Every year on June 1st, like clockwork, countless brands—both B2B and B2C—morph their social media avatars to reflect the colors of the Pride flag. And while this has been a great way for brands to show solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community and promote inclusion, a large segment of audiences now see it as corporations just jumping on a trend because when July 1st hits, the avatars revert back and the campaigns are over.
It’s easy to make brand channels Pride-themed for a month—and audiences know that. Social platforms like Facebook have even introduced customizable Pride backgrounds and stickers. Recognizing the month with a social post celebrating the holiday and changing your avatars might come off as inauthentic—which can be problematic given that 90% of consumers believe authenticity is important. Customers want brands to dig deeper and authentically contribute to key causes.
This doesn’t start and end with Pride Month
This goes deeper than Pride itself. The same sentiment goes for other social awareness days and months like Hispanic Heritage Month, Indigenous People’s Day, and Women’s History Month to name a few. If you want to show your audience that you truly want to make a difference in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion, your team must treat these causes as more than one-off social campaigns. The question you might be asking now is: “what is ‘enough’ and how can my brand use its platform to raise social awareness, show solidarity, and possibly even make a difference without coming off as inauthentic?” While it all depends on your particular goals, here are some ways to start.
Making a difference, being an ally, and striving to use your brand for goodwill take some effort but is worth it in the end. You’ll want to focus on ways these campaigns align with company culture and the actions you’re taking. So let’s talk about what a campaign for Pride Month might look like. Think deeper than just posting a holiday graphic.
First, answer the following questions: how can you advocate for causes surrounding the occasion, how can we educate your audience on the subject, and how can you demonstrate what you’re doing internally? Answer these questions and you’ll find yourself out to a good start.
Take the time to do some research and find a charity you can bring awareness to—or maybe even donate to. Perhaps one that’s in your industry—or one that’s based near your HQ.
Next, search the web for educational resources and share that knowledge with your audience. But don’t stop there; showcase what you’re doing internally. Host a panel, share what you’re doing to improve D&I, have LGBTQI+ reps from your organization share their workplace experiences. At the end of the day, these steps can help be a stronger ally and share a stronger story.
Beyond the month
Recognizing the themes that are derived from Pride Month, Black History Month, and other holidays that champion diversity and inclusion should not stop when the holiday ends. As Rich Ferraro, chief communications officer at GLAAD says, “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.”
Knowing that there are plenty of other significant dates throughout the year that should be recognized if you don’t want to look like you’re just riding the wave. Regarding Pride, there’s National Coming Out Day, Trans Awareness Month, and Pronouns Day. Taking the time to add these dates on your calendar will not go unnoticed, and it’s unlikely your brand will be accused of using these days as some sort of a marketing stunt.
At the end of the day, the biggest key is to be genuine. Customers are watching and nobody wants to be accused of “wokewashing,” jumping into social issues with marketing stunts rather than acts of genuine activism.
Do you feel like you have a good grip on how to make a concerted effort on meaningful social causes? If you need more guidance, we’re here to help. Reach out today.