Creating Community With Culturally Specific Copy

What if the American healthcare system was more accessible and inclusive? That’s the idea behind Zócalo Health, a new healthcare membership service that’s connecting Hispanic Americans with the resources they need to thrive.

Culturally specific copy can be an asset to your brand.

Creating culturally specific copy can be challenging, especially within industries that already struggle to connect with audiences. Take healthcare, for example. For most Americans, navigating the healthcare system comes with confusion, frustration, and unexpected expense, creating extra stress for anyone seeking care. For Hispanic Americans, the experience can be even more fraught. 

Hispanic adults are less likely to have health insurance than the general population, leading to a lack of preventative care and disproportionately worse health outcomes. When asked about the underlying cause of this health disparity, 44% of Hispanic adults say cultural differences and communication barriers with healthcare providers are partially to blame.

Erik Cardenas and Mariza Hardin are determined to change that. Together, the two Amazon Care veterans launched Zócalo Health, a healthcare membership service that offers Latinos same-day doctor visits, wellness services, and access to a personal health advocate. As they soft launch their new service, they speak to the heart of their target audience with carefully crafted, culturally specific copy. Here’s how Zócalo Health is bringing a much needed cultural approach to health care—and using copy as a tool to connect. 

Welcome members with open arms 

Throughout the company’s website, the Zócalo Health team demonstrates their understanding of the Latino experience in the American healthcare system. A home page caption states: “At Zócalo Health, we make getting care for our comunidad better.” Zócalo Health immediately welcomes website visitors with open arms. Readers can rest assured that the Zócalo Health team will be their advocates and champions for better care. 

The caption continues: “Built by Latinos for Latinos, we are the only healthcare experience built with our culture in mind.” Because the Zócalo founders are Latino, too, they understand the challenges Hispanic Americans face in finding adequate care. Throughout the copy and in other press materials, the brand builds a compelling story around the ways they relate to the Latino community—and connect with their struggles.  

For instance, in a recent press release, Erik Cardenas shared a memory of his mom accompanying him to doctors’ appointments as a child. “I remember the long waits in the community health clinic to see a doctor who often did not speak Spanish. I had to act as a translator for my mom about my own care and help her navigate next steps. I felt guilty that my mom had to take time off from work for my appointment and pay for any prescriptions or additional care needed.” This personal story clearly situates Cardenas as a member of the community he’s trying to reach, and adds authenticity to Zócalo Health’s mission. At the same time, it clearly outlines the problem Zócalo Health addresses with its service. 

Reinforce community through copy 

Zócalo Health reinforces that feeling of connection and community through its use of Spanglish on the website. Phrases like “our comunidad” and “Healthcare pa’ la gente, pa’ la familia, pa’ ti, pa’ mi, pa’ tod@s” strengthen ties with the target audience by using language they might hear at home, but likely don’t in the doctor’s office. With a click of a button, website visitors can even translate the entire website into Spanish, showing sensitivity to the difficulties Spanish-speakers face in the U.S.  

In addition to using Spanish words throughout the website’s English version, Zócalo Health makes cultural references throughout. “We believe Un Tecito y Un Apapacho can make you feel better.” This nod to the power of a cup of tea and a loving hug align with their mission: forging a new approach to health care that takes culture into account. The rest of the caption drives this home: “We want to hear your story and your concerns in the language you feel most comfortable using. We acknowledge that your lifestyle and culture shape the way you feel.” The company’s culturally specific copy aligns perfectly with its mission. 

We transformed a startup into a healthcare superstar

A medical technology startup, Ezra used the latest technology to screen patients for prostate cancer. Unfortunately, its website didn’t match these ambitions—it was too serious, and risked alienating the at-risk patients Ezra was trying to attract. But after approaching MarketSmiths, Ezra soon got a website it could be proud of. Interviewing a number of SMEs, we dug deep into the science of cancer diagnosis—while keeping copy upbeat and approachable. Between that and help with social media and SEO, we’ve helped transform Ezra into one of the most impressive healthcare firms around—and kept their audience safe from the scourge of cancer. 

> Read the full case study

Position yourself as the obvious choice 

Many business-to-consumer brands have unique brand voices that connect with their target audiences. In that regard, Zócalo Health’s copy isn’t anything new. Where Zócalo Health’s copy really shines is in the feeling of community and sense of belonging it generates. In generating those feelings, Zócalo Health makes itself the clear choice for readers seeking better care.

Want to strengthen ties with your audience? As a woman- and minority-founded and led business, MarketSmiths Content Strategists is your go-to agency for sensitive, smart culturally specific copy. We’ve worked with some of the largest brands in the world to build messages that resonate, and our diverse and culturally competent staff can understand and build branding around the needs of specific communities. Get in touch today to learn more about our capabilities.   

Anne Paglia

Anne Paglia

After dabbling in journalism, communications, and science publishing, Anne found her way to MarketSmiths. When she’s not writing, this New Jersey native is likely spending time outdoors or expounding on the importance of the Oxford comma.

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