Take at least 2 hours.​

When you’ve finished,  make a list of things you want to know more about. This is the basis  of your research – or “verification” -  plan. Keep adding to your persona as you learn more.

Tips & Hints

  • Do name your persona, this is really important. Don’t skip it and do use it.
  • Use the persona canvas and/ or the prompt questions we've suggested to help you.
  • Once you've created a full portrait, be sure to think about what they think about your organisation
  • What role could you play in their lives?

Read more about Step 3 – Empathise