June, the Pride Month, is almost over and the competition between global brands on who wore the Rainbow better is coming to an end.
Many global brands, especially in the USA, filled their social media accounts with glitters and confetti and happily attempted to outshine each other. It definitely felt like watching a Drag Race with most queens/brands “tucking” an ulterior motive. Each, lip-syncing lyrics of a song that they don’t know or understand. The song of Pride, which not all brands have the vocals to sing.
But not all brands are Queens and Pride shouldn’t be a race in the first place.
Soon, the rainbow colours will fade out and the LGBTIQA+ community will start wondering which brands are really supportive of them and which ones are just there to jump on the pride bandwagon and have a piece of the rainbow cake. Unfortunately, most of these brands weren’t really there for the community when it needed them, not just in America, but most definitely not here.
So what can Australian brands learn from this Pride month for the next Mardi Gras or Midsummer?
1. ‘A Rainbow’ on your social media doesn’t show any genuine support of the community, but actions throughout the year do.
Don’t splash pride theme colours on your social media profiles and bring drag queens to sing in your ads to claim that you are diverse. This is a diversity representation; it is not being diverse. Do something to the community; otherwise stop screaming pride into your messages every now and then. No one wants to hear another stereotypical feminine gay couple saying “Hey Babes” in a campaign that means nothing. The audience knows who is genuine and who is not.
2. Learn from the brands who do it right. Maintain a relationship with the community. Don’t overdo it and come too strong.
It is better not to raise the rainbow flags on top of your buildings/stores just to attract a specific segment to buy from you.
Don’t make this a transactional relationship and focus on how much money you can get out of this community, instead try to make it a genuine long lasting one. A very random example is the real estate market in Australia.
Most of the real estate brands have been painfully targeting same sex couples recently with queer themed brochures and so many other materials. Is it because that “now same sex couples can get married and buy/rent a house to live in”? or is it because the agents realised the financial opportunity these couples bring to the market?
Many same sex couples have already been living together way before 2017. So why now? What did these real estate companies do to these couples in the 90s or early 2000s?
On the other hand, there are some local brands who got it right and made a genuine effort to support the community over the years. The ones that stand out in the clothing retail industry are Bonds and Cotton on Group. These brands have consistently showed over the past years that inclusivity and diversity is a core of their brands DNA. From their campaigns throughout the year to their branded messages and their daily social media interaction, it is very clear that everyone is included and encouraged to be and look the way they want. Therefore, when they post “Happy Pride”, it feels genuine. Funny enough they don’t use the rainbow excessively as they don’t really need to.
If you are a brand manager somewhere in Australia wondering what to do in the Pride Month next year or which parade to participate in, please ask yourself whether your brand really cares about the community and has done something really supportive before or is it just another commercial season that you have to show up to.
Pride month is not Halloween or Christmas. Brands like people should be celebrating inclusivity and diversity all year round, not just offering a 30% off on pride themed clothes and call this a support.