The corporate connection

Businesses have long since capitalised on ‘the pink pound’, showcasing support for the LGBT+ community. Of course, this support is not entirely philanthropic, and businesses receive huge amounts of publicity from Pride parades and campaigns. There are around 4million gay people in the UK, most of whom are aware of Pride and participate in related activities in some form or another. That is a huge number of people for businesses to reach, particularly given that businesses have an opportunity to actively show support for these individuals thus heightening the likelihood of brand affinity and campaign effectiveness.

What is the pink pound?

The pink pound refers generally to the purchasing power of the LGBT+ community. It is estimated to be worth around £6billion per year to the UK economy.

Campaigns or products targeting the pink pound must be subtle, tactful and genuine. Simply targeting the LGBT+ community to earn additional revenue will not be looked on kindly. This is known as “pinkwashing” or “rainbow washing”, and the community doesn’t appreciate brands jumping on a bandwagon solely for corporate gain. There are several examples online of brands trying too hard to associate with Pride month.

Businesses that seek to make a real difference to the community and want to work alongside it will be rewarded. This great article explains more about ‘marketing with pride’.

How will the coronavirus pandemic impact the corporate connection to the LGBT community?

Unfortunately, without a physical event to promote, there is less opportunity for businesses to get involved in Pride campaigns. There are ways to support virtual parades, community organisations and fundraisers, but ultimately this doesn’t compare to having your business’s name up in lights on the main stage.

Unfortunately many businesses are now thought to be deserting the LGBT+ community this year as a result, because they don’t stand to achieve the same levels of promotion. This is distressing to the community, as it demonstrates businesses are profiteering from the pink pound rather than genuinely supporting the community.

Businesses must be mindful to make an honest, long-lasting relationship with the community. Instead of simply releasing a rainbow-themed product or donating money to charity, businesses should build genuine connections. They can do this by providing support to the community, and offering products and services LGBT+ people really need.

The key here is to listen to the community. Find out what support people need and want, and discover how they will respond to campaigns. Develop real connections with LGBT+ leaders and advocates. Make sure the community trusts you, and do your best to do right by the community.

Brands supporting the community this year

While the internet and social media sites are usually inundated with businesses running pride campaigns, this year is a little quieter as physical parades are no longer likely to go ahead (or have been postponed). Unfortunately, though, virtual pride events must still be paid for – and it’s far better to have sponsors than Pride attendees be forced to spend money themselves which could lead to exclusion. The community is concerned that online Pride could be flooded with corporate campaigns and businesses jumping on the bandwagon, with less visibility for the real cause: the LGBT+ community and the individuals that make it.

Visibility of Pride is naturally much lower this year compared to previous years. Despite the community’s best efforts to run social media campaigns and continue to collaborate with brands, awareness for the month seems to have decreased. But that means it’s more important than ever for businesses to support the community and work with LGBT+ people to find the right ways to get involved.

Here’s a great article looking at how businesses can support virtual pride celebrations. One top tip is to source design work, graphics, videos and other creative services from LGBT+ professionals, in order to further support the community. The community will be watching and remembering which businesses supported them when they needed it most.

Google has really shown businesses how to do it, by launching its #prideforeveryone campaign. It is bringing together the global LGBT+ community, sharing virtual marches and Pride parades around the world.

Why we’re different

Our Virtual Pride day is a way for We Are Wellbeing to celebrate with the community, not capitalise from it. The team is offering the wellbeing support and services so many members of the LGBT+ community may need right now. This includes online seminars, home working advice, training sessions for business leaders and so much more.

We’d love you to get involved with our Virtual Pride day and share your stories with us. Head over to Twitter to see what’s going on.

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