June of 2019 has been the year where the world has seen more support for the LGBTQ+ community than ever. From legalization of same sex marriage in Taiwan to decriminalization of homosexuality in Botswana, the world has seen more wins for the LGBTQ community.
With more openness and acceptance to the community and people who recognize themselves as LGBTQ; brands and companies across the world are showing genuine support to the community. However, utilizing promotion of the Pride month as a tactic to benefit the profit margin of a company leads to capitalization of Pride. According to a survey conducted by Ogilvy, 68% of participants reported that brands need to “walk the talk”, implying that brands that publicize their support for the LGBTQ community need to follow through with their plans and promises. Many within the community and outside the community have been debating the positives and negatives of Pride and its capitalization. Some are even skeptical and are questioning the intentions of brands on the promotion and capitalization, which can lead to lack of awareness on the importance, meaning and struggle behind what is now celebrated as Pride month.
In the wake of the debate, Vox published an article, “How LGBTQ Pride Month became a branded holiday,” which discusses how celebrating Pride has become a manner of profit for many companies rather than a way of supporting the cause. According to VOX, “But what exactly are these stores and brands supporting? More important, what happens to the money we spend in these stores? Does brand support for LGBTQ issues have any real impact, or is it just, well, branding?” Which leads us to question if brands are showing support to the LGBTQ community for publicity, P.R and self-promotion or if they truly stand by the LGBTQ community.
The survey from Ogilvy states that people, 64% of the LGBTQ community and 46% of Americans, were more likely to purchase products and services if they saw an advertising that was LGBTQ inclusive. Additionally, 72% of Americans, which is seven in ten, believe that a business or brand that is LGBTQ inclusive is an ally of the community. Companies, businesses and brands need to be aware of their actions and realize that painting on the rainbow flag onto products or having the flag as a part of the logo for the month of June is not enough. Brands need to go beyond the money-making agenda and bring inclusivity into their workplace culture and give back to the LGBTQ community.
There is no denial that recognizing the month of June and supporting the cause have helped narratives on the LGBTQ community issues and explore opportunities that can help advance the advance the cause of LGBTQ equality.
When brands make effort to go beyond creating products with rainbows to support the cause, they gain trust from consumers, allies and the LGBTQ community. Representation should not be an annual event or a marketing and PR strategy. When authenticity is exhibited by brands and companies, they can truly celebrate inclusivity, equality and love.
While you are here, take a look at 50 companies that are giving back to the LGBTQ community.
About the Author
CEO & Founder
Megha Hamal is the Founder and CEO of Megha Hamal PR & Branding, LLC, a Chicago boutique firm specializing in personal branding and PR firm, with clients ranging in lifestyle, healthcare, and everything in between.