This year marks 50 years of annual LGBTQ+ celebrations in the UK. It is widely known that June is Pride Month and you can expect to find speeches, parties, support groups, rainbow-coloured branding and huge marches nationwide.
There is plenty to celebrate in the month, but while much has been achieved to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues; inequality, discrimination, hostility and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals and families continues to exist across the globe. Brands and corporations famously vie to show their support, but what happens when you scratch the surface of these endeavours?
“More than ever before, brands are being held up to the spotlight to ensure their outward displays of support are matched by inward examples of action.”
This year, more than ever before, brands are being held up to the spotlight to ensure their outward displays of support are matched by inward examples of action. Many times brands have got this wrong and terms such as ‘woke-washing’ have arisen to label advertising blunders and hollow acts of support. With brand-shaming so commonplace, certain questions must be answered when proving authenticity:
- Is your brand consistent with its message?
- Are you driving positive change?
- Does your message reflect your brand culture?
- Have you fully explored the sentiment of your customers?
- Will you continue to show support in the future?
Building your message with informed knowledge from an in-depth understanding of your customer base will help to answer these questions.
Blindly throwing out content has proven to have a negative effect. The Gay Times states that 72% of the LGBTQ+ community believe their representation in the media is tokenistic. Marketers who show authenticity and awareness can avoid these mistakes and be rewarded with trust and recognition. Further to this, it is now commonly expected that brands who show support for such causes must also:
- Follow through with the message with appropriate actions throughout the year
- Train employees in awareness and promote the benefits of diversity
- Show support for LGBTQ+ charities
“Marketing movements must drive change through informed decisions and concrete understanding.”
June is Pride month, a time of celebration which exists to create a positive shift in society. It is so important for big brands and businesses to take part in the celebrations and recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce, because discrimination, gay-criminalisation and extreme movements still exist across the US and Europe. Showing support for the cause is always valued but actions are what will make a difference. Marketing movements must drive change through informed decisions and concrete understanding. Know your brand. Know your audience. Deliver the right message.