Pride Month: Putting pride in your marketing campaign efficiently.

Digital Marketing Jun 30, 2021

June is a special month that’s dedicated to celebrating the impact of LGBTQ+ people around the world. The month was originally chosen to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which took place in June 1969, and has since evolved to include massive pride events and celebrations. You’re also likely to see many brands and companies update their profiles, products, and services with a rainbow icon or colors to symbolize LGBTQ+ pride.

Some brands may take the message of Pride acceptance and symbolism a little too far. This can cause them to come across as opportunistic or insincere with their marketing strategies. Terms like “pinkwashing” have arisen to describe these new business strategies, and if done incorrectly, are often perceived negatively by the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.

On this blog, we will discuss the concept of inclusive marketing, its relevance in today’s world, and how you can reach inclusivity in your marketing without jeopardizing sincerity, and how to avoid pinkwashing or rainbow washing during the pride month.

Is marketing specifically to the LGBTQ+ community important?

Now this depends—are you interested in over $3.7 trillion dollars in spending power globally? When we talk about speaking to underserved markets, the LGBTQ+ community should be top of the list. If you’re interested in Gen Z or Millennials, you should be paying even closer attention. Twenty percent of Millenials and 31% of Gen Z identify as LGBTQ+.

1.What is inclusive marketing?

Inclusive marketing covers all sorts of areas of society and can trace its origins back to the early 19

Coca-Cola launched their catchphrase "I'd like to buy the world a coke" with the now-iconic Hilltop commercial in 1971. It was the first example of a brand that was truly representing the people who are their customers.

When Gucci made the choice to feature the Down's Syndrome model, Ellie Goldstein, it went down especially well with their consumers, with this post receiving over 800k likes, their most popular post to date.

1.1 Why is inclusive marketing so important?

In this day and age, our current population consists of people with different backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, and so on. These groups of people want to see themselves, their stories, and their experiences shared through the right context and means. While brands may run the risk of committing accidental blunders in their campaigns, it’s still highly important to consider inclusivity in every step of their marketing strategies, especially during Pride Month.

Inclusivity can also be seen as progressive in the right direction, which can impact the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. This reflects the mindset of numerous consumers today.

1.2 How do you implement inclusivity in PRIDE marketing?

Developing campaigns and strategies around inclusivity is a crucial part of staying relevant with your customers. However, you need to make sure that it comes off as genuine. Most consumers can read the context behind the content, and in the case of Pride Month, many customers who are part of the community may feel as if brands are taking advantage of an event that is still highly political. Because of this, it helps to incorporate a few effective tips that incorporate inclusivity in your marketing:

Tone of your marketing, your voice, the text in ads.

The tone is the element that sets the style or emotion of marketing content. Often, it is the tone that determines whether consumers are engaged or offended by a piece of marketing content. That’s why it’s highly imperative to consider every type of content you intend to produce.

For example, during Pride Month, Smart Insights emphasizes using community and support behind brand messaging, and to consider your company as a whole. Make sure that the subject, topic, and objectives are clear and respectful to avoid turning off your audience from your business’s marketing campaigns.

Hire talent from different backgrounds.

One great way to ensure that your campaigns have an appropriate tone and messaging is to have a diverse team within your company. Take the time to hire diverse talent into your company as this can help your brand obtain a better insight into people of different backgrounds. This, in turn, allows you to produce content that resonates with audiences and can even help you venture into other business opportunities.

Consider the political side.

Remember that representation has massive power. Through considerable representation, a wide variety of identities are expressed through images, video, and advertisements. It elevates the voices of those who are marginalized in society. Of course, while there’s a fulfilling side to representation, you must recognize and prepare for the political aspect of it.

For instance, Pride often has a celebratory side to it from the community and branding messages may include positive comments. However, there are also members of the wider community who disagree with showing support in any way. You must be prepared to handle these types of negative comments and stick with your campaign through respectful responses.

Counter Stereotype

Stereotypes are generalizations about a group of people, often based on societal prejudices, opinions, and judgments. As you may already have figured, there are a vast number of stereotypes aimed directly at the LGBTQ+ community. These types of perceptions are detrimental to the growth and acceptance of marginalized groups.

Although our society has become accepting of LGBTQ+ people, it’s still crucial to avoid portraying harmful stereotypes that can act as a setback for the community at large. Instead, try to create marketing messages and images that break these stereotypes and reinforce positivity about the community. The right marketing strategies have the potential to change the way society thinks about a group of people.

2.What is pinkwashing ?

Simply put, pinkwashing is “using gay-related issues in positive ways in order to distract attention from negative actions by an organization, country or government.” This includes things like contributing to anti-gay politicians or causes while putting on LGBTQ+ job fairs or sponsoring Pride events.

2.1 What is rainbow washing?

Rainbow washing refers to the appropriation and commoditization of the queer community for profit—generally, exclusively during June. This is often noticed by folks from the community but embraced by allies, which begs the question: Who are these campaigns truly for? The rainbow toothpaste, ally T-shirts, and rainbow alcohol (a whole other can of worms) often do not directly support any LGBTQ+ causes. Forty-six percent of corporate Pride marketing campaigns do not donate any profits to LGBTQ+ organizations, despite making millions in June.

2.2 How to Avoid Rainbow or Pinkwashing this Pride Month

As with any marketing campaign, the importance of putting your audience first is important and required. Here are five things we recommend keeping in mind as you develop your campaigns:

  1. Put the same time and resources toward LGBTQ+ marketing initiatives as you     would the rest of your campaigns.
  2. Create content with the LGBTQ+ community in mind.
  3. Recognize that the LGBTQ+ community is more than one audience or persona.
  4. Connect it to your company values.
  5. Don’t  limit your activities and support to Pride month.

conclusion

Pride Month shows marketers and business owners alike how important inclusivity is in today’s world. Along with empowering consumers and building connections with them, inclusive marketing also ensures that all voices are heard and addressed to a wider audience. Just make sure to include the right messages in your branding that help drive the movement forward without setbacks or negative backlash. Through inclusiveness, your company can pave the path to a brighter tomorrow!

Rishabh Gulla

Rishabh Gulla is the talented digital marketer, starting at very young age with exploring the possibilities of digital world, Rishabh is currently persuading graduation in IT from Amity University.