Storytelling For Business Made Simple
Let’s be real here.
Your brand persona is the embodiment of your business’s personality.
It’s what your customers see and feel when they interact with you, and it shapes how they think about you and your products or services.
If you want to create a strong, lasting connection with your dream clients, it’s essential that you take the time to identify and define your brand persona, your brand identity and your brand voice.
There are a bajillion approaches to creating a brand persona, but arguably the most effective is to start by evaluating your business’s strengths and weaknesses.
From there, you can begin to craft a story that highlights your unique selling points and paints a picture of the “dream customer” you’re hoping to attract.
Once you have a clear idea of who you are as a business, and what value you offer to your dream customer, get busy communicating your messaging in all of your marketing materials – from your website to your social media profiles and your weekly email newsletters – so that potential customers get a clear and consistent message, no matter where they engage with your business.
After weighing up the clarity of my own messaging, I thought I’d unpack the 10 key brand personas that are most commonly employed by businesses today.
This way, you can compare the characteristics of each persona and determine which is “the one” you want to embed in your business.
Y’all ready for this?
The 10 Key Brand Personas Used In Business Today
1. The Innovator
2. The Traditionalist
3. The Guardian
4. The Expert
5. The Campaigner
6. The Shepherd
7. The Seeker
8. The Analyst
9. The Warrior
10. The Hybrid
Let’s break each brand persona down one at a time so you can decide which identity works best for the messaging you want to deliver to your “dream” customers.
The Innovator (AKA: The Trailblazer)
The Innovator is all about embracing change and taking calculated risks.
They see the world as a place of endless possibilities, and they are always looking for new ways to push the envelope, boundaries, buttons and the status quo.
Innovators are trailblazers whose pluck and optimism is often associated with younger businesses, confident solopreneurs and emerging startup founders.
Key Characteristics of The Innovator Include:
– A focus on innovation and creativity
– A belief in the power and possibility of change
– An emphasis on progress and growth
– A preference for forward-thinking approaches
– A distaste for stagnation and stalemates
Beware! Innovators May Be:
🚩 Prone to taking risks without considering the consequences
🚩 Preoccupied with new ideas and dismissive of tried-and-true methods
🚩 Making changes when the situation calls for stability
🚩 Intolerant of those who prefer a conventional approach
🚩 Distracted by “shiny objects” and lacking a long-term vision
Famous Innovators in Pop Culture:
1. Walter White in Breaking Bad
2. Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Traditionalist (AKA: Old School)
The Traditionalist values the importance of ‘the way things have always been’ and sticks to tried-and-true methods. They believe that the best way to succeed is by following established paths. The Traditionalist is often associated with ‘old school’ businesses – ones that cater to a client base that yearns to halt change and preserve the past.
Key Characteristics of The Traditionalist Include:
– A focus on heritage & legacy
– A belief in the power of traditions
– An emphasis on quality and craftsmanship
– A preference for one-to-one customer interactions
– A distrust of change
Beware! Traditionalists May Be:
🚩 Resistant to change
🚩 Unimaginative (or strongly opposed to innovation)
🚩 Less open to trying new strategies
🚩 Less agile than other personas, due to a fixed mindset
🚩 More expensive to work with than their competitors
Famous Traditionalists in Pop Culture:
1. John Dutton in Yellowstone
2. Tony Soprano in The Sopranos
The Guardian (AKA: The Archangel)
As a business owner, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to protect your customers and your business. One of the best ways to do that is by creating a strong brand persona that will act as a shield against negative publicity and help you connect more meaningfully with your dream clients.
The Guardian is all about protecting those who are vulnerable and standing up for what’s right.
Also known as The Archangel, The Guardian is the voice of reason and integrity. They believe in fighting for what’s fair and are often associated with social justice organizations and charities.
