Actually, these are three inter related sub questions.

Q1. Does Persona have to be a person because ultimately whatever we will create (product/service) that will be used by human being only, and while creating persona we understand personas as fictitious characters representing the real user.

Arron Walter’s quite famous example of persona - Mailchimp is a modern ape, even persona for Firefox browser is not a human. How do these represent personas and still solve the purpose of utilization by normal users is the thing I am thinking of.

Q2. What is the difference between brand ambassador, mascot and persona? I strongly think that there has to be some inter relation between these three. But I couldn’t figure out what it is! Seems like both brand ambassador and mascot can be derived (at least few characteristics) from the persona created already.

Q3. How do we validate created persona? This is a contextual question with respect to above mentioned thoughts as if we (designer) go for a different path for creating persona, how can we validate that we are still on the track?


2 Answers 2


Talking from my experience: Brand ambassador is a marketing thing, most of the time it has no relation with the product itself (they just beat it to seem so) apart from they are a famous personality who will be using the product (yeah right!), eg: Alicia keys is an ambassador for BB 10.

By definition, Mascot is supposed to be an animal or object which is a good luck charm to the product/organization. But, now-a-days they are used as a sort of objectified representation of the company. McDonalds has Ronald, College teams have their animals (most of the time), etc.

Persona, is a design concept. As Don Norman puts it: http://jnd.org/dn.mss/personas_empath.html


A Persona is an artificial person, invented for the purpose of helping a designer understand the people who will be using their product.

Purpose of the personas:

A major virtue of Personas is the establishment of empathy and understanding of the individuals who use the product. It is important that each Persona seems real, allowing the designer to ask, "how would Mary respond to this?" or Peter, or Bashinka?

The Personas must indeed reflect the target group for the design team, but for some purposes, that is sufficient.


Personas, brand ambassadors, and mascots are unrelated terms, although it's possible that there could in some situations be an overlap.


A persona is a class or type of user that you represent by a distinct (usually imaginary) person. This allows you to think of this person when designing. You will usually have a number of personas for your product to represent the different types of users that you may get.

However, it doesn't have to be a person. If you're designing a product for monkeys, maybe you will need to have monkeys as personas. One may be wild, another hand raised by people. The same thing may apply for many animals.


A brand ambassador can be one of two things. Either it's your ideal user - someone who loves your product and spreads the word to other people. Or it's someone that you employ to evangelise people about your product.

A mascot is usually an animal or fictional character that represents your company. E.g. Mailchimp's chimp their mascot, and Github's Octocat is their mascot.

I've already covered what a persona is in my answer to question 1.


This has already been answered in previous questions: How do we validate our persona

  • Thanks John for great pointers. I know its late reply, sorry for that. But regarding Q1, I was referring to a product which might be for animals, so animals are actual users but their owners are also plays important role in the journey. Example, for dog food, dog is the user but what type of food should be given to the dog would be dog owner's decision. So in this case if we are building a website for this product, should we consider dog as one of the persona? How does that actually help?
    – Spicerjet
    May 11, 2013 at 17:17

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