The month of June shares a wash of rainbow across our feeds. Brands rush to change their logos to a colourful substitute to prove their allyship, and this is seen across the West as a standard marketing practice.
However, being a performative ally and using Pride as a way to sell your products and services is probably more damaging than it is supportive. It is rare that brands go further than painting the rainbow across their media channels and this is precisely why we need to do more to acknowledge the origin of Pride and show how you are actively supporting the cause.
The Pride movement
Pride is the promotion of the self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of LGBTQ+ people. Pride Month occurs in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which took place in America in 1969. Pride Month is to celebrate people of the LGBTQ+ community, but we also need to appreciate the history, tackle homophobia and create equal opportunities within our own spaces.
On June 1st, brands will signal their support across Social Media by changing their logos to the rainbow Pride Flag. Brands will also create lines of clothing, accessories and other products in line with this to help create awareness for Pride.
People are paying more attention than ever to brands and what they are up to, and feel like there is a lot more that needs to be done than to just jump on the bandwagon and support. For example, Popular Info found that in the US 25 brands sporting a Rainbow Logo were found to have donated an estimated $10 million to politicians who were in favour of anti-gay legislation in the US.
Not only that, people are also paying more attention to how the brand is continuously presenting themselves on social media and how they are using LGBTQ+ representation, if it is used at all. When it comes to representation, this also needs to be done for all letters that come under the acronym, for example, supporting the trans community as Trans Rights are constantly under threat.
Why is it so important?
It is estimated that 15% of Gen Z identify as LGBTQ+ which is largely more than any generation before them. As the world is moving towards equality, more people are finding it easier to identify and this is why it is so important to make sure that you are on the right side of this movement!
Not only do LGBTQ+ face discrimination in a wide social setting, this can stem right to the work place. How you represent your brand and your company culture has a big part to play in creating an equal and ethical working environment that is both inclusive and supportive.
The National LGBT Survey states that 19% of respondents with a job said that they had not been open about their sexual orientation or gender identity within the workplace.
1 in 8 trans people responding to a recent Stonewall survey said they had been attacked by a colleague or customer at work.
Breaking down the Acronym
When people advertise LGBTQ+ campaigns, the usual take is of a same sex couple but this represents a portion of the LGBTQ+ community. Where more representation is always good, I think people are looking for brands to be more mindful in their campaigns and future content in regards to this.
How to be an ally
When it comes to Pride Month, absolutely show your support across your socials and acknowledge Pride. This blog is not telling you not to use the Rainbow… it’s just emphasising the need to do more than just that! There are a number of ways in which you can show your support, and hopefully this will be something you consider all year round, and not just during Pride Month.
The thing that is damaging, is when companies use Pride to profit. Many brands will use Pride Campaigns as a way of making money, taking advantage of the community representation, and then carry on the rest of the year without any LGBTQ+ representation in their marketing strategies and content.
Further Your Support
There are a number of ways in which you can further your support, rather than just posting a rainbow and having a rainbow washed logo on your twitter handle for a month. Pay attention to those around you, and those who inspire you and use this to help celebrate the people who identify within this community.
Celebrate members of your team, obviously with their consent, around their role within your business and how your business supports them in their day to day working life. Celebrate their achievements within your business, acknowledge their differences and create a working environment that will show inclusivity and diversity throughout your team. Not only does this create a safe space for your employees, this will also help attract future talent.
Share inspirational stories from people within the LGBTQ+ community and you can relate this to your business or industry. There will be industry leaders, with great stories, who can relate to your business and now is a great time to shout them out on Social Media and celebrate them!
A Great Example
For larger organisations, this can be done with helping donate to important charities and causes and doing this with profits from Pride Campaigns, as well as doing this throughout the year. A great example of this is Kellogs. Kellogs “Together With Pride” campaign not only donates a share of the sales to GLAAD, they have added a section on the cereal box packaging for people to write down their pronouns, which helps to encourage not only young people, but parents too in understanding the importance around this. This is a great way to help the general public in understanding pronouns and this sends a very powerful message to trans youth.
When executing your Pride campaigns and posting during Pride, make sure that you are doing this for the right reasons and not just for likes.
Also, allow this time to do some research into Pride, into your company and what you are doing to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ employees, or look at what your company is doing to make those of the community feel included and equal.
And finally, make sure that you are using representation throughout the year, not just during Pride Month.
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