Step 1: Define the Opportunity

Mental Modeling begins by preparing an Opportunity Statement, which clearly defines the goals and desired outcomes of the project, including the desired behavioral outcomes resulting from the application of the research. This statement frames and focuses the mental models research and its end results and ensures the project team is aligned in its understanding of the project’s scope and focus, and that team members understand their respective roles.

ASPS Opportunity Statement Example

The opportunity is to support the design and execution of a strategic, science-based campaign to encourage people considering plastic surgery to choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. (Note: this project was conducted by Reingold,[1] Decision Partners and Penn Schoen Berland (PSB).[2] Here we focus primarily on the role of the mental models research in shaping the design of the campaign developed by Reingold and evaluated by PSB.) This will be achieved by:

  • • Characterizing expert knowledge of influences on decision making of prospective patients/customers, including perceived risks and benefits.
  • • Gaining in-depth insight into factors influencing prospective patient/customer decision making concerning having plastic surgery, including their perceptions and weighing of benefits and risks, their selection of a plastic surgeon and their judgment of the outcomes, along with understanding what information sources and communication methods are used and valued by potential patients/ customers.
  • • Creating campaign strategies and messages addressing critical decisions prospective patients/customers face.
  • • Evaluating strategies and messages through empirical testing before deployment.
  • • Evaluating results, including communication design , messages, and channels, along with outcomes of strategies.
  • • Continuously improving by identifying and implementing improvements in communication processes based on evaluations .

  • [1] Reingold is a small, full service communications firm based in Alexandra, VA.
  • [2] Penn Schoen Berland is one of the world’s premier strategic opinion research and communications consulting firms, and is based in Washington, DC.
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