Posted on June 6, 2022 by thesociallink
“Oh, now you see me.”
That’s the usual — and merited — response from someone who, all of a sudden, has become very, very important to someone else. Politicians and political parties are guilty of it when they need to drum up votes, for instance. And when it comes to so-called inclusive marketing, the “hello, new best friend” campaign is nothing new. The trouble is that people know when they are being marketed to, and they tend to react strongly against it.
That is certainly true of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a very multifaceted audience and one with a lot of money. According to the United States Census Bureau, 2021 Household Pulse Survey data showed that this group had close to $1.4 trillion in spending power. Their household income (pegged at nearly $130,000 for gay couples) is almost double the national average. This is also a sizable population, and it’s getting bigger. Government census data also reveals that the LGBTQ+ community is the fastest-growing minority segment within the United States, on par with Hispanic Americans, African Americans and the AAPI segments.
Companies and their marketers are itching to get in front of the LGBTQ+ community, especially every June they blanket the airwaves, print and social media with Pride flags galore. They fall all over themselves to show how in tune with gay issues that are present. Some of this messaging are on point, and some of it is genuinely cringeworthy. One way to avoid the latter? Work with an LGBTQ-owned marketing agency and get messaging that reflects your brand and your genuine concern to be a valuable ally, not just a vendor.
Even with the pros on your side, inclusive marketing is hard, especially to an audience that’s as far from monolithic as you can imagine. Here are a few inclusive marketing dos & don’ts for LGBTQ+ to consider:
Inclusive Marketing Dos & Don’ts for LGBTQ+
Do: Be authentic. Your product or service may have nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender identity. Don’t try to jam a round peg into a square hole; you’ll only devalue your brand and cheapen the message you’re trying to create. Important: This doesn’t mean you can’t produce a sincere (and short) message about how you value inclusivity and treat all customers with attention and respect. A diversity statement, all by itself, can be powerful and compelling and do wonders for your brand’s appeal to a broader audience.
Don’t: Roll out an odd, “special” Pride version of your product without thinking it through. A recent study from Statista showed that 50% of respondents said that companies rolling out Pride-themed products were doing so as a marketing tactic. Only 21% thought it was a true reflection of the brand’s values. In other words, they see you, and they don’t like what they see.
Do: Brand a product if you’re willing to go the extra mile to connect the dots. LEGO did that by turning the “Everything is Awesome” tune from their 2014 movie into a range of related content: interviews with LGBTQ+ employees and fans, a rainbow-colored LEGO set, and a ton of other content and collateral. It was inclusive marketing at its best, showing a company that believes the world is better when people are their authentic selves.
Don’t: Put the rainbow flag on everything you can think of. Pride pens! Pride notepads! Pride stickers! Pride mugs! The flag is the symbol of all this community stands for when it comes to diversity and inclusion. It’s not a gimmick. It will not end well when you “pink wash” or coopt a symbol as a marketing ploy. If you use the flag in messaging, make sure the image is supported by meaningful, sincere text, not just “be an ally, like us!” one-liners.
Do: Remember that Pride is more than parades and parties. Since the Stonewall Riots in June 1969, the LGBTQ+ community have been fighting for equality and against discrimination in all aspects of life. Many sidebar events around Pride parades, such as discussions of legal issues important to the community. If one aligns with your brand’s purpose, consider sponsoring one of those.
Don’t: Go in blind without a goal. You want to be supportive, and if you’re not a member of this community, you don’t want to appear tone-deaf. This is where getting some insight from an LGBTQ+ marketing agency comes in. With the right team, you’ll learn exactly what diversity, equality and inclusion means and how to craft a message that shows your sincere support to listen and learn.
Pride Month is an opportunity to meaningfully connect with a smart and growing segment of the buying public. Do it right, and you can create long-term and loyal relationships. People don’t forget who’s sincere about allyship and support. They also don’t forget who’s trying to pick their pockets while making vague promises. Work with the right people on the right message, and you’ll have something to be proud of during Pride.