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By: Hadas Streit and Matthew Della Croce
Authentic support for equality needs to happen every day — all year long. With Pride month in full swing, it isn’t surprising to see companies raising their Pride flags and displaying rainbow-embellished products. Step into a Starbucks, and you’ll see an assortment of colorful mugs. In the back of a Target, you’ll find T-shirts, hats and flags that simply state, “Equality.”
But what does it mean to a consumer to only see these displays of equal opportunity and respect one month a year? It’s time for brands and companies to pull their Pride marketing tactics out of the closet and show authentic support all year long. The end result will include fierce loyalty, brand activism and further promotion for a company.
Here’s why it makes sense.
A Gallup poll released in February 2021 found 5.6% of U.S. adults identified as LGBT — a number that rose by more than 4 percentage points since Gallup’s last poll in 2017. The same poll found 15% of Gen Zers identified as LGBTQ.
The numbers don’t stop there. A Forbes 2018 article found the LGBTQ+ community has an estimated buying power of $1 trillion in the U.S. alone. Another study by LGBT Capital found the global buying power from the LGBTQ+ population stood at a whopping $3.7 trillion.
The growing LGBTQ+ population (and their wallets) is reflective of the massive cultural shift underway — where the public is embracing and encouraging inclusivity, diversity and acceptance. This is having an impact on companies internally and how they treat diverse groups. Many companies have implemented programs and benefits bolstering all backgrounds, but consumers need to see these efforts publicly too.
While many marketers see an opportunity related to buying power of the LGBTQ+ community, the strategy one takes should be a business imperative priority that takes place throughout the year rather than a marketing tactical execution tied solely to a month or holiday.
To start, companies and their marketing teams should take the time to thoroughly understand the population they target. What does the LGBTQ+ population care about? How does your company or brand reflect the values of the LGBTQ+ population? How different are LGBTQ+ communities across the country?
Secondly, take a hard and honest look internally to ensure products and campaigns reflect company culture. Over the last year, we’ve seen plenty of Instagram posts, statements or tweets where a company or executive announces support for a particular group. But what does that mean? Does the company internally support these groups? What exactly is the company doing? Before you send out an InstaStory, make sure you live those values internally.
Finally, companies need to ensure they are consistent with their messaging all year long. If you support LGBTQ+ groups and the freedom of being — then raise that Pride flag 365 days a year.
An award-winning PR executive with more than 25 years of experience, Matthew leads worldwide client services. He has extensive global experience helping businesses and organizations across industries grow and evolve.