4 Ways Businesses Can Be Year-Round LGBTQ Supporters

Consumers increasingly want companies to address issues active in the news, with nearly two-thirds of respondents citing LGBTQ rights as an issue they would like to see as a top business advocacy priority.

Pride Month is a time when a historically marginalized community’s voice takes center stage, in the hopes of finding common ground with opposition, promoting educated dialogue and celebrating progress. This Pride Month, several companies are standing out by supporting the LGBTQ community in a genuine way.  Here are four tips to authentically take part in the conversation:

1. Elevate Community Voices: Spotify announced the creation of a Pride Hub dedicated to featuring LGBTQ talent. Being an ally is all about listening and having empathy; Spotify saw an authentic tie to this within what their business provides and is helping their listeners easily find examples of queer culture they can support via this initiative. 

2. Get Informed & Start a Discussion: Equinox, a brand known for their luxury gym and fitness clubs, did it right this month by partnering with the LGBT Community Center to produce a colorful, poignant film that hits on important pillars within the community: The LGBTQAlphabet. This video and the sentiment behind it prove the brand wants to engage community members and allies in a conversation that is both inclusive and educated. Beyond the video, Equinox is hosting events around the country to celebrate LGBTQ members and their loved ones.  

3. Give Back Where It Counts: Urban Outfitters has partnered with out Chicago hip-hop artist and activist, Taylor Bennett, for their UO Pride Collection. The line is an exclusive collection of graphics and hats celebrating Pride Month, with all profits donated to GLSEN, an organization championing LGBTQ issues within K-12 education. Urban Outfitters’ campaign both openly involves members of the community and works to benefit them in a tangible way that favors giving back over making a profit while carving out a niche by championing acceptance among youth and administrators.

4. Defy Stereotypes Through Genuine Engagement: Major league sports are often seen as contributing to toxic masculinity, a gender construct that works to the detriment of us all, but especially to members of the LGBTQ community. A refreshing event from the Los Angeles Dodgers works to change that. The team hosted its annual Pride Night featuring same-sex couples on the kiss cam, a transgender chorus singing the National Anthem, members of the LGBTQ community throwing out the first pitch and the Varsity Gay League playing a kickball game in the outfield. The event helps forge a relationship between the organization and community in a genuine, unexpected way that extends throughout the entire year because it is grown out of a value of diversity and inclusion held within the organization.

Choosing to put your brand behind a hot-button issue is a careful decision, and often the most successful business-issue alignments stem directly from a company’s internal values and beliefs. If the decision is made to move forward with support, it is important communications of efforts are not confined to one-off statements or moment-in-time campaigns. Consumers expect companies to not only stand up for issues, but to do so in an informed, meaningful, authentic and consistent way. Pride Month is a great opportunity to bolster support of the LGBTQ community, but consumers now expect brands will continue this work all year long.

By: Brittany Straughn, Account Executive, Cone Communications