Story of Calming_MTakala

How Persona Stories Can Shift Behaviours

In the previous posts I talked about How to Use Scenarios for New Normal Innovation and created New Normal design concepts based on these scenarios. Next, I presented four New Normal Personas created based on New Normal design concepts. Now, I’m showing an example how to construct stories that appeal to these Personas.

Image: Plot structure for New Normal storytelling

Stories tell a common narrative around the main challenges the protagonist is facing during a journey and give guidance how to solve them. They broaden knowledge and trigger feelings that affect the protagonist decision making.

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel
Image: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel


By using emotions we can shift the narrative towards intended behaviours.






An Empathy Map is a common tool that is used for understanding the Persona behaviour. It is divided into four sections: Feeling, Thinking, Saying and Doing. Pains and Gains summarises both negative and positive feelings of the Persona.

Here is a short example of an Empathy Map for the Sensitive Conformist, who is a logical individualistic type.

New Normal Story- MTakala

Most common narratives follow similar basic structure:

  1. Beginning that explains the PURPOSE of the story
  2. Middle part is about the CHANGE that is happening
  3. Twist is a REVERSAL often including a surprise element
  4. End  that indludes conclusions and links to a larger QUEST

The main character in this design story of Calming Order is Sensitive Conformist (who was introduced in a previous post How to Use Personas for New Normal Design). They are individualistic and logical thinkers. Calming Order designs are intelligent solutions to calm the mind and restore order.

Sensitive Conformist needs to be in control. To achieve it they rely on tech solutions. Their motivations are safety & protection, security, efficiency and preparedness.


The story begins with a disruption of normality that sparks fear. The aim of the story is to build trust towards the Calming Order design solutions. The emotions change during the journey from fear & anger to anticipation & surprise, and finally towards acceptance & trust.

Metaphors are excellent tools to tell complex stories. Metaphor of a ‘data is the new gold’ is used together with a documentary style that relies on facts and performance measurements to convince the logical and individualistic Sensitive Conformist.

New Normal Story-MTakala

The example is very simple and lacking details. But, the aim here is to emphasise how carefully constructed stories can influence different Persona types.

For another persona e.g. Frugal Cultivator, who is more emotionally driven and collective type the documentary style of storytelling would be ineffective. Instead, story that focuses more on how to manage Organised Chaos by learning together would be ideal. The feelings linked to the story would also be different and more dramatic.

When we use indepth understanding and empathy to create Personas the rich context will help us to tell relevant stories.




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