Take A Longer Ride With Pride


Table Of Contents


Putting The PR In Pride 

Pride month is upon us once again! To many folks, this means seeing a lot more rainbows when you go shopping and the possibility of a big, loud parade rolling into town. However for many members of the LGBTQ+ community, it means something much bigger - the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. This historic event is a sober one, involving violent attacks, police brutality, and social unrest.

It is because of the very serious nature behind the reason we have Pride that many people are less than impressed with the ways that brands commonly engage with Pride now. Though to be clear, this doesn't mean your brand shouldn't engage participate in Pride but perhaps alter your approach.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses ways in which brands can celebrate pride in a more meaningful way to build trust with LGBTQ+ audiences.

Longer Ride With Pride How Brands Can Make Their Pride Meaningful

Participate Without Patronizing Pride

Maybe you've seen the memes circulate in your timeline by now because it happens annually by the end of May. Like clockwork, brands announce their Pride initiatives and every year they are met with growing annoyance and eye rolls. I can personally attest to seeing this in my own timeline. To put it simply, many LGBTQ+ people - particularly of the millennial and gen z generations - are tired of seeing the ways that Pride month has become a retail holiday. Community Pride Meme- Brand Authenticity

When people see a rainbow flag in a store with a t-shirt that has the words "love is love" on it, they don't feel supported, but rather that a piece of their identity has been used to market at them. Ten years ago, showing your support to the community was a little bit more of a bold move because it was still controversial to support LGBTQ+ rights at all. While we still have a lot of work to do, the needle has moved a little and that means that in order to engage with Pride in a meaningful way, brands need to work a little harder. How do you overcome this problem that many brands face? Let's dive in and discuss it!

Think Outside The (Rain)Bow

The first piece of action - avoid the impulse to have rainbow branded products. There are a few reasons why we advise this and the first one is simple: it's old hat. So many brands have rainbow branded pride gear that it has lost the meaning it used to carry. This isn't necessarily a hard rule but it's one to keep in mind. Creative marketing is always about avoiding what everyone else is doing because it makes it harder for your brand to stand out. When you invest in any initiative, you want it to be memorable.

The second reason to avoid the classic, rainbow flag is a lack of inclusivity. It's traditionally known as the gay pride flag and for a reason - it has a long history of symbolizing the progress and that is a beautiful thing. Though because it has historically been a symbol for gay rights which inadvertently has been specific to gay men, that leaves many members of the community feeling excluded. To name just a few: lesbian, bisexual, transgender, asexual, nonbinary, pansexual and then there's the issue of erasure of BIPOC within the community as well. As a result, all of the above groups now have their own flags, since they feel the classic rainbow has never really represented them or their experience. Considering that the community has so many flags, you can find ways to incorporate many/all of them into a really robust campaign or you might find it easiest to not use one at all to prevent others from feeling ignored - a very common issue with so many Pride initiatives.

If after reading all the above, you still really want to produce a pride line with a rainbow incorporated into the branding, I understand - rainbows are cool! There are other ways you can make your alignment more authentic to coincide with whatever choice your brand makes in your pride initiative. Check out this new updated flag that's more inclusive of different members of the LGBTQ+ community! It's a great way to make all members feel welcome.

New Pride Flag LGBTQ+

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Raising The Volume Of Queer Voices

You might be wondering what an authentic pride partnership looks like, since I just listed the many ways that traditional and conventional partnerships feel inauthentic. You'll be relieved to know there are actually a lot of ways that you can get involved without breaking the bank. In fact you can even do it FOR FREE.

Amplify Queer Voices LGBTQ+

To build trust with LGBTQ+ audiences, consider the ways you can use your social media platform to help elevate the voices of queer activists. For instance, you can offer to let a queer influencer do a takeover of your account to use that time to educate on current issues within the queer community, as well as the history of LGBTQ+ progress, how we've arrived at this point, and the ways in which people can do more to support their local community.

An approach like this can be a real win-win because it aligns your brand with queer causes in a way that focuses on empowering the community while also giving a platform to an influencer or activist who may not normally be able to present their ideas to this audience. 

Taking this approach doesn't mean you can't have a product line or merchandise with Pride branding, but it can be a great addition to your focus. You can even try focusing on having one year where your initiative is entirely socially driven and then having a product/merchandise line the following year. 

Commit To A Long Term Relationship With Pride

The last point that I cannot stress enough is thinking about ways that you can partner with LGBTQ+ causes beyond just the month of Pride. You might be thinking "But what if I don't want this to be THAT big a part of my brand?" or maybe you don't want to invest that deeply into any marketing initiative. Both of these are understandable points to which I would respond that ultimately, brands are facing increasingly more reluctance and apprehension because of how short term a month-long partnership is in its impact.

Consumers are becoming increasingly more apprehensive due to the fact that they know so many brands only do these partnerships as a PR initiative. As stated above, you don't even have to make your partnerships costly. If the goal is to build trust with LGBTQ+ consumers, brands are encouraged to invest in a way that feels authentic and meaningful. Ultimately this will build a stronger devotion in your consumer base and that will always lead to higher profits and more endorsements for your brand and all the work you do!

We Can Lend A Hand

If you're not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this can be a lot to learn and be conscious of and I completely get it. We're all still very much in the learning curve as we see a shift toward progress in the way the community has gained a seat at the table. It's important to note that you shouldn't feel overwhelmed by all the factors to account for, but rather find an agency or consultant that can help you be mindful of these issues when aligning with Pride in your branding.

Want to learn more about implementing social causes into marketing initiatives? Check out these other blog posts we've written on case studies of brands that took a chance and resonated more strongly with their key demographics as a result. 

Want to know what music will be most effective to use in your branding? The answer will always vary based on who you're trying to reach. Check out this video we've made on marketing with music!

The Music For Marketing Your Brand By Generation