Deeply understand them
You want to communicate with your customers. The first step is to take their standpoint (sic).
It can be a website, a sales or investor pitch, a presentation at a conference or to your colleagues. You need to know who you are addressing, what is their worldview, their mindset, what is their aspiration, their goal, what is their problem, what is holding them back, what emotions are present.
This will allow you to position yourself and structure your story with maximum impact to create the change you seek to make.
Do not forget that they are the hero of their story!
Step 1 – Who is your audience?
To whom are you communicating?
A customer, an investor, a conference audience, your boss, colleagues, family and friends…? But which customer, what kind of investor, which colleagues…?
Who are your stakeholders?
We explore your audience and prioritise your target.
We will use the word “customer” to cover all these cases.
You are “selling” a product, an idea or just information.
What is their aspiration?
We start by looking at what your customer wants to accomplish, their aspirations, goals, needs. We use the Jobs-to-be-done methodology to systematically explore functional needs, but also social and emotional ones, among others.
We apply the three-level framework to open up the exploration to high-level aspirations, strategic goals, practical objectives and even hidden sub-text.
We put emphasis on their emotions, positive and negative.
There are always at least three levels to explore. Which is the one that resonates the most?
What is holding them back?
The point of your company is to solve a customer’s problem. If they don’t have a problem, they don’t need you.
So, we continue by digging into your customer’s pain points, obstacles, frustrations. We take multiple standpoints, the general issue, their current situation, your competition, your product or service.
We analyze your customer (audience) segmentation based on their problems. This is often the most efficient way to segment, before demographics.
What triggers their need?
For a snack, it could be the 11 o’clock drop in energy. For a backup solution, it could be the scary article of a company being hacked.
Are there trigger moments in your customer’s problem space?
What could bring them delight?
You understand their goal (and will help them achieve it). You get their problems, the barriers to their success (and you will help alleviate them).
What could you imagine that would make them “happy”, even if it’s not as important? What are they sensitive to?
Build a useful persona
Too often, personas are built outside in, concentrating on geography and demographics.
We start with their situation, their problem, which will connect more deeply with their mindset when receiving your message.
Understanding your customer, and taking their standpoint (sic) is very important to construct a story with impact.
You will be able to concentrate on what they find important, engage them with your content, and produce the impact you are trying to achieve.
One or two half-day interactive workshops with management, marketing/communications staff, and customer-facing team members.
In real life, in a workshop room, with whiteboards, and post-its. In your offices or in a rented space.
Online collaborative Zoom sessions with virtual whiteboard & post-its.