Global Pride Month is well underway and organizations — long-term and recent LGBTQIA+ supporters — are going rainbow everything to show their allyship for a community that has come a long way with marriage equality being the law of the land and some consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections in place.
Yet, with 27 states lacking any statewide laws that protect LGBTQIA+ individuals from discrimination in employment and housing, the fight is far from over. Public allyship remains important and meaningful. Unequivocal support requires strategic communication that fosters dialogue and highlights LGBTQIA+ stories — that is where your brand can make a difference. Here are five things to keep in mind when planning a Pride Month communications (and marketing) campaign:
- Don’t rainbow wash it: The last year has taught us that performative activism does little for actual change and undermines the work of those who are uplifting and protecting society’s most vulnerable. In recent years, companies, cities, and other groups have embraced the rainbow flag – now a ubiquitous symbol around the world each June – and redesigned their logos and other branding assets to celebrate Pride. Yet many, have made headlines for claiming to be allies, but being involved in and supporting regressive efforts. Pride related branding can be a positive tool but should not be done in a siloed way. Actionable efforts that lead to change are not a nice to do, but a must. And what change looks like, of course, depends on who your audience is and how they can support your campaign goals to be an ally and advocate for true change. (Fun fact: The Pride colors date back to 1978 when the first rainbow flag was flown.)
- Support LGBTQ+ advocates, nonprofits, and the Equality Act: From advocating for explicit LGBTQIA+ rights to being a safe haven to those who suffer discrimination, advocacy groups are on the front lines of fighting for equality and inclusion. But this work requires support – and that includes funding – as many of these organizations are under-resourced. Consider including support for relevant advocacy groups in your plan’s tactics. That broader plan can include fundraising, volunteer, pro-LGBTQIA+ legislation support, or other initiatives that are meaningful in your community. Visit the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Act NOW website to learn more about how to help cement these protections into law.
- Celebrate and consult LGBTQIA+ team members: To celebrate team members is to practice what you Pride – that includes hiring people that promote equality and inclusion and cultivating a workplace of belonging, support, and safety. In short: consult your colleagues and make them active participants of the campaign’s development and implementation while highlighting that their input and lived experience are of great value.
- Do your research when developing goals and objectives: Pride is a celebration that bolsters LGBTQIA+ rights movements and promotes self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of this community. To develop a communications campaign that celebrates Pride is to understand the underlying issues and the history that led to this Pride in the first place. Embedding this history into your campaign shows that each goal, objective, and tactic ultimately commemorates the ongoing pursuit of equal justice of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and celebrates the accomplishments of these individuals.
- Have fun with it! Yes, Pride is a protest, but it’s also a party – a big one. From rainbow-colored streets and lit up buildings to block parties, drag shows, and lots of glitter, Pride is undoubtedly one of the happiest times of the year for the LGBTQIA+ communities and its allies. Therefore, your campaign can showcase this extravaganza without diminishing the underlying issues. In short: if you keep in mind the four tips above and check all the boxes, be a model and get creative in your communications campaign. And if in doubt, ask an LGBTQIA+ person, they’ll be quick to point you in the right direction and perhaps even quote (a personal favorite) RuPaul: “don’t [mess] it up!”
By Jovanny Rosado, Account Executive, Denterlein
Image portrays a group of people holding up the rainbow flag. Photo credit: Mercedes Mehling via Unsplash.