It takes more than a logo refresh… 🌈
If you haven’t heard, this month is Pride Month – a month dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ+ people around the world, as well as raising awareness of the issues many LGBTQ+ people still face today.
Originating back in 1969 in response to the Stonewall Riots, which occurred in the same year, Pride Month has become an event celebrated by millions of people all over the world. Be it concerts, parties, parades, or picnics, the month has helped to recognise the impact LGBTQ+ people have had on the world.
But like all things that become popular, especially in the world of social media, there is a risk of businesses attempting to use the event to drive engagement and sales. Perhaps your business has already used Pride Month as part of its social media campaign this month, or perhaps you’re thinking of doing so but aren’t sure how?
There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with your business using Pride Month as part of a social media campaign, but simply changing your profile’s logo to a rainbow just isn’t going to cut it. The difference between success and failure relies almost entirely on one thing. Authenticity. Let’s have a look at some examples to find out why.
You have to mean it
They say all publicity is good publicity… but is it really? It certainly didn’t seem so for Primark back in 2018, when the brand decided to run a social media campaign around the launch of its new LGBTQ+ range of clothing for Pride Month.
On the surface, the idea doesn’t seem like a bad one, especially when you consider that Primark teamed up with the charity Stonewall to ensure 20% of all profits would go to the charity. However, when it was revealed that the clothing line was created in a number of countries where it is illegal to be gay, the campaign lost all of its credibility as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
Primark may have produced something that would be of interest to the LGBTQ+ community, but they failed to realise the backlash from promoting something they don’t actually embody themselves. While steps have been made for this year’s attempt at least, the damage to the brand may already have been done when it comes to its relationship with the community.
Why would an LGBTQ+ individual feel supported by a company that has shown that it’s keen to promote something that it doesn’t actually embody? Be it Pride or any other popular event, your business needs to actually embody the values the event in question holds.
Getting authenticity right
So, how do you get it right?
It’s tricky, although Budweiser’s attempt this year was a pretty good one.
Nine different glasses for nine different identities, each partnering with a different but relevant LGBTQ+ charity. Unlike Primark, Budweiser had previously been involved in LGBTQ+ activism, having sponsored New York City Pride in 2018. As such, when they announced they would also be sponsoring London Pride this year, it didn’t come as a huge surprise – and more importantly, came across a lot more genuine throughout their social marketing campaign.
It’s also important to remember that the campaign didn’t just aim to sell, but also aimed to educate. Yes, the campaign probably helped the company sell a few more beers than usual, but the campaign largely revolved around explaining the different LGBTQ+ identities – as opposed to simply providing links to the product itself.
The importance of authenticity
The key thing to remember is that using Pride Month to promote your brand is not the same as say, using the latest episode of Game of Thrones. For one, one is fictional, and the other very much real, emotive, personal, and political in nature. Ignoring this fact in favour of simply jumping on a popular trend will only end up damaging your business’s reputation.
Before setting off on a social marketing campaign, think about what it is you’re promoting, and think of your audience. Jumping on something just because it is “popular” is not a strategy, and will only set you up for failure.
If it’s relevant, your company embodies its values, and you can join in with authenticity, go for it. If not, it may be better to focus your social marketing efforts elsewhere, where you’re more likely to see a positive impact.
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