Case Study

American Welding Society


American Welding Society


Brand Strategy

Brand Workshop


Persona Development


Constructing Audience Personas to Better Engage Members


The American Welding Society (AWS) is a nonprofit organization that unites over 70,000 members under one global mission: to advance the science, technology and application of welding. For more than 100 years, AWS has represented a diverse community of professionals who take pride in what it means to work in the welding industry, progressing the innovation, science, precision and art of welding into the future.

Despite their strong representation and storied history, AWS needed to modernize. Without a finger on the pulse of their members’ various needs, motivations, goals, and challenges, AWS struggled to personalize its communications and marketing outreach. This effected both current members who rely on AWS to further the welding industry and their ability to connect with potential members. Lifecycle marketing strategy and philosophy believes that your success in marketing your organization comes from a strong brand and strong positioning. Understanding your audience and how you are speaking to them is central to this approach.

AWS engaged Beyond Definition to conduct in-depth research to inform the development of audience personas that represent the unique segments within AWS’s membership. These personas had to recognize AWS’s current brand positioning to reignite a belief in their organizational value.


Through a combination of primary and secondary research tactics, our team delivered multiple audience personas representing the vastly different roles in the welding industry. From the welding inspector to a business owner, Beyond Definition gave AWS a detailed look at the unique attributes that make up the collective AWS membership. With these persona profiles in-hand, AWS can personalize its communications and marketing outreach to more effectively connect with their audience. These persona profiles also provided AWS with a clearer understanding of how the organization can work to better support its various member segments.

Phase 1Diagnostics & Discovery

We began the discovery process by digging into member data and previous member research that had been conducted to gain a foundational understanding of all current member audiences, both active and inactive, that would be relevant to the personas. This set a tactical baseline for our team to work from when moving onto the next step which included conducting interviews with key internal and external stakeholders. From each interview, we wanted to know what the current attitudes were about AWS and how members felt about the AWS experience.

In addition to audience analysis, an important component to our research process is our custom workshop. We moderated and inspired conversations with members of the central AWS team to gain a holistic view of the AWS personas from their perspective. This research process played an instrumental role in creating a successful persona-driven strategy for the AWS organization.


Phase 2Persona Development

Following our discovery process, Beyond Definition began extracting patterns and themes to accurately develop the persona profiles. Each persona was broken down on a granular level, detailing key demographics including age, gender, educational background, location, and more. Our team delivered a targeted understanding of how to produce content that engages each persona effectively by highlighting their identifiers, goals, challenges, membership insights, and verbiage that would attract a specific persona. Our persona process helped AWS to identify the differences each targeted audience member faces, while providing valuable recommendations to inform the AWS internal team.