This post was originally published on The Voice of AAF DC on May 31, 2019.
Tomorrow, we welcome another Pride Month. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer+ (LGBTQ+) communites come together every June to celebrate the right to be themselves and love freely. Pride events are held nationwide; for some, it is the only occasion where they can be out in their community.
While Pride Month has long been associated with rainbow flags, parades, and celebrations of diversity, it has also become famous as the month where companies push their LGBTQ+ marketing campaigns.
Many advertisers see Pride season as a prime opportunity to take their message directly to LGBTQ+ consumers. Media is awash with brands slapping rainbows on fry boxes, t-shirts, logos, and tv commercials, but how many companies really support the message of diversity year-round?
Money is Power
Helping corporations better understand and reach the LGBTQ+ community is part of a larger purpose for Community Marketing & Insights (CMI), the world’s leading and most-respected LGBTQ+ research firm. For 25 years, CMI has produced consumer market research for leading brands, companies, organizations, universities, and government institutions seeking to understand, reach, and serve the increasingly diverse LGBTQ+ community authentically and effectively.
As LGBTQ+ acceptance increased, more companies were incentivized to target these consumers, who have an estimated buying power nearing $1 trillion. When companies neglect the LGBTQ+ community, they miss out on opportunities to reach a valuable market segment and undoubtedly leave money on the table.
But this audience doesn’t only exist in the month of June.
365 Days of Pride
LGBTQ+ consumers are eager to spend their hard-earned dollars with companies that not only recognize them but align with their values. Corporations cannot assume that the LGBTQ+ community will notice their support based on a month-long bombardment of staged inclusivity.
Completely aside from advertising dollars, brands need to embed LGBTQ+-specific practices into their global operations, which affect millions of people. In short, to get the LGBQT+ community to invest in your brand, you need to invest in the LGBTQ+ community and let them know about the effort.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBTQ+ Americans, provides a list of best practices for marketing and advertising that can help brands get the ball rolling. The list includes suggestions to stay consistent despite conservative backlash and to avoid stereotyping.
HRC also works to improve the lives of the LGBTQ+ community by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace. The Corporate Equality Index report provides an in-depth analysis and rating of large U.S. employers and their policies and practices pertinent to LGBTQ+ employees. Businesses rated 100 percent are recognized as “Best Places to Work.”
That’s how to prove that your brand is a true ally — support an inclusive culture and advocate for corporate social responsibility, even beyond Pride Month.