Creating Personas For A New Feature

By Sam Boochever, co-founder of 1Degree

Personas are fictional characters that embody the demographics, attitudes, values and behaviors of target customers. They are used to help understand the needs and behaviors of specific customer segments. Generally, personas can help humanize the target audience, focus product development, and improve marketing effectiveness.

As 1Degree was developing its new On Demand feature, the team needed to understand how different customer segments would interact with both the existing product and the new feature sets. These are the personas we created to guide our development of 1Degree On Demand.

Sue, Personal Trainer & Blogger

Sue is a mother of three young boys. After her first child was born, Sue started offering clients personal training services in her home and started a fitness blog called Fierce Momma. Fierce Momma is a lifestyle site focused on tips and tricks for balancing the demands of being a working mom and staying fit. Over the past five years, the blog has grown to be a community for women to share their own fitness journeys, personal advice and upbeat encouragement. Sue has gained a cult following on Instagram and has published two at-home workout DVDs.

She recently started using 1Degree’s On Demand feature during her workouts. Her fans mostly reach out to say thank you for inspiring them, and Sue finds that her fans love the extra motivation and inspiration that come from “working out” with Sue while she is at the gym.

Miles, Professional Football Player

Miles is a linebacker, currently in his second season in the pros. Miles has quickly become a leader of the defense and his fans range in age from 5 to to 95. Miles lives, sleeps, and breathes football. He remembers spending his childhood summers at training camp and knows how much of an impact an NFL player can have on young kids who aspire to a football career themselves. He is always the last one signing autographs after practice, and he strives to inspire the younger generation to play the game the right way. Miles acknowledges the risk of concussions in the game of football and is a firm believer that proper technique and coaching are the first steps toward making football safer; something he fully supports. Miles wants the game he loves to be around for generations to come, so each summer, he runs a series of free summer camps focused on defensive skills.

Miles uses 1Degree to connect with his fans after every game, usually during his 40-minute ice bath. After a hard-fought game, Miles loves hearing feedback from fans (good or bad) before he goes into the film sessions with his coaches. He finds that his fans provide him with an emotional pulse on that day’s performance. He donates all proceeds from his chats to a non-profit for concussion research.

Rebecca, Reality TV Star

Rebecca is a third grade teacher in a small Midwestern town. She spends most of her free time hiking with her two dogs, Romy and Michelle, both rescue animals, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. After a series of dating ups and downs, she decided to apply to The Bachelor just for fun. Much to her surprise, she made it onto the show, and her down-to-earth personality and Midwest charm made her an instant fan favorite. After the first episode, Rebecca quickly gained a dedicated following on social media rooting for her success. Rebecca has no interest in being famous, but she wants to leverage her newfound “fame” to help promote animal-related causes.

Every week, after the newest episode airs, Rebecca hosts a series of 1Degree auctions promising fans an “insider take” on what happened that episode. All of her proceeds are donated to a local animal shelter. After her auctions, Rebecca always uses her social media platforms to post a picture of her and one of the dogs at the shelter to remind her fans who they are helping.

Sven, Musician

Sven is the bassist for an up-and-coming indie band, The Crows. The Crows just released their third album and are in the midst of a national tour, their first as a headliner. Sven is admired by fellow musicians and is known as one of the top bassists in the Indie genre. His collection of eccentric skinny jeans has helped him win the hearts of teenagers across the country. Sven is the most active band member on social media, chronicling The Crows’ trek across the country in their new tour bus.

Sven uses 1Degree to engage with fans who are local to the city of The Crows’ next concert. On his daily afternoon social media post, he will give a shout out to the upcoming city on their tour and encourage the fans within that city to connect with him on 1Degree, offering a virtual tour of their tour bus from the road, literally. He has been known to offer fans who connect with him on 1Degree backstage tickets to that evening’s show.

Amy, CEO & Author

Amy is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a position she has held for the past ten years after taking both of her start-ups public. Although Amy had been well known in business circles for many years, she recently became a cultural icon after she published a book chronicling her experiences and extolling the virtues of women in technology. All proceeds from the book are donated to Amy’s philanthropic organization, Girls in Science and Technology (GIST), which provides resources and access to technology to underprivileged girls. Personally, Amy’s mission is to use her fame and notoriety to encourage more young girls (and the parents of young girls) to pursue an education in science and technology. Amy spends most of her life on an airplane traveling non-stop between clients, global company offices, publicity events, and the precious time she gets to spend at home with her two children.

Amy goes “On Demand” anytime she is waiting to board a plane, with the goal of personally reaching and inspiring more of her fans across the world to support women in technology. All proceeds from her chats go directly to GIST.

We believe these five personas are representative of the various customer segments and use cases of 1Degree On Demand. During the design process, we made sure that the needs of Sue, Miles, Rebecca, Sven, and Amy were being met. These personas became our customers, even our friends, during the design process. As we gain more insight into how customers use the new On Demand feature, we will continue to review and revise these personas.

I learned about personas from one of my business school professors, Alex Cowan, and have been using them as a tool ever since. If you are looking for more information on persona development, check out Alex’s website.