Background

A university extension program has made it a priority to expand its reach into Latino communities across Tennessee, focusing primarily on limited resource-Latino parents. To better understand the needs in this demographic, they sought out a research partner to conduct qualitative research centered on gathering information about: (1) personal values, (2) motivators and barriers to healthy eating and physical activity, and (3) sources of information about healthy eating. The study was also tasked with capturing consumer feedback on printed materials previously created for the Latino community by the university extension program. The study results would inform the development of future programs and related collateral materials targeted to the Latino community.

Solution

ThinkNow proposed and conducted 13 focus groups among limited-resource (SNAP recipients or SNAP eligible) Latino parents or guardians of children under age 18. The groups were conducted across several urban and rural locations that represented west, central, and east Tennessee. A total of seven locations were included in the study. The study’s success hinged on ThinkNow’s approach for a non-traditional participant recruitment process that relied on relationships and grassroots efforts with Latino-focused community organizations. These organizations helped bridge access to the target consumer in both urban and rural markets. Focus groups were conducted primarily at venues familiar to the target consumer, such as schools, churches, and community centers. We intentionally recruited from and conducted sessions at locations that provided a safe and trusting environment for participants. Doing so ensured their attendance and participation instead of using a standard focus group facility that reduced participation.

Results

ThinkNow’s ability to discern the needs of both the university extension program and participants resulted in a successful study that met the project’s goals and deliverables. The overarching theme of the data validated the importance of developing culturally attuned materials. The insights gleaned were used to revise and improve current printed materials available in Spanish and inform the development of new materials and programs targeted to Hispanic consumers. Moreover, the results of the study clearly demonstrated that targeting Latinos effectively requires more than simply translating collateral developed for the General Market into Spanish. Creating materials in-language significantly improves message pull through.