The Key Characteristics of The Guardian Include:
– A focus on fairness and justice
– A belief in the power of advocacy
– An emphasis on morality and ethics
– A preference for traditional values
– A distrust of greed
Beware! Guardians May Be:
🚩 Perceived as too preachy
🚩 Less responsive to change
🚩 Considered “too conservative” by some customers
Famous Guardians in Pop Culture:
1. Malorie in Birdbox
2. John Creasey in Man on Fire
The Expert (AKA: The Experienced Professional)
The Expert is all about competence and mastery. Also known as The Experienced Professional, this persona fits business owners who want to be seen as authorities in their field (and who believe that the best way to connect with their dream clients is by showcasing their wealth of knowledge and experience).
Key Characteristics of The Expert Include:
– A focus on experience and expertise
– A belief in the power of professionalism
– An emphasis on quality and customer service
– A preference for tried-and-true methods
– A distaste for risk
Beware! Experts May:
🚩 Come across as “stuffy” or elitist
🚩 Get stuck on perfectionism, which can delay projects
🚩 Be resistant to change or prone to stagnation
🚩 Be less creative and innovative than other personas
Famous Experts in Pop Culture:
1. Dana Scully in The X-Files
2. Gregory House in House
The Campaigner (AKA: The Social Advocate)
The Campaigner is all about making the world a better place.
They see themselves as crusaders for justice and defenders of the underdog.
Campaigners, or Social Advocates, use their platform to fight for the rights of those who are powerless, silenced, or in need.
This champion-of-the-people persona often runs non-profits, or works to empower charities and social justice groups to make grand-scale changes to the very fabric of the world.
Key Characteristics of The Campaigner Include:
– A passionate focus on social activism
– A core belief in the power of change
– An emphasis on empowering others
– A preference for grassroots movements
– A distrust of corporate greed
Beware! Campaigners May:
🚩 Come across as pushy and aggressive
🚩 Get stuck in a one-sided conversation (because they are so used to using their voice that they can struggle to listen)
🚩 Be so passionate about their causes that they forget to focus on what the customer actually wants, resulting in ineffective communication.
Famous Campaigners in Pop Culture:
1. Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich
2. Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings
The Shepherd (AKA: The Hand-Holder)
The Shepherd is compassionate, nurturing, and protective. Also known as The Hand-Holder, they are renowned for their commitment to their customers and are always there offering support and guidance.
The Shepherd is reliable, honest, and deeply devoted to delivering on their promises. Of all the personas, The Shepherd is arguably the most paternal and able to connect on a very personal level.
Key Characteristics of The Shepherd Include:
– A deep devotion to helping others succeed
– A belief in the power of relationships
– A commitment to providing effective solutions
– A way of finding a teachable moment in every experience
– A heart that is as big as it is pure – only wanting the very best for others
Beware! Shepherds May:
🚩 Be perceived as too ‘warm and fuzzy’ or ‘helicopter parent’ in their approach
🚩 Be too honest for customers who prefer an air of mystery
🚩 Seem too attentive and overbearing for clients (who don’t want to feel like they’re being fussed over)
Famous Shepherds in Pop Culture:
1. Monica Geller in Friends
2. John Keating in Dead Poets’ Society
The Seeker (AKA: The Lone Wolf)
The Seeker is curious, open-minded, and innovative. They are always looking for new ways to improve their business and provide effective solutions to their customers’ biggest challenges.
The Seeker, also known as The Lone Wolf is renowned for being forward-thinking and constantly evolving. Like Innovators they’re always looking to stay ahead of the curve and bring exciting, visionary inspiration to their customers.
Key Characteristics of The Seeker Include:
– A preference for “doing the work” alone, and reporting back to the clients with their findings
– A preoccupation with answering the big questions (such as “WHAT is the meaning of life?”)
