June is a fun time of year for so many reasons. The weather gets warmer, pools are open, and it’s officially Pride Month. Many brands are constantly critiqued for a having a lack of inclusion and diversity, so Pride Month presents an opportunity for them to showcase their values. Unfortunately, even when a brand’s intentions are good, their campaigns in support of the LGBTQ community can fall under scrutiny when not executed wisely. Here’s some advice on how brands can show their support in an appropriate way.
Do: Use timely occasions and holidays (like Pride Month) to inspire your brand’s editorial calendar. It is important to be conscious of what your audience is up to and to plan your messages accordingly. It can be extremely meaningful to your employees and your audience when you show support on days and during months that are associated with social issues.
Don’t: Only care about these issues during their allocated months. Pride Month provides a strong platform to talk about LGBTQ rights, but don’t let your support stop on June 30. There are plenty of organizations for which companies can show genuine support by volunteering, donating money or resources, and showing support throughout the year.
Do: Find ways to introduce creative products that speak to the cause. J. Crew’s “Love first” t-shirt, Bud Light’s rainbow-colored aluminum bottles, and Just Salad’s “Just Proud Salad” are all tangible examples of ways to engage with customers and show support through messaging.
Don’t: Put a rainbow on your product and call it a day. If less than half of the sales from your Pride-inspired product is not going to an organization that helps the LGBTQ community, then you’re missing the point. Half of the proceeds from J. Crew’s t-shirt were donated to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Bud Light will donate $1 to GLAAD for every case sold, and Just Salad is providing hundreds of free meals to NYC Pride volunteers. Giving your customers a platform to support these groups while also promoting your brand is a win-win.
Do: Support your local Pride Parade. Whether your company sponsors the parade, participates in it, or develops merchandise for parade-goers, these events are a great opportunity to show your support on-the-ground and engage with your audience face-to-face.
Don’t: Forget where the parades came from. They’re not just block parties in the streets. Pride parades commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a pivotal moment in the LGBTQ movement. Since 2019 marks the 50-year anniversary, it is especially crucial that brands remember and honor the roots of this movement and not use it simply as an opportunity to sell goods and services.
J.Crew, Bud Light, and Just Salad are just a few of the brands showing their spirit this month. When it comes to social consciousness, it is important to consider all sides of an issue and make decisions accordingly. While Pride Month is a great opportunity for brands to make a positive statement in support of the LGBTQ community, it’s authenticity year-round that ultimately matters most.
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