Worry maps

June 19, 2012 | by Suzy Badaracco
Worry maps

Even though Chloe is 16 years old and went blind 2 years ago, she still outsmarts Leeloo. Regardless of the lanky 3 year old's guerrilla tactics and youth, she can't match a blind cat's 6th sense. Sure Leeloo hides behind doorways, perches on top of counters, and crouches under comforters, but Chloe knows ... She knows Leeloo is there. In fact Chloe has a well-defined repertoire of preemptive attacks. The flip side of her cunningness however, and to be honest, a somewhat embarrassing side, is that sometimes her preemptive attacks meet blank air, a wall, a kid's backpack, or other miscalculated space. I know ... awkward! Her fears are sometimes based on facts and sometimes based on misinformation but regardless of whether her perception is real or imagined, her response is the same.

This is a textbook case for a Worry Map to be conducted.

Worry Mapping is a survey technique used to ferret out whether an individual or groups behavior is based on real or perceived threats. It can also be used to predict future behavior to an upcoming event. The results can then be used to develop materials to correct or change behavior. Here are simple examples of how Worry Maps could be designed and then the resulting information used:

Situation 1:Bird flu hits France and poultry buying drops in the U.S.

Worry Map is designed to find out if there is a connection between the two events and in fact it turns out to reveal that Americans:

a) Know of the bird flu in France

b) Mistakenly think it has come to the U.S.

c) Mistakenly believe they can catch bird flu from dead processed chickens in the grocery store

Correction: Media is developed by poultry industry to educate consumers that both B and C are false

Result: Poultry buying levels return to normal.

Situation 2:Gluten-free diet is promoted by media, American consumers flock to diet

Worry Map is designed to find out if there is a connection between the two events and in fact it turns out to reveal that:

a) Americans are aware of gluten-free media coverage

b) 80 percent mistakenly believe the diet to be either "more healthful," or a weight loss solution

c) 80 percent do not realize it is a specific medically-indicated diet for the auto immune disorder Celiac Sprue

d) Consumers are unaware that a strict gluten-free diet may be higher in fat, lower in B vitamins and fiber, and creates a hostile environment for probiotics – healthy gut bacteria - by depriving them of prebiotcs (their food), thus killing off the probiotics

Correction: Media is developed by grain/baking industry to educate consumers that B is false and C and D are correct.

Result: Gluten free diet is redirected and downsized to its medically-intended audience.

Consider this hypothetical TV commercial the grain/baking industry might develop in its defense:

Take 1 ... annnnddd Action!

A TV commercial opens on two people standing in a grocery aisle and one reaches for a loaf of bread.

Person 1: "Oh, better watch it - that has gluten in it. You know what they say about gluten."

Person 2: "What? Oh, you mean that gluten is a protein found in products including whole grains which support gut health, immune function, focus and memory while supplying essential B vitamins, fiber, and food for healthy gut bacteria? And that cutting it out of the diet may jeopardize weight loss efforts and lead to a nutrient imbalance. Yes, I heard that." She smiles, places the bread in her cart, and walks on down the aisle.

The second woman smiles, shrugs, reaches for a loaf of bread and puts in her cart as well and walks on down the aisle.

Where is THAT commercial?

Topics: Food Allergies / Gluten-free, Health & Nutrition, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Operations Management, Trends / Statistics

Suzy Badaracco
Suzy Badaracco is a toxicologist, chef, and registered dietitian. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminalistics, an Associates degree in Culinary Arts, and a Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition. wwwView Suzy Badaracco's profile on LinkedIn

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