Using Ground Truthing to Combat False Narratives and Challenge Assumptions

October 6, 2021 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

When consumers have a good experience, they tell three people. When they have a bad one, they tell ten. Doing a deep dive into conversations taking place on the ground is essential to identifying and combating false narratives that can derail a multicultural marketing campaign. This is especially important when that campaign is in the interest of public health.

Addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, for example, isn’t a matter of just pushing out messaging on the vaccines’ effectiveness. It’s also necessary to uncover and comprehend the narratives people are being exposed to and have erroneously accepted as truth, so messaging can be created to combat misinformation.

Trusted messengers within target communities are vital here as those influencers are more likely to have the social currency to shift the conversation. With the pandemic, that “ear to the ground” approach contributes to harm reduction.

Whether it's vaccinations or consumer packaged goods, multicultural marketing has and will continue to evolve as the demographics in the U.S. evolve. Seventy percent of Generation Alpha (born 2010-2025) will be bi-racial. So if companies and brands aren’t preparing for that now, they’re missing out on the opportunity to start building relationships with an entire generation of multicultural consumers and future voters.

The term “multicultural” or “multiculturalism,” however, when looking at it broadly, is inadequate in describing the complexity of people of color in the U.S., which varies not only in ethnicity but also by culture, region, and numerous other factors.

This complexity demands that marketers change the conversation around identity and belonging in the next iteration of marketing and advertising. No more assumptions based on last name, zip code, how people sound, or where you think they’re from. Ground truthing fills the gaps and provides the cultural context to support the findings.

In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, Michelle O'Grady Caballero, Founder and CEO of Team Friday, introduces the concept of “ground truthing” and how it can be used to combat false narratives and challenge assumptions.