– A love for exploring new frontiers and opportunities for adventure
– A desire to find new and interesting ways to solve problems
– A big-picture persona, rather than a details-oriented one
Beware! Seekers May:
🚩 Be seen as flighty or indecisive
🚩 Have difficulty sticking to their commitments
🚩 Find it difficult to relate to others (because they’re most comfortable alone)
🚩 Be “too radical” for some customers
🚩 Appear stand-offish
Famous Seekers in Pop Culture:
1. Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild
2. Wednesday Addams in Wednesday
The Analyst (AKA: The Data Cruncher)
The Analyst is analytical, objective, and logical. They approach business with a rational perspective, looking at the facts and figures to make informed decisions. Also known as The Data Cruncher, The Analyst is precise and detail-oriented, taking a methodical approach to everything they do.
Key Characteristics of The Analyst Include:
– Reliable and efficient
– A preoccupation with intricate details
– A reliance on data and evidence-based decision making processes
– A methodical approach to every aspect of their life
Beware! Analysts May:
🚩 Be perceived as cold or unemotional
🚩Have difficulty connecting with others on a personal level
🚩 Be highly respected but deeply misunderstood
🚩 Be “too aloof” for some customers
Famous Analysts in Pop Culture:
1. Dexter Morgan in Dexter
2. Alicia Florrick in The Good Wife
The Warrior (AKA: The Battle-Scarred Knight)
The Warrior persona is frequently associated with roles in the health & wellness space, as a beacon of lived experience. Also known as The Battle-Scarred Knight, The Warrior is fierce, determined, and courageous. Having successfully navigated their own (seemingly impossible) battles, they are able to champion others going through a similar crisis from a position of “I’ve been there, I get how tough this is!”.
The Warrior always fights alongside their customers, defending their rights and interests. An unstoppable force, The Warrior inspires and empowers others to overcome the odds.
Key Characteristics of The Warrior Include:
– A relentless and unyielding sense of purpose
– A strategic approach to challenging situations
– A radical empathy for the plight of others
– A focus on survival and victory
Beware! Warriors May:
🚩 Come across as aggressive
🚩 Be too confrontational for people requiring a gentle approach
🚩 Be perceived as too ‘black and white’ in navigating challenges
🚩Find it difficult to switch off, having existed in ‘survival mode’ for so long
Famous Warriors in Pop Culture:
1. Maximus Meridius in Gladiator
2. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
The Hybrid (AKA: The Splendid Blended)
The Hybrid persona is a splendid blend of two or more of the other brand personas. Hybrids can be compassionate and curious, always looking for new ways to connect with customers. The Hybrid may be as reliable as they are innovative. Unlike some of the other brand personas, The Hybrid is adaptable and flexible to meet the needs of the context, the challenge, and each individual client.
Key Characteristics of The Hybrid May Include:
– An innate desire to see others succeed
– A reliance on strategic decision making processes
– A radical empathy for the plight of others
– A preoccupation with finding innovative solutions
Beware! Hybrids May:
🚩 Be too cautious, not taking enough risks to differentiate themselves
🚩 Lack direction, wavering between characteristics of multiple personas
🚩 Have inconsistent messaging, because they stray from their authentic persona
Famous Hybrids in Pop Culture:
1. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
2. Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Developing a clear and consistent brand persona is critical to business growth (in any industry or niche).
Determining and curating your brand persona helps you to form meaningful relationships with your ideal customers.
Taking the time to craft your brand story allows you to control the narrative of your business. In turn, this empowers you to build powerful, memorable & captivating connections and inspire customer loyalty.
KEY TAKEAWAYS (AKA TL;DR:)
1. By developing an authentic brand persona and accompanying business story, you can consistently create content that resonates with your dream customers.
2. A clear and compelling brand persona helps you connect with your target audience on a deeper level, inspiring engagement and long-lasting business relationships.
3. A strong brand persona can help you to stand out as the only choice against your competitors, highlight the unique value of your business, and compel customers to rave about you to everyone they know.
I’m Kate and I write about what lights me up:
💌 Communication at work & home
🪄 Creative, courageous & unconventional pursuits
🤫 Storytelling secrets & recipes for success