Pride Month is an opportunity for businesses and organizations across the country to show off their true colors. Every June, we start to see a relentless wave of rainbows, from Pride-themed clothing and food to ad campaigns and everything in between. While it’s a step in the right direction for these corporations to start outwardly embracing diversity and inclusivity, it needs to go deeper than just a rainbow logo.
Consumers are paying more attention than ever to the brands they buy from, making sure these businesses are prioritizing equality, inclusion, and diversity all year long, and not just profiting off of the LGBTQ+ community to appear more diverse and progressive than they actually are. True LGBTQ+ allyship extends to all aspects of business.
|“Corporate accountability does not begin and end with employee benefits and hiring practices – it extends to how a corporation spends its dollars, philanthropic and political. It extends to how a corporation takes public stands and lobbies against anti-LGBTQ legislation, and how it supports and lobbies for pro-LGBTQ legislation, because this legislation impacts LGBTQ employees and consumers” – GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis
We’ve already seen how several businesses have come under fire for touting equality when they have a deep, rooted history of donating and supporting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. *Cough cough* AT&T, General Motors – just to name a couple. However, for progressive brands that are interested in respectfully and authentically showing support for the LGBTQ+ community, there’s incredible, untapped potential when you go beyond just Pride Month. Let’s break it down!
The LGBTQ+ community has incredible spending power
Did you know that the LGBTQ+ community has a spending power of over a trillion dollars (and growing)? Not only that, but even after a crippling pandemic, 32% say they’re better off financially compared to the year prior. This community holds incredible spending power and they’re looking for supportive vendors like you.
Queer consumers are more likely than members of other groups to seek out brands and companies that actively show support and representation for their community. In fact, in a recent survey by Community Marketing & Insights (CMI), 71% said they are more likely to purchase from a company that advertises to the LGBTQ+ community.
What else is the LGBTQ+ community spending their finances on?
- 82% regularly pay for streaming subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu
- 73% purchase alcoholic beverages on a regular basis
- 53% subscribed to paid music and radio platforms
- 50% plan to buy plane tickets for their upcoming vacation
- 38% consume cannabis for recreational or medical reasons
- 31% said they plan to purchase $500+ of new clothing
- 29% are in the market for $500+ of home furniture
- 27% are searching for $500+ of electronics for home or personal use
Now that you have some insight into what this community is investing in, how will you target this group to benefit not only your business and employees but also your brand at large?
Your brand can benefit
As the general support for LGBTQ+ rights continues to grow, so does the corporate incentive for brands and companies to position themselves as allies. We’ve already seen how consistent, successful messaging can boost an organization’s brand visibility and trust within the community – Apple, Subaru, Disney / ABC, and Target are a few of the companies and brands that have gone above and beyond to show genuine, authentic support of the LGBTQ+ community through their outreach and pro-LGBTQ policies and practices.
In fact, 76% think more positively about companies that sponsor LGBTQ+ community organizations and events, not to mention the 69% who immediately think more positively about companies that advertise in LGBTQ+ media outlets.
Unfortunately, some brands miss the mark entirely. Oftentimes inadvertently, these companies can exclude, misrepresent or stereotype LGBTQ+ people in an effort to reach that audience. That’s why it’s crucial to reach this fiercely loyal, and high discretionary income market, with the confidence of having a certified partner by your side.
You could be the catalyst for change
Companies and brands alike hold a position of power in our society. With endless resources and millions of consumers, it’s more important than ever for these corporations to use their position to create lasting change for the LGBTQ+ community.
But how can these companies support the LGBTQ+ community for the long-term? In the CMI survey, 87% say brands need to openly support LGBTQ+ equality legislation, while 82% believe this support needs to trickle down into the company’s own internal processes to make sure they themselves have a diverse, inclusive team.
Advocating and displaying authentic engagement toward this community can go a long way, and there are plenty of ways to get in on the ground floor of the LGBTQ+ movement. A few opportunities that are available all year round include: Making regular donations to LGBTQ+ organizations, advocating for LGBTQ+ causes, supporting employees and customers who are part of this community, sponsoring pro-LGBTQ+ events and partnering with other like-minded businesses and brands.
GLAAD’s Recommendations for Corporate Allies includes best practices for brands’ work during and outside of June, LGBTQ+ Pride Month. These recommendations include:
- Don’t market to the moment, join the movement
- Feature more LGBTQ+ talent and community members
- Extend support to the political fight
- Use your company resources and audience to speak out against local and national anti-LGBTQ+ legislation
- Plan LGBTQ-inclusive campaigns and support for the community year-round
|“If a brand doesn’t have a 365-day-a-year plan for LGBTQ inclusion, they really need to prioritize that over prioritizing a one-off Pride campaign” – GLAAD Chief Communications Officer Rich Ferraro
Inclusive marketing could open brands and corporations up to nearly $1 trillion in purchasing power. For those who are up for the challenge, there can be incredible benefits. When your company values and mission align with the LGBTQ+ community, it’s just good business.