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PUBR 3847 - Knowing and Finding your Audience

Using personas

Today's Activity:

You are working on behalf of the Centre for Sexuality on a communications campaign around preventing the spread of STIs/STDs. Each team in this agency will be working on a campaign for a different audience.

Developing a persona is a good way to write more effectively for your target audience.  Personas are based on research done to help you understand the different audiences you want to reach. A persona can help you identify the characteristics, motivations, needs, and expectations of a target group, and help increase the effectiveness of your message.

Step One: Collect and analyze data

Use the resources provided below to flesh out your persona and gather evidence for your planned communication choices.

Think of other sources of information that might be helpful in creating a campaign for this client and their audiences.

Step Two: Create a persona and identify probable communication preferences and needs

 e.g. Your audience is 25-40 year old females. Your persona might be Sophie.

Sophie is 35, has an apartment in the Beltline and works downtown in retail management while studying at UofC part time for an MBA. She has a 2011 Yaris but mostly uses Uber to get around town. She has a small dog, is divorced, has no kids. She owns an iPad, a MacBook for work and an old desktop PC. She's making enough to take courses part-time and put some money aside for either a down payment or a big trip. Her parents are in Edmonton and she drives her car to visit them at least once every couple of months. She jogs for exercise, and occasionally goes out dancing with a group of friends.

What factors do you have to consider in the message - vocabulary, tone, images, style, etc.?
e.g. Looks like a clear, direct tone - no frilly language will work - probably doesn't like being talked down to either so can amp up vocabulary, keep it professional and intelligentShe could be picky about grammar so triple proof everything, and watch use of images - go for gender-neutral portrayal.

Step Three: prepare situations or scenarios for you persona that is relevant to you communication goal

e.g. Sophie get most of her news from Facebook, but also sometimes looks at the CBC News app. While she hears about new places and events in Calgary through her Facebook friends, she'll also occasionally pick up Avenue Magazine when she is shopping at Community Natural Foods. She doesn't have cable, and watches mostly Netflix and CraveTV. She's more into Instagram than Facebook. She listens to Google Play while jogging and CKUA on her road trips to Edmonton. Good ways to reach her might be radio, news media, social media and magazine ads.

Step Four: Identify relevant communication methods, channels and products

Based on your persona and the research you have done, develop THREE ways of reaching your persona with your organization's message. What/who do they read/watch/listen to? What tools are likeliest to get your message across?


Report to the class:

  • Your persona
  • A relevant communication scenario
  • Your top three ways of reaching them with your message. Cite at least two of the resources below as evidence for your communication decisions.
  • BONUS marks: what additional research could you do in this case? What other type of information might be helpful?

Tools to find out what media is consumed by whom

Tools to find out who your target market is and where they live

Knowing where there are higher concentrations of your target audience can help with siting a business, direct awareness campaigns, and the community groups you might want to reach out to.

Questions to Ponder

How do these kinds of information help you as a PR practitioner?

How does knowing more about your audience affect your choices as a communicator?

What would you like to know more about?

Need some Inspiration?

Check out these psychographic profiles of Canadians:

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Sara Sharun