I contest that health, diet, and nutrition are the most biased and confusing aspects of our culture today. We are all guessing. Who knows how to balance what we think we know with what we perceive as true when it comes to what we should eat, and how it should make us feel?
Most people don’t give their mind and perception enough credit. Therefore, we get very passionate about what ultimately turns out to be nothing more than our best guess. What are the best food and lifestyle choices we can make? It will affect not only us but also our families.
I know in my house we are passionate about where we stand yet still blatantly guessing on a daily basis as to what the best choice might be. We also wonder what is the best way to present that choice to avoid setting unwanted relational norms with regards to food and health for our kids.
How do we all get so involved in what feels like an endless game of smoke and mirrors? One company/brand/person tells the story one way, while another tells it just the same way but with very different but also hard to differentiate nomenclature.
The prime example is what has happened with the word “natural”. Over time the meaning has become so hard to understand it has basically been rendered useless to the educated consumer. I believe the word itself creates a very basic and consistent good feeling which makes it a powerhouse when used on product labeling.
But the truth is that the word can be very misleading. As consumers, we are guessing as to what is meant when a product is labeled “natural,” and typically we guess that it must mean the same thing as we think. Unfortunately, many times that is just not the case.
To explore this thought of good guesses a bit further I would like to take a look at a couple interactions I have experienced recently.
First I talked to a brilliant, sensible doctor and expert on human health who truly believes the best, most effective medicine to treat many illnesses and diseases is a diet of only red meat.
Next, I was waited on in a restaurant by a nutritionist moonlighting as a waitress who truly believes that the elimination of meat from our diet is emphatically proven through research to be the healthiest.
Why are there such opposite stances? How can both sides talk ad nauseam about the mountains of proof that they are absolutely right and the opposing view is so incorrect? (Feel like politics?)
The truth is they have no other choice if they want to have any chance of being effective, heard, and/or recognized as influential. Our culture is evolving all individuals towards either an activist or apathetic stance with regards to almost all things.
Ask yourself these questions about the two people I encountered above. Is one of them a liar? Might they both be right? What is the chance that you would even take an open minded listen to their argument? Would you truly be able to listen without inherent bias creeping in?
Truth is, it might all boil down to who is the better salesperson — them or your trust network, i.e. your inner conversation, group of friends, co-workers, social media influences and your personal experience.
More specifically what I mean by biased is that we, the everyday consumer, are most likely to grab on to the information, research, and conversation that most aligns with our trust network. We use this group in order to make our most educated guess as to what we should believe.
The thing I feel needs to be considered is that many times this trust network is completely ignorant on the topic and only passing along some other person’s best guess.
What does this mean to the all-inclusive market? If you want to add value, you better learn how to be a part of your target consumers’ trust network.
There will be no faking it either. We must get involved, be aware, and be approachable. I would like to plant this seed of thought: if this trust network is as important as I have represented, how serious are you about doing what it takes to be a part of that?
My challenge to the readers of this insight might be: wake up, we are all guessing. What decisions might you be able to make inside your business to build your brand or align your brand in a way to become the best guess.
Neil Dudley is vice president of sales for Hamilton,Texas- based Pederson’s Natural Farms