Focus on the people you need to reach, engage, and convert.

On any project it’s critical to identify, analyse, and build a deeper understanding of your key stakeholders. Doing so, will ensure you know how best to engage and communicate with those that are most likely to be involved, influence, or experience the outcomes of your project.

What is a stakeholder profile?

What is a stakeholder profile?

Stakeholder, customer, or buyer profiles (also known as pen portraits) are primarily developed for marketing or sales purposes. They tend to communicate known information based on internal or publicly available information on specific individuals or organisations.  

Never not let personal biases or agendas sway the research that is presented in a stakeholder profile. They should be as objective as possible. Sources should be linked where relevant and they should never be used as the sole influencer of a business decision.

Example stakeholder profile

Example stakeholder profile

Why develop stakeholder profiles

Why develop stakeholder profiles

Stakeholder profiles are best used as a reference tool when you’re working on highly targeted campaigns or solutions for a known audience. They can be particularly helpful when you’re trying to establish a shared understanding of:

  • Who your key stakeholders are
  • How they should be segmented
  • Key information per stakeholder profiled
  • Knowledge gaps
  • How best to engage and communicate with key stakeholders.
When to use them

When to use them

Creating stakeholder profiles is best done at the outset of a project. As this ensures you keep the needs of internal and external stakeholders in mind when planning your project.

Profiles should be updated on a regular interval. This will ensure the information held within stakeholder profiles is kept up-to-date.

Who should contribute

Who should contribute

You should involve the following internal stakeholders at the outset of the process:

  • Those with first hand knowledge and experience of working with who you’re profiling. For example, sales and support teams.
  • The primary consumers of the final output.
  • Any senior stakeholders who are either responsible or accountable for the success of the project.

Once draft outputs are ready to be shared, you should ensure that those who have the closest connection to each stakeholder group has the opportunity to review and critique them. This should always include those with day-to-day experience of interacting with the key individuals you’ve profiled.

Pros and cons

Pros and cons


  • Provide a high-level overview of key information.
  • Concise and easy to consume.
  • Faster and cheaper then conducting primary research.


  • They are not primary research led.
  • Unlikely to uncover deep insights.
  • Need to be actively maintained to ensure accuracy.
Effort required

Effort required

Time required

1 day

Secondary research:
2 days

Analysis and documentation:
2 days

Presentations and comms:
2 days



Secondary research:

Analysis and documentation:

Presentations and comms:

Equipment list

Equipment list


  • Printed worksheets.
  • Whiteboard / flip-chart & paper.
  • Whiteboard / flip-chart pens.
  • Post-it notes.
  • Pens.


  • Online meeting tool (e.g. Google Hangout, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc).
  • Shared collaborative tools (e.g. Mural, Miro, Trello, etc).
  • Shared collaborative document (e.g. Google Docs).
How to create stakeholder profiles

How to create stakeholder profiles

Stakeholder Profiles
Map your stakeholders

Once your project objectives have been defined, the following questions should be considered as part of a stakeholder mapping exercise:

  • What different types of stakeholder groups do we need to consider?
  • Which individuals and/or organisations does each group consist of?
  • What role are each group of stakeholders likely to play (in terms of impact and influence)?
  • How should our different stakeholders be prioritised?
Identify key questions

Consider your project objectives and identify the key questions your stakeholder profiles should help answer. This is a key step that should inform the scope and depth of information you collate.

Define the key information to be captured for individuals

Based on the key questions to be answered, define a long-list of information to be captured per stakeholder profile. For individuals this may include information such as:

  • Demographic information (Age, gender, location, and more)
  • Professional bio (job title, time in role/at company, bio, key skills, and more)
  • Social media usage (touch points on, frequency of use, and more)
  • Roles and responsibilities (summary of job description, markets, lines of business, number of people they manage, and more)
Define the key information to be captured for organisations

Based on the key questions to be answered, define a long-list of information to be captured per stakeholder profile. For organisations this may include information such as:

  • Key information (founded, type, location(s), sector, key markets, key product/service lines, turnover breakdown, headcount, and more)
  • Company culture (vision, mission, values, and more)
  • Strategic intent (stated business objectives, goals, priorities, and more)
  • Key clients (overview of key clients by sector, and more)
  • Key projects (overview of key internal or external projects, and more)
Conduct secondary research

A stakeholder profile is evidence-based and therefore should be an accurate and factual representation of the individual or organisation. You can usually find information on an individual or organisation through online research. But always remember to use credible sources that provide high-quality information.

Sources we turn to time and time again include:

  • Company websites
  • Public sector organisations
  • Social media touch points (particularly LinkedIn or Twitter)
  • Companies House
  • Office of National Statistics
  • Research, industry, and market reports
  • Professional membership associations
  • Academic institutions
  • Media sources (as and when relevant).
Consolidate your findings

Once your data has been compiled it then needs to be documented. So that others can rapidly consume the key information to be shared. To achieve this it’s important that you focus on the information that matters most. Do not share everything you’ve found. This will create noise and make it harder to consume and retain what really matters.

Finding the best way to share or present your set of stakeholder profiles takes time. Do you need to split them up into sections? Do you need to do summaries for someone who only has time to scan? Make it as easy as possible for whoever is going to be reading them to ensure they get the maximum benefit from the research you’ve conducted. 

There’s no one right way of doing this. So we always design our outputs around the:

  • Specific type and volume of information to be communicated
  • People who need to consume it.
Share your stakeholder profiles with your team

It is important to share your stakeholder profiles with your team for further refinement. As they may already know or work with your stakeholders and could provide additional details you may not have captured via secondary research. 

Once this process is complete, you should then develop:

  • An introduction that explains the purpose of the profiles and how they should be used.
  • A concise overview of the methodology used to create your profiles. This should detail when and how the research was conducted. This will help people unfamiliar with the process understand how they were created. It also helps build confidence in the validity of the information contained within them.
  • The finalised set of stakeholder profiles.
  • A list of sources.
Present your stakeholder profiles with your team

In addition to the documentation you develop you should also develop and record a presentation that details key insights and how these stakeholder profiles should be used. Doing so, will ensure anyone consuming this information at a later date will be provided with the additional context they need.

Maintain your stakeholder profiles

You should review and update your stakeholder profiles periodically to ensure they reflect any key changes or updates required. This will ensure your stakeholder profiles provide the most long-term value.




  • Time-lock the exercise, as information gathering can be endless. You may need to extend the time occasionally, but only do this if you think it will add value.
  • Search for articles that mention the person. 
  • Use direct quotes when the person’s exact wording adds value.
  • Search for websites and social media touch points the person and/or organisation are likely to use.
  • Pay attention to current affairs and context that might affect aspects of the profile.
  • Make sure you review and convert all content into the same tense and tone of voice, especially when compiling information from a variety of sources.


  • Let biases or preconceived ideas sway the content of the profile.
  • Spend too long on the exercise. Sometimes there is not a lot of online information available about people, which in and of itself is useful to note. 
  • Forget to save important or helpful links to information or social media profiles.
  • Forget the parameters of the profile can be changed to suit your specific project and the information you are required to capture.
Download template

Download template

Please adapt this template and it’s headings to fit the requirements of your stakeholder profile.

Need assistance?

Discuss your desired outcomes with a user experience specialist.