Pride Month and Rainbow Washing… What about it?
We’ve all heard about greenwashing, well how about rainbow washing? More often than not, every year when June comes around, many brands and businesses find themselves holding a pride month marketing campaign and unseemingly falling into the trap of rainbow washing.
Check out our previous blog post on Tips to Nail a Pride Month Marketing Campaign!
What is Rainbow Washing?
Before we get started, let us dive deeper into the meaning behind Rainbow Washing. Simply put, rainbow washing is the act of using/adding rainbow colours or imagery to the advertising, apparel, branding, landmarks etcetera to “show support” to the LGBTQ+ community. The support is short-lived with the true underlying intention of profiting off this ‘trend’ and making a quick buck.
Why should brands avoid Rainbow Washing?
Rainbow washing gives rise to short term benefits and long term harm to a brand’s reputation. The overall harm and resulting loss in sales may be far more detrimental to the company than the gains reaped from its 1 month Pride campaign stint. Avoiding rainbow washing altogether and being genuine for the cause will no doubt attract consumers and influencer collaborations.
4 Tips to Avoid Rainbow Washing
1. Have pride related launches/campaigns outside of pride month
A straightforward way to ensure you aren’t falling into the trap of rainbow washing is to have Pride related marketing campaigns outside of June. There are plenty of other dates and events that celebrate and show support to this community. Leading a Pride related marketing campaign on these dates is a great way to champion that your brand is supportive of the cause regardless of whether it is Pride month or not.
For instance, the home furnishing brand Ikea, from the Ingka Group launched its campaign #BeSomeonesHome in celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17, 2020.
Such genuine initiatives also have a way of touching the hearts of many who are serious about the cause, attracting influencers to the brand, such as influencer Konig Anna.
2. Having LGBTQ+ identifying individuals/consultants on hand
Having LGBTQ+ identifying individuals/consultants or even DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) consultants can be useful when trying to craft out messages for your campaign. Similar to the point mentioned in the previous blog post on Pride month campaigns on “choosing the right language”, sometimes it is best to have such resources in order to get the right message across. It is easy for brands to unintentionally send out an insensitive message to a community they are unfamiliar with.
For your easy reference, we have compiled a list of some guides brands can take reference to!
3. Support non-profit organisations in the local scene
Supporting non-profit LGBTQ+ organisations is one thing, but to make a more immediate impact, brands should go local with grassroot initiatives.
Gudsht, the homegrown bottled cocktail brand in Singapore launched two limited edition flavours in celebration of Pride month and Transgender awareness.
They partnered up with a local peer support group for Transgender youths in Singapore, TransBefrienders, in which 10% of sales of these cocktails would go towards this organisation.
These grassroot initiatives often catch the eye of local influencers as well, making it an apt opportunity to collaborate with.
As seen above, Nathan Hartono can be seen supporting Gudsht’s 2020 Pride month release drinks.
4. Be an outstanding LGBTQ+ employer
Apart from showing support externally, this support should also come from within the organisation. Ensuring that there are policies and regulations in place for your LGBTQ+ employees shows that you care about their welfare too rather than how consumers view the brand on the surface.
Johnson & Johnson is a brand known for its tremendous support to its LGBTQ+ employees. With their extremely inclusive anf flexible health benefits, they offer fertility treatments, adoption and surrogacy for same sex couples looking to start a family. Additionally, they also provide accessible care for employees going through a gender transition.
For more examples of brands being an outstanding LGBTQ+ employer, you can refer to this list here.
Brands can consider an internal audit and anonymous employee review of the current policies and regulations in place in the company.
Avoiding rainbow washing is one factor to help ensure your Pride marketing campaign will be a successful one. However, choosing the right influencers and tracking your progress is another. Here at Affable, we have just all the tools you need to run a successful influencer marketing campaign! Sign up for a FREE demo on us today!