Staying Authentic During Pride Month:
Pride Month explodes each year as a symbol of LGBTQ+ celebration and equality, and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York, a pivotal turning point in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. Since then, many advancements in LGBTQ+ equality have occurred in the US, including workplace protection, housing protection, and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
Though only 4-7% of the population, the purchasing power of the LGBTQ+ community is estimated at a whopping $917 billion. That near $1 trillion makes the LGBTQ+’s “pink dollar” the strongest of any minority group within the US. According to a 2018 survey by Community Marketing and Insights, more than 75% of LGBTQ+ Americans will spend more at a company that supports equality.
Taking note of the power of the pink dollar and strengthening public support for this community, brands are increasingly using Pride Month as a chance to reach and market to the LGBTQ+ community. This year alone, we see Pride campaigns spanning categories and platforms, from Pepsi’s “All For Love Pride Pack” that includes 18 rainbow cans to Snapchat’s Pride-themed Landmarkers lenses that bring global landmarks colorfully to life.
The LGBTQ+ community welcomes recognition and support by brands, but there is a tipping point of authenticity vs. exploitation that brands must watch out for. Here are a few ways brands can remain authentic and sincere without simply capitalizing or marginalizing the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month:
- Give Back: don’t simply slap a rainbow on your products; donate part of the proceeds from your Pride products back to the community. Sweetgreens donated $1 from each bowl purchased on June 2 – up to $25,000 – and sells Pride T-shirts to support Covenant House LA, an organization that heavily focuses on housing and programming for LGBTQ youth.
- Be An Ally: don’t be afraid to take a stand and show your support for the community on your social channels. When organizers of a “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston tweeted about having Axe participate with a float, Axe, a brand known for being a fierce ally of the LGBTQ+ community, quickly reaffirmed its stance.
- Show Pride All Year: demonstrate your pride and support beyond Pride Month. Not only will you have a better chance of standing out, it shows your brand’s genuine interest in the community by being an ally all year long. Ben & Jerry’s rebranded two of its ice-cream flavors in support of same-sex marriage. Chubby Hubby was renamed Hubby Hubby, when same-sex marriage was legalized in Vermont. Their apple pie flavored ice cream was reborn as Apple-y Ever After when same-sex marriage was on the table in the U.K.
- Represent All Faces: go beyond rainbow products and demonstrate inclusivity in large-scale brand efforts and campaigns. Shaving brand Harry’s was lauded by the LGBTQ+ community for including a transgender man with scars from top surgery in a spot, along with the voiceover, “You can shave to feel like you.”