It's that time of year again, every June, people around the world come together to celebrate Pride month -- the freedom to love. A celebration that is now slowly getting celebrated all over the world by people of all ages. Brands and businesses are also celebrating to show their support to this community with Pride month related marketing campaigns.
This now poses the question of how does one lead a successful Pride month marketing campaign then? For those that are new to this, or those that have experience in leading such campaigns, here are 6 tips to nail a Pride month marketing campaign. Let’s get started!
What’s a better way to show support for this community than to partner up with LGBTQ+ non-profit organisations and influencers who are doing great to spread LGBTQ+ rights and awareness.
So if you’re planning on creating or selling something for Pride month, allocate a percentage (that is meaningful to you and the community) of profits as a donation to these non-profit organisations.
An example for this is underwear brand MeUndies, where in honour of Pride month, they debuted their first ever limited edition Pride month underwear collection back in 2017. Now in 2021, they once again have rolled out their 4th edition of Pride month underwear. This time, they have partnered with LA LGBT Center to give back to the LGBTQIA+ homeless youth through a whopping $75k donation.
Working with influencers can also be a great way to increase reach and spread greater awareness.
For instance, Brooks Running teamed up with influencer Dave Coast to support their LGBTQ+ fans and followers. The Instagram post below shows Dave rocking a pair of running shoes by Brooks Running.
Another way to nail a Pride month influencer marketing campaign is to be genuine and authentic. One way to do that is to lead one that aligns with who you are as a brand.
For instance, designing and producing rainbow T-Shirts to show support for Pride month when you are not an apparel brand may come off as being inauthentic to some which does that bode well for your brand.
YouTube’s 2017 #ProudToBe Campaign is a great example of leading a Pride month marketing campaign that aligns with their brand and line of business. YouTube did what they do best -- creating videos by making a video titled “#ProudToBe: Celebrate Brave Voices this Pride” showcasing queer creators such as Patrick Starrr and Tyler Oakley.
In honour of Pride month in 2016, Netflix also carefully curated a “Pride Guide” of top streaming LGBTQ+ movies and films available for watching during Pride.
By featuring your brand’s very own staff to be part of your Pride marketing campaign will make your brand seem more genuine as consumers are hearing from someone who is already a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Additionally, having someone who truly understands the LGBTQ+ community will serve as a huge asset to your brand’s decision making process.
Another similar way to go about this is to ask people of the LGBTQ+ community to speak up and share their stories on your brand’s platform. This way, they are better able to make use of your brand’s greater reach to spread awareness on this cause.
This can be seen in apparel brand H&M’s “Beyond the Rainbow” campaign recently launched on June 1 2021.
Aimed at inspiring individuals to tell their own individual stories and thus encouraging others to do the same, their campaign so far has featured influencers like Chella Man and Sus Wilkins.
Apart from nailing a Pride month marketing campaign, going beyond just that of a marketing campaign is something that will make it stand out from the rest even more.
Absolut Vodka led a Pride marketing campaign “72 Kisses” in 2017 symbolising 72 countries where same sex marriage is still illegal. The video showcased people from these 72 countries kissing, thereby encouraging and pushing for change within these countries.
Additionally, this was in collaboration with Stonewall - Britain’s largest LGBT charity, which further emphasizes on point 1 and the amount of impact brands can exert over communities.
Language around gender, gender identity and how one perceives their sexual orientation to be is evolving in an exciting way. When leading a Pride marketing campaign, it is always crucial to be cautious in choosing the right language and tone. Avoid using gendered language like “Hey guys” no matter how common the phrase is being used.
What would be best is to have any of your LGBTQ+ staff proofread the copy before making any big decisions. Either that, or have DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) consultants on hand to ensure that your message is received as intended.
With every company showing their support for social causes and advocating for various rights, comes the question as to whether they are doing it just “for show” or are they actually genuine about the cause. For that of environmental causes comes the issue of greenwashing, whereas for LGBTQ+ rights, comes rainbow washing.
Like greenwashing, rainbow washing is the process of conveying a false impression that one is supportive of the cause to spread awareness and take a stand with the LGBTQ+ movement. The LGBTQ+ community has a combined purchasing power of USD$3.7 trillion as of 2019 which may be the reason for some brands to seize this as an opportunity to take advantage of this social cause and make a quick buck.
Viral tweet during Pride 2017 about rainbow washing
Another tweet about rainbow washing during Pride 2020
Brands should avoid falling into this trap of rainbow washing as consumers are quick to realise brands’ true intentions despite their best efforts to “cover up”. Despite the short term gains that may be brought for the brand, the overall damage that can be inflicted onto a brand is far worse.
Be sure to check out our other blog posts on leading successful marketing campaigns here! And also keep an eye out for our next blog on Rainbow Washing!
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