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Despina Vourtsaki -

Pride Month is over & it’s a great time to see how brands have ‘played or ployed’ their part to promote LGBTQIA+ rights around the globe.

We see a growing difference between companies who are marketing with pride & those who are using pride marketing tactics, such as slapping a rainbow flag over a logo, to gain favor with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Brands Rising Interest in Pride Marketing

What does even ‘pride marketing’ mean & why does it matter to brands so much? With a simple google search, you could see a lot of articles giving advice on the best marketing strategies to launch a successful pride-themed campaign during this month. However this concept side of Pride Month & the time limit it entails often leads into the misconception that the community is only “alive” & buying during this specific period. To understand the magnitude of this audience better, we should take a look at Gallup’s research, conducted by Jeffrey M. Jones, which found that one in five of US Gen Z consumers identify as LGBTQIA+. Therefore, 53.5% of future active buyers are more likely to buy a product or service whose ad mentions LGBTQIA+ acceptance, according to TextNow research. Brands should treat this knowledge with care because Reboot Online showed that one in 10 LGBTQ+ people actively avoid purchasing Pride products because they believe they are being exploited. Half of internet users in the US said that if a company debuts Pride-related merchandise or content, they’re more likely to see that as a marketing tactic than as a true reflection of the company’s values. “We’re at a place where consumers and activists are going to hold brands accountable for walking the walk if they talk the talk,” said Jay Porter, president of Edelman, Chicago, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

What is 'rainbow-washing'?

You may have heard of the term ‘pink’ or ‘rainbow-washing’. For those not yet familiar with the term, pinkwashing or rainbow-washing now commonly refer to the appropriation of the LGBTQIA+ movement to promote a particular corporate or political agenda. In other words, entities market themselves as “gay-friendly” to gain favor with progressives, while masking aspects that are violent and undemocratic. But let's not be over-dramatic! It's 2022 and some companies might simply want to expand their reach among this particular audience, however, they don't know how. So here are some dos & donts you may need to consider if you want to foster a more meaningful relationship with the LGBTQIA+ community.

Pride Month Dos & Donts

Dos

  1. Be An Authentic Ally
  2. Have Policies That Create an Inclusive and Safe Working Environment
  3. Donate to LGBTQIA+ Charities and Organizations
  4. Include inclusive photography throughout your website and marketing campaigns.
  5. Be Consistent and Confident

 

Dont’s

  1. Slapping a rainbow over a logo and calling it a day
  2. Highlighting LGBTQIA+ team members in branded content this month
  3. Using models this month in ads who represent gender and orientation diversity
  4. Hanging rainbow banners and flags in retail locations and offices
  5. Having a group of employees and allies marching in their local pride parade

Rather than just trying to get the ‘pink-approved’ with a Pride-themed campaign at one point in the year, ensure that all campaigns are fully representative and supportive. This doesn’t mean you have to be really loud about your support or put a rainbow in every campaign. Simple steps like showing a same-sex couple in ads, having products that say ‘Mrs and Mrs’ rather than just ‘Mr and Mrs’ and showing that any member of the the LGBTQIA+ community is just a normal person who deserves representation. It’s also important to make sure that this public support is reflected throughout the rest of your company. Putting inclusive policies in place, addressing the language of your brand, and offering support to anyone within your company who is part of the LGBTQIA+ community are all options that can ensure you really are an advocate.

There are many brands out there, both B2B and B2C, who are doing a great job of marketing with pride & setting great examples for other companies.

Marketing With Pride Case Studies

1) Apple uses its lobbying clout to fight anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, per Politico, despite historically eschewing the spotlight when it comes to politics.

  • In Texas, Florida, Iowa, and other states, the consumer tech giant is lobbying and leveraging its resources to resist bills that target gay and transgender individuals and their families.

2) IKEA’s A World Where Everyone Feels At Home campaign is a picture-perfect demonstration of authentic allyship and well-done Pride Month marketing.

This campaign revolves around proudly supporting the LGBTQIA+ community both within IKEA’s organization and externally with product collections and donations.

Their campaign landing page focuses on three things:

  • How to promote LGBTQIA+ inclusivity both in the workplace and in one’s personal life.
  • The progress they’ve made to promote inclusivity within their organization.
  • The Pride-themed products they have available and how much they donate to specific LGBTQIA+ nonprofit organizations.

They also use their platform to highlight the unique stories of LGBTQIA+ members of their team. You can see through this campaign how they support their LGBTQIA+ employees, and how they support the LGBTQIA+ movement as a whole. This is authentic allyship at its best.

3) One brand that has positioned itself as the ultimate advocate is Absolut. Since 1981, Absolut has been advertising to and supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, starting at a time when brands were more worried about alienating the largest market. The brand has since been a continuous presence in gay media - including being the first sponsor for RuPaul’s Drag Race, which is now a mainstream show - and advocate for the community.

While it is a big part of Pride celebrations - especially in the US - it also supports the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalized communities through its advertising, showing that it is more than a drink.

One of Absolut’s most powerful campaigns is its "Drop of Love" limited edition bottle. To create the bottle’s design, Absolut travelled to protests around the world that were promoting negative views, including anti-gay, racism and sexism, to collect as many “hate signs” as possible. It extracted the ink from these signs and used it to print its labels, spreading a more positive message.

We would love to have your brand listed next year as one of the top examples for being inclusive & supportive of the the LGBTQIA+ community all year round.

We feel wildly creative today! What’s on your mind?

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