June marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride celebrations in the United Kingdom. A key theme for this year will be looking to the future, whilst celebrating the momentous achievements of the past half a century.
Brands are accompanying this year’s festivities with a slew of Pride-themed ad campaigns, clothing and food. Experts, on the other hand, believe that businesses must go beyond simple rainbow packaging.
When executed correctly, Pride marketing can reach demographics who have historically been underrepresented and misunderstood. In this week’s blog, we’re exploring how brands can ethically join 2022’s Pride party.
The LGBTQ+ community has previous raised concerns regarding businesses and corporations ‘rainbow washing’ their products for profit. Although some LGBTQ+ people have noted their appreciation for the extra visibility during Pride – many brands have received criticism for their tie-in campaigns.
Unlike the photography driven platforms of Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is an open forum driven entirely by dialog – brands are therefore vulnerable to potentially damaging criticism. Notably, social media darling Kim Kardashian came under scrutiny when promoting her mobile game using a pride flag as a backdrop.
As soon as the 1st of June hit, rainbow-hued logos adorned the social media pages of countless brands. Although posts demonstrating solidarity and Pride-themed products are a pleasant gesture – without depth, they can appear somewhat vapid.
What customers really want to see is genuine allyship. Demonstrate that your business recognises LGBTQ+ talent and backs the community through charity or legislative support. Lastly, be sure that you don’t neglect the cause when July rolls around – inclusion should be on a business’s agenda all year round.
As always, it’s important to know your brand’s demographic cohort. With one in six identifying as a member of the community, LGBTQ+ representation is of particular importance to Gen Z. Brands popular with young consumers like ASOS, Dr. Martens, and Reebok have pledged large sums of money to LGBTQ+ charities such as Stonewall, GLSEN and GLAAD.
When launching a campaign in support of Pride, it’s important that you work with a social media manager who understands which platform to focus your marketing efforts. On TikTok, #pride has 19.5 billion views and counting, so this is prime spot to get your content out there. Pride posts on Instagram have also been popular for years – the platform’s stories feature also makes it easy for you to add a donation sticker and direct users to your chosen charity.
Go beyond the rainbow and understand the human experience. Consumerism surrounds us and informs our day-to-day life; in our most emotional moments, we often turn to a particular item for solace. Understand the functionality of your product and use it to normalise LGBTQ+ issues.
A great example of this is Gillette’s 2019 advert, featuring a father teaching his trans son to shave for the first time. A professional video production team will understand how to depict real people in authentic situations. This will give your brand the opportunity to reshape the narrative, change the conversation and spark a lasting transformation.
If you lack firsthand experience with LGBTQ+ issues, then highlight those who do. Influencers are passionate about equality, diversity, inclusion, creativity and self-expression. Many don’t just show support for their LGBTQ+ community, but they will also stand in solidarity with other movements like Black Lives Matter, AAPI and healthy perceptions on body image.
Never ask an individual to market your brand or product for free. LGBTQ+ people face higher financial barriers and hardships, therefore it’s crucial that you respect the community and set aside enough money to pay content creators.
Remember; showing off our rainbow colours is not just for June. LGBTQ+ audiences are always on the lookout for supportive brands and innovative products to help their cause – and Gen Z of all identities and orientations are supportive of greater representation of LGBTQ+ people.
If you’re looking to get your pride campaign the brightest it’s ever been, get in touch with Cordis today.