Authentic Pride Marketing 101

Person Holding Multicolored Heart Decor

How to not be a clique

June is right around the corner. Can you believe it? We are pretty much half way through 2019. If you are anything like me, you need a break from 2019. Luckily, June is also Pride month, as a gay man, the “Birthday Month” rule applies; calling for celebration everyday. It’s no seceret the the LGBT community knows how to party, and if you have ever been to even the most tame of Pride events, you know it’s always a good time.

Pride Month isn’t all about the partying, same as the gay life. It is also a time for brands to show their support of the LGBT community. In a time where civil rights are under attack, brands now more than ever need to show their support of all communities. Besides all the cute cheeky reasons to create a pride campaign, it makes terrific marketing sense. Being a member of the LGBT community transcends race, socio-economic status, gender, age, and just about any other metric. In fact adult members of the LBGT community have $916 Billion dollars in buying power even though only 6% of the populaton self identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender. (Huffington Post: Witeck Communucations 2015 Study)

Capturing this market is germane to having a successful business. The LGBT community is comprised of thought leaders in a variety of sectors. In addition to being thought leaders, members of the LGBT community tend to be influencers as well; from fashion to culture, the design members of the LGBT community know what is hip and stylish before anyone else.

When brands market towards the LGBT community, they in turn also pick up support from non-lgbt people. According to a 2014 Google customer survey, over 45% of all consumers under the age of 34 say they’re more likely to do repeat business with an LGBT-friendly company. A majority of these consumers (more than 54%) also say they would choose an equality-focused brand over a competitor.

Clearly, you need to market to the LGBT community, and Pride month is a great time! But it’s not the only time, and just putting a rainbow around your logo, isn’t going to cut it. Instead try to focus on the following:

Selective Focus Photography of Waving Pride Flag

Being Authentic

Like I said, simply slapping a rainbow logo on your social media isn’t enough. In fact, if you are only going to update your social media profile with a pride logo, don’t. Not only does this water down your brand, it also reads as being inauthentic. Additionally, it’s important to still stay on brand. You shouldn’t take the rainbow and just paint it everywhere, you have to find ways to infuse LGBT symbolism in every part of the marketing program.

If your brand design features clean lines and a minimalist presentation, so should your pride marketing. There isn’t anything minimal about the rainbow, it’s bright and proud! Instead of splashing the rainbow across your entire logo try to confine it to a neat space. If your brand is big and bold, find a way to go big, but bear in mind that your logo should still look the same.

Finally, you have to make sure that you are on-brand in terms of the services you provide. If you are a small coffee shop producing limited edition designed bags of coffee with the Pride logo will work, that wouldn’t be great for just a general restaurant or just anyone in the hospitality industry. A local corner bar can get away with doing a cheap drink special (you know us “gays” love our booze), but an upscale restaurant needs to bring a little more to the table.

Selective Focus Photography of Scrabble Pride on White and Multicolored Background

Don’t be Basic

Making sure you remain brand authentic in your creative design is paramount for a successful business. However, as the old saying goes, you’ve got to put your money where your mouth is. Brands have to find ways to do more than just update their logo with Pride colors.

One of the best ways to accomplish this is by setting-up some type of charitable donation components to your sales for the month. In fact, this is a dynamic way to show support for a variety of causes. Not only do we feel that business has a requirement to give back to the communities from which they operate; there is still so much impactful work that needs to be supported on so many levels. No matter what your business does, you can find a local non-profit for a giveback. Did you know that in 45% of the country you can still be fired for being gay? So if you are an HR firm/staffing, finding a local non-profit dedicated to fighting for equal employment rights and donating 5% of your monthly commissions from job placements.     

For a small business it may be hard to give away a significant portion of your revenue. But there are other ways to get involved. Maybe you could coordinate a marketing campaign aimed at a specific Human Rights initiative or host a party and donate all the proceeds to a local non-profit. While these do require money, they don’t have to be more than your allocated marketing funds for the month. Plus, the ROI that you are receiving makes it a worthwhile marketing expenditure and it will be way more impactful than running the same facebook ads that get you no-where.

Person With Body Painting

Sometimes it’s okay to “be doing the most”

The best Pride Marketing Campaign extends past June. Businesses who take the extra step of infusing Pride into their everyday operations are really the ones who are going to make the biggest impact, and see the highest ROI. There are a few ways that you can do this

  1. Creating an ERG (Employee Resource Group) to support your employees who are members of the LGBT Community.
  2. Updating your internal company policies to support and affirm your LGBT employees. Yes you have include your general EEOC statement, but updating that to include sexual identity as a protected class.

Truly, no matter what you do, you can’t go wrong with wanting to engage with the LGBT community. Just make sure you stick to the basic rules of: being authentic, not being basic, and going for the most. And for our non corporate readers, that’s basically, how you win at being gay, too.

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