What do our members look like?

How can we better know what types of people are UNISON members to make sure we engage them better?


We’ve got grand plans for how we can use digital to reach and inspire our members over the coming years, and make us a stronger union as a result.

Before we start, we need to know who our members are and what makes them tick, and what they want from us. At our recent Digital Workers Away Day, we ran a really interesting workshop on building personas for UNISON members.

What is a persona?

Simply put, a persona is a representation of one particular audience segment of UNISON. It captures what that member thinks, feels and does. They capture an aspect of someone’s character.

Why do we need them?

Good question. Basically, the whole purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of our key audience segments for reference. This means we can target tailored content more effectively, instead of just sharing everything with everyone.

They help us understand who will be using our systems and services and how we can better deliver for members. So, why does this matter? Here are my four reasons:

  1. Humanise
    Personas bring members to life in a very human and real way. This helps UNISON gain a better understanding of behaviours, patterns, needs and preferences.
  2. Focus
    Personas help us to better address the needs and preferences of all our members. They offer insights that can lead to improved functionality and a better experience.
  3. Effective
    As we start to understand members better we improve UNISON’s effectiveness. Members receive tailored content, which will be consistent and follow best practice.
  4. Professional
    When we use personas in conjunction with usage scenarios, the chances the final experience will resonate with our members increases exponentially.

35 staff members from different parts of UNISON worked in teams together and produced a set of different personas based on their knowledge and experience of meeting our members.

Take a look at the brilliant work that they achieved together by clicking the images below. Please note, these are not the final project, but are just a starter for ten – based on a one hour discussion. More detailed personas will be developed from September and we can’t wait to share them with you.

On the day the teams made about ten different personas, but here are just two examples for you to take a closer look at.

Tom Cross

Brenda Anderson

Let us know what you think

We’d love to hear what you think of our personas, and the idea of personas in general… For example:

  • Do you recognise any of the personas from meeting UNISON members?
  • Are we missing any key personas?
  • Also, are you already using things like personas in any way? (Even if it is just in your head)
  • What other information specific to our personas should we be including?

Use the comment box below to join the discussion!