If you’re not one of the companies already doing it, you may have noticed company logos turning rainbow-colored during the month of June.
That’s because it’s Pride Month; a month-long awareness campaign and celebration of LGBTQ rights.
But is it right for corporate organizations to get involved? And how can they do so tastefully?
The problem with corporate backing of Pride Month
Many people would agree it’s great to see huge brands and companies getting behind initiatives that support inclusivity and champion, minority groups. But there’s a flip side to this: is it genuine?
If a company really cares about LGBTQ rights, why is Pride Month the only time they talk about it? And what of their other activities?
Sportswear giant Adidas came under fierce criticism in 2018. The company rolled out a range of rainbow-coloured products to much fanfare, but in the same month was one of the major tournament sponsors of the FIFA World Cup in Russia - a country with a troubling record on gay rights. If LGBTQ rights are and were so precious to Adidas, would they not have boycotted the tournament or taken a firmer stand against the host country’s views?
Cynics might therefore argue that businesses are simply piggybacking on a trend for the sake of online clout or brand awareness.
But by not doing anything to acknowledge Pride, are brands at risk of coming across as uninterested or unsympathetic?
Ways to make your Pride Month activity genuine
There’s a fine line between coming across well and causing offence - particularly on topics so sensitive. So, here are some ways to honour Pride Month in a sincere and genuine manner.
Embrace it within the business
It’s one thing to project an image of being a company that values equal rights for the LGBTQ community, but another to live by those standards.
As part of the Pride Month efforts, take the opportunity to spread awareness internally as well as externally. You could encourage and empower staff members to undertake charitable work, or perhaps share information via memos and staff newsletters as to the history of the movement and how employees can get involved.
Make it last
If you’re serious about LGBTQ rights, then show it all year round. Don’t just change your logo to a multicoloured background for a month as an easy marketing ploy. Take the learnings into your business and build them into the culture moving forward.
And if you want to celebrate LGBTQ causes, shout about them year round, not just when it’s a trend.
Make a charitable donation
Put your money where your mouth is. It’s one thing to throw your voice behind a good cause, but another to make an impactful difference to those who you’re representing.
Companies have earned great extra exposure- and support - from giving back during Pride Month.
To be charitable, give to a relevant organization or good cause that helps to provide resources, support or help to the gay or LGBTQ community. Or perhaps you could donate a certain percentage of profits or sales for the month, for example.
Getting it right
Some brands don’t recover from tone-deaf marketing campaigns and errors of judgment. Don’t be one of those that fall foul of the public; if you want to honour Pride Month, make sure you do it sincerely and in a way that benefits the LGBTQ community as much as (if not more than) it does your own brand.