Keehan adopted the persona of Count Dante, a martial artist at the center of Black Dragon Fighting Society.
While some people would think that the Dante creation was over the top, it was just an exaggerated version of who Keehan actually was. He was a martial artist, a braggart, a pioneer and a lunatic.
All he did with the Count Dante persona was crystallize elements of his personality that were interesting to the customer.
In doing so he left John Keehan behind.
I am going to repeat myself – when creating a persona, you want to crystallize what it is about you that is interesting to the customer.
That means thinking about emotional triggers.
What do they want from the avatar from which they are going to satisfy their deep desires?
Do they want you to be brave, or outrageous and devil may care, ala Richard Simmons?
Do they want you to be successful and brimming with secret knowledge, the way Joe Karbo did in his famous The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches ad?
Do they want you to be a grumpy curmudgeon, the way Dan Kennedy presents himself?
Do they really want you to be a hyperkinetic lunatic jumping up and down about the latest greatest thing, the way a lot of YouTubers present? (By the way, most YouTubers of this type are direct descendants of the “Gotta Get a Dell” dude from way back.)
Or do they want a completely fictional character, the way Anton LaVey, author of The Satanic Bible presented himself? His getup on the back cover of the book makes him look like Vincent Price’s second cousin doing dinner theater, but when current I guess he looked sinister.
LaVey played a role suited to the product, while I think Count Dante basically blew up his Keehan identity to fit his expanded vision of what he was.
As promised here are some considerations:
- Your persona should be an aid that helps the customer make a purchase decision.
- You should be able to move in and out of it easily.
- What aspects of your personality can you crystallize into a persona?
- Pigeonholing is a real problem. In acting they call it being typecast. There are a couple curmudgeon types out there where all they are is negative and surly. I think it limits your potential market because after awhile who wants to be around an asshole?
- Think about your own aspirations – and can you play them up into the role you are creating? Can you be an authority, can you project confidence? Stretching is legit and how you can make your product bigger.
- A persona is a role you are playing in service of your product, company or brand.
- There are set personae in the customer’s mind, in the same way the emotional triggers are pre-existing. Broadly, they are the hero, the beautiful woman, the doctor, the renegade, the clown, the professor, the curmudgeon, the shaman.