How Can Brands Celebrate Pride Month?
posted on 2nd Jul 2021 by Jennifer Murphy
Every June we see brands launching a slew of rainbow themed campaigns and products. We love to see thoughtful and significant Pride initiatives like Dublin Bus’ 2018 “The Proudest bus”, or An Post’s 2021 “Bród” campaign! But at the same time we can’t help but cringe at other initiatives like Marks and Spencer’s LGBT (lettuce, guacamole, bacon, tomato) sandwich… Modern consumers have high expectations when it comes to CSR and they expect brands to shout about their community involvement. However, brands need to be able to prove that their actions are meaningful and go further than a rainbow-washed logo. So, we ask – how should brands celebrate Pride Month?
At Neworld we think it’s important for brands to celebrate Pride Month as long as their celebration is part of a wider effort of inclusivity that is felt throughout the year. Pride Month celebrations can act as a positive signal to potential employees, partners and customers indicating to them that your brand provides a supportive and inclusive space for everyone. If your brand has work to do here, it’s important to prioritise building a long term culture of inclusivity over creating a campaign for a one month celebration. Joining the party without the right culture to back it up is inauthentic and presents missed opportunities.
So, what are these missed opportunities? Primarily, you’re missing out on the chance to use your brand’s platform to educate others on LGBTQ+ culture and issues. Secondly, as a business, you’re potentially ignoring a large segment of your target audience. Certified Proud states that the LGBTQ+ community control a purchasing power of around €495 million per year in Ireland and are more likely to spend this money in areas that show allegiance and acceptance. Consumers want to align themselves with brands that share their values and beliefs, so why not take the guesswork out of the equation and shout about the fact that your brand is inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.
Some people might argue that corporate involvement, sponsorships or large scale brand campaigns might shift attention away from LGBTQ+ issues that need to be the primary focus during Pride Month. There is, however, an opportunity for both allyship and advocacy from brands and June might be the best time for brands to dial up comms surrounding this allyship or advocacy.
Pride related campaigns or brand associations should be well considered and should be of genuine and direct benefit to the LGBTQ+ community. Brands can act as an ally, working to increase awareness about LGBTQ+ issues, or they can take a more active role as an advocate, working towards institutional change or providing financial support to groups who are creators of social change.
At Neworld, we believe that great relationships build great brands, and these great relationships are born out of a culture of inclusivity and support where everyone is free to be themselves.