Authentic support for equality needs to happen every day — all year long
June is Pride month around the world, and so it isn’t surprising to see companies these past weeks raising their Pride flags and displaying rainbow-embellished products. Step into a Primark and you’ll find T-shirts, hats and flags with supportive yet baseline calls for “Equality”. Your local Sainsburys is probably filled with flags proclaiming support for the LGBTQ+ community.
But what does it mean to a consumer to only see these displays of equal opportunity and respect one month a year? It’s time for brands and companies to pull their Pride marketing tactics out of the closet and show authentic support all year long. The end result will include genuine loyalty, brand activism and further promotion for a company.
Here’s why it makes sense.
In 2019, the UK’s Office of National Statistics found 2.7% of UK adults identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual – an increase on previous surveys. The same survey also found 6.6% of Gen Zers identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.
The numbers don’t stop there. Recent studies have found the LGBTQ+ community has an estimated buying power of £6 billion in the UK alone. Another study by LGBT Capital found the global buying power from the LGBTQ+ population stood at a whopping £2.7 trillion.
The growing LGBTQ+ population (and their wallets) is reflective of the massive cultural shift underway — where the public is embracing and encouraging inclusivity, diversity and acceptance. This is having an impact on companies internally and how they treat diverse groups. Many companies have implemented programmes and benefits bolstering all backgrounds, but consumers need to see these efforts publicly too.
While many marketers see an opportunity related to the buying power of the LGBTQ+ community, the strategy taken should be a business imperative priority that takes place throughout the year rather than a marketing tactical execution tied solely to a month or holiday.
To start, companies and their marketing teams should take the time to thoroughly understand the population they target. What does the LGBTQ+ population care about? How does your company or brand reflect the values of the LGBTQ+ population? Remember that the LGBTQ+ community is not one monolithic entity either, so consider how you can include the TQ+ as much as the LGB.
Secondly, take a hard and honest look internally to ensure products and campaigns reflect company culture. Over the last year, we’ve seen plenty of Instagram posts, statements or tweets where a company or executive announces support for a particular group. But what does that mean? Does the company internally support these groups? What exactly is the company doing? Before you send out that Tweet, make sure you live those values internally.
Finally, companies need to ensure they are consistent with their messaging all year long. If you support LGBTQ+ folks and the freedom of being — then think about how you can physically or metaphorically raise that Pride flag 365 days a year.
An award-winning PR executive with more than 25 years of experience, Matthew leads worldwide client services. He has extensive global experience helping businesses and organisations across industries grow and evolve.
Hadas Streit is an Executive Vice President in the Corporate Practice and leads our Workplace team, Hadas is passionate about helping clients retain and recruit talent and telling their employer brand story in new and creative ways across platforms.