Standing Strong: Supporting LGBTQ+ Consumers During Pride Month and Year Round

Pride Month serves to recognize and celebrate all LGBTQ+ people while also honoring the incredible achievements and contributions of the community. 

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June 8, 2023
David Wellisch – CEO and Co-Founder

Throughout the year, and in celebration of Pride Month, I have the pleasure of working with America’s iconic marketing and insights leaders to understand the nuances that make consumers who they are and help bring their voices and stories to life.

Read on and fill out the form to download our Pride Month 2023: Insights on the Path to Cultural Fluency infographic.
Pride Infographic - example

We recognize that brands are struggling to navigate an increasingly polarized cultural environment, where support for any one group can prompt devastating backlash from other groups. The list of companies in the headlines for their Pride Month campaigns continues to grow: Bud Light, Target, Kohl’s, Lego, Adidas, Chick Fil A…

Amid these concerns, I’d like to take this moment to reiterate the importance for all of us to stand strong – to stand by our family members, friends, employees, and colleagues who identify as LGBTQ+ and the community as a whole.

Further, I strongly encourage that marketing and insights professionals representing brands double-down on steps to deeply understand your present and future customer base so you can assess the trade-offs between generating groundswell and backlash from your marketing campaigns. As we’ve seen, missteps can have consequences both for brands and for the diverse consumers we seek to support. Because we have deep insight into the values, passion points, and affiliations from consumers across race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, we are happy to serve as a sounding board as you weigh in the trade-off between showing your support and the potential backlash. And, given the depth of expertise across our team, I’m pleased to offer some further strategic considerations below as you shape your cultural engagement strategies.

First, keep in mind that despite loud backlash, the majority of Americans stand for the LGBTQ+ community and with Pride. In fact, only a tiny minority of LGBTQ+ consumers say brands should not celebrate Pride. And, almost 88% of consumers outside of the LGBTQ+ community, are positive or neutral about Pride Month activations. Brands can’t be driven by activist minorities on either side of the aisle. Create campaigns grounded in insights and stand by your executions.

American Consumers Feel About Pride Month Marketing

Collage Group has the pleasure of working with brands to build the Cultural Fluency needed to successfully support and engage the LGBTQ+ community, as well as all diverse consumers, while retaining and engaging support from traditional consumer groups. As you look ahead to cultural celebrations and support for marginalized communities, take a few minutes to ask your insights, brand, marketing and DEI teams these questions:

    • Is your brand data-driven about culture – values, attitudes, preferred terminology? For example, do you understand and embrace LGBTQ+ and multicultural terminology organization-wide? Authentically engaging and supporting diverse communities is about more than saying the right word to refer to the right person, it’s about dignity and empathy. Terminology is really a matter of respect: saying I see you, and I affirm your identity.
    • Are you embracing diverse segments as intrinsic to the mainstream audience, not as an afterthought? Cultivate relationships with diverse consumers and show support year round. Most Americans, particularly younger ones, want to see companies represent people in diverse ways. Incorporating diverse consumer insights into your marketing strategy also allow you to leverage Halo Effects with other consumer segments, especially younger Americans.
    • Have you evaluated how your brand fits within the values, priorities, and belief systems of the specific consumers you currently serve and those who you are hoping to serve? Every brand begins their journey to Cultural Fluency from a different place. Be sure to ask yourself, “who are my customers now?”, “who will my customers need to be to grow?”, “what are their values?”, and “where do they both give me permission to play?”
    • Are you celebrating the contribution of diverse consumers both to America and the world? Take the opportunity during cultural moments, like Pride, to emphasize the joy and celebration, combined with education, to connect the diverse consumers and their allies. For Pride, celebrate LGBTQ+ segment’s perseverance amid the struggles the group faces. Acknowledge the hardships while maintaining a celebratory tone.
    • Are you engaging with diverse employees year round through an Employee Resource Group? ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups who work to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with your organization’s values. They create a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to the table.
    • Do you recognize the significant size of both support and “ally” populations – friends, families, found families, coworkers – and strategically engage with them and non-profit partners to build real loyalty among these audiences?
    • Do you have a crisis plan? Assume you will come up against a backlash crisis, and plan for it. For many brands, it is only a matter of time.
Brands Need a Unique Roadmap toward Cultural Fluency

At Collage Group, it’s both our passion and our business to celebrate the diversity that is transforming