As you may know, we’re currently in Pride Month – Pride is a time to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community and promote equal rights, inclusivity and self-love!
For most large companies, the standard support for Pride we usually see is the ‘rainbow version’ logo change; a lot of brands are under scrutiny and have been called out for this, as their efforts aren’t seen as focusing on just supporting the community, it’s ‘hollow’ marketing or ‘pink-washing’.
When trying to identify and understand the audience you’re marketing to, think about the problems and obstacles they’re facing. When marketing regarding Pride Month, then it goes without saying that your target audience is the LGBTQ+ community, but don’t forget there are allies too that attend parades, host events, write articles etc. Think about the type of people they would be and factor this in to your persona mapping stage of audience identification.
To avoid your organisation falling under the pink-washing category, we’ve listed 5 ways you can authentically integrate Pride Month into your content strategy below.
1. Use of Pronouns in Content
Avoid misgendering your audience! Although it wasn’t very common until a few years ago, displaying your gender pronouns online has now become increasingly popular with many people. The Trevor Project, a leading charity, conducted a research survey and found that 25% of young people use gender neutral pronouns such as they/them, both exclusively and in combination with other pronouns and two thirds are using pronouns outside the binary, with a combination of he/him, she/her and they/them.
If you have personal business social media accounts such as Twitter, there are options to add your pronouns to your profile, but also think about using a gender neutral terms when addressing your audience online and with email marketing, that way you won’t make the mistake of labelling someone incorrectly. Although it may seem obvious to you what your own gender is, people in the LGBTQ+ community struggle with misgendering on a daily basis, especially those who are transgender, so this is a great way to show you stand with the Pride movement. If you do this, think about acknowledging this to your audience through written/video posts to show your this change in a stand with Pride Month. (Consider adding your pronouns to your email signatures too!)
2. Partner with LGBTQ+ Charities/Non-profits
Partnering with charities or non-profit organisations is a great way to support the community, whilst also advertising your business – for example, Stonewall.
Stonewall give you the opportunity to collaborate with them on initiatives and develop cause-related marketing campaigns linked to your product/service and in return will help you attract, engage and retain employees, increase brand awareness and customer loyalty and drive your sales through brand association with the UK’s leading LGBT charity.
This is a great opportunity to expand your target audience using dual branded content that can be used on social media, email, direct mails, and more.
3. Using New Channels - Podcasts
A lot of companies tend to stick to standard written/video content, so if you haven’t tried using audio content before this would be a great way to begin! Bring in LGBTQ+ speakers who are educated on the subject to kickstart your podcast by discussing their experience and the prejudice they have faced. To get your employees involved in the conversation too, think of a topic where they can ask questions such as discrimination in the workplace – has the guest speaker personally faced this when applying for jobs or being employed or do they know of people that have? What do they think companies could do better to be more inclusive? How do they really feel about companies using Pride Month to promote?
A content audit is the best way to help you determine what resonates the best with your current audience, identify gaps in your content topics, and help your team to think of fresh ideas; if your podcast gets good engagement, you’ve found a new platform to market your brand!
Here's a great podcast example from The ACAS Podcast: https://shows.acast.com/acaspodcast/episodes/lgbti-pride-and-support-at-work
4. Remembrance for LGBTQ+ Pioneers
The LGBTQ+ community wouldn’t be what it is today without those who lost their lives fighting for the cause. Pay homage to pioneers such as Harvey Milk, Marsha P Johnson and Stormé DeLarverie by sharing their stories and images to remind your audience of the courage it took for them to overcome inequality.
This is a quick but impactful way for your organisation to show support and is easy to fit into your content calendar. You could even post ‘Pioneer of the Week’ style social posts and add hashtags such as #pride, #lgbtqpioneers #prideheroes to target the community.
5. Meet the LGBTQ+ Team
Do you have employees who are openly part of the community? This could be the perfect time to feature them to your audience! Not only is this a great way to show prospective customers who will be behind the scenes when purchasing your product/service, but it showcases the diversity within your organisation and makes an excellent impression on your brand values.
Whether the content is about their positive experience at your company as a member of the LGBTQ+ community or if they just want to educate your audience by getting the opportunity to talk about ways to progress equality; this gives customers the chance to hear from a member of your team at an inclusive company that values diversity.
This is content that would be suitable on all platforms! If your target audience was Gen-Z for example, TikTok could be the answer with fun and quick clips and an upbeat soundtrack, showcasing your company with a ‘Day in the Life’ feature. If your target audience was corporate professionals at senior levels, LinkedIn would be suitable - linking a blog or even a podcast session with deep conversations on how to strengthen LGBTQ+ employees’ voices in the workplace.
According to CareerArc, 96% of companies believe employer brand and reputation can positively or negatively impact revenue. Consider taking new measures to ensure inclusion for LGBTQ+ is a year-round priority for your organisation, rather than a one-off campaign, as the ultimate goal should go beyond just selling a product or service.