In this shifting cultural landscape, where the political conversation is often driven by diversity, equality and inclusion, and in a time in which the rights of the queer community are under attack, LGBTQIA+ individuals are searching for brands that take the initiative to be demonstrable in and dedicated to their activism. With big budgets and design teams teeming with talent, brands undoubtedly have more influence than ever in contemporary politics.
The LGBTQIA+ community has a wealth of shareable resources and a massive buying power estimated to be $3.7 trillion. What this community wants most from brands is a sincere commitment to its cause. Companies that strive toward equality and inclusivity both internally and externally — are usually rewarded with passionate brand loyalty. Genuine effort and political and social courage make for standout allies. Here’s how the LGBTQIA+ community wants brands to treat them.
Reconsider “rainbow washing”
Rainbow washing occurs when companies use rainbow colors on logos, products, websites and more to signal their support for the queer community. While this effort may have the best of intentions, so many brands have hopped on the bandwagon, that queer individuals are now applying more scrutiny to brands and their show of support, doing their best to find out which brands actually take considerable measures to support the queer community — as opposed to those creating Pride paraphernalia only to turn a profit.
Brands can show their LGBTQIA+ customers that they are authentic by making their less visible efforts known to the public. Perhaps your brand fosters an environment of equality and inclusivity, supports gender-affirming care, or goes above and beyond to offer benefits to same-sex couples. Make these initiatives known to the public, and if your brand participates in initiatives like these or more, you’ve certainly earned the privilege of calling yourself a true ally. And a rainbow logo would be appropriate, but be sure not to overdo it. The key takeaway: if you are going to show support, be sure it goes further than your customer’s dollar.
Engage queer consumers outside of Pride Month
When brands engage with the queer community outside of June, they will be much more likely to impress LGBTQIA+ consumers and get the undivided attention they're seeking. As we strive to go beyond rainbow-colored campaigns during the month of June, marketers should raise their own awareness of all the other times they can make relevant and significant appeals to this group of individuals.
As a community that ardently engages in frequent activism to increase its visibility and endeavor toward full political and social equality, LGBTQIA+ individuals celebrate commemorative days, weeks, and months throughout the year. Rather than creating performative marketing during Pride month that gets lost in saturation, you can make a greater impact during one of the many other celebrations or days of remembrance.
By marketing to the queer community throughout the year, you have opportunities like inspiring LGBTQIA+ consumers with a campaign during history month, surprising them with an advertising feature to raise awareness during Transgender Day of Visibility, and more. Strive to create awareness of the community by standing behind an LGBTQIA+-focused cause during times such as:
Annual LGBTQIA+ Health Awareness Week (last week of March)
International Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31)
Day of Silence (April 17)
Lesbian Visibility Day (April 26)
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (May 17)
Harvey Milk Day (May 22)
International Drag Day (July 16)
Celebrate Bisexuality Day (September 23)
LGBTQIA+ History Month (October)
National Coming Out Day (October 11)
Spirit Day (October 17)
Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20)
World AIDS Day (December 1)
Support diversity, equality and inclusion in the workplace
Queer people want equality, safety and visibility in the workplace.
According to AmericanProgress.org, "studies show that anywhere from 15% to 43% of gay people have experienced some form of discrimination and harassment in the workplace." Additionally, Entrepreneur reports that when it comes to companies' initiatives to show support for diversity, LGBTQIA+ individuals communicate wanting to see brands protect their queer employees rather than cater to performative acts. When brands work to foster a safe and comfortable place to work, one which embraces employees’ bringing their full and authentic selves to the office, consumers will notice and turn their buying power toward them.
To have the reach and understanding of a minority community, those individuals should absolutely be a part of the initiative. Everyone must be represented fairly and equally; diversity and inclusion are not only necessary — they're also beneficial. Because when women, men, people of color, the queer community and individuals from unique circumstances intersect and collaborate, more information, opinions, and even disagreements make for better initiatives.
Additionally, take the time and budget to make contributions to LGBTQIA+ foundations such as the Trevor Project, which offers crisis support to help at-risk LGBTQ youth. The GLAAD and LOVELOUD foundations also make meaningful and significant impacts with distinctive programs to aid the queer community.
Become an ally today
There are so many opportunities for brands to make a genuine impact with the queer community. While LGBTQIA+ individuals are looking for reciprocity, now is the time for marketers to take a stand and become a part of queer equality effort.
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