by Stephen Macias
SVP, National Diversity and Inclusion Practice Lead
This June, Pride Month brought friends, families, businesses and consumers alike together in the spirit of unity. But what happens the other 11 months of the year once Pride Month is over?
We know that Pride “season” is most widely recognized in June. We also know that our community and allies exist 24/7, 365 days a year; loud and proud every month, every week and every day.
This year, and every year, it’s important to stay connected, particularly for marketers looking to reach these audiences. Here are three ways for brands to stay connected.
- Cultural observances and moments are universal. Think about how your marketing and PR strategies can resonate with LGBTQ consumers by including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender content and images in those materials. We travel to destinations for New Year’s Eve celebrations, celebrate love on Valentine’s Day and are often monitoring our brackets during March Madness. Add a gay couple into your travel ad, add a lesbian couple sharing a box of Valentine’s chocolates, add a transgender man rooting on his team when promoting college sports. Add us, and not just in June, as this community is amongst some of the most loyal consumers out there.
- There are also other proud, milestone events during the calendar year. Every October one of our most respected LGBTQ organizations, GLAAD, encourages the community and allies to wear purple in celebration of Spirit Day. Spirit Day began in 2010 as a way to show support for LGBTQ youth and take a stand against bullying. Every December 1, World AIDS Day marks the toll that the virus has taken on both straight and gay people across the country and the world. Work with your employee resource groups to understand where there are authentic opportunities to connect. Work with organizations like GLAAD to understand the importance and meaning of Spirit Day. Ask your agency partners to bring ideas forward on how to connect with the community outside of June and how to celebrate lives lost on World AIDS Day. You’ll quickly understand the level of expertise your partners bring to the table.
- Make sure that the efforts made in June for Pride Month find their way into every aspect of a company and its values. Images of team members celebrating at Pride should find their way onto company websites, newsletters and collateral. Images of diverse staffers and consumers can be shared with other employee resource groups. The LGBTQ community is one of the very few segments that intersects gender, generation and communities of color. Highlighting Pride year-round build year-round dividends toward a strong, valued and inclusive corporate culture. We know, from study after study, that the new generation entering the workforce wants to bring their talent to diverse, inclusive companies.
I love Pride season for many reasons, but, most importantly, because Pride began and continues as a way to fight for our civil rights. It’s built on the backs of those brave enough to fight for social justice, and consumers, who make choices based on a brand’s corporate values, know that too.
So, stay connected, think creatively and let the best of your company’s values make you proud all year long. Happy Pride and keep those rainbow flags out – in one way or another – every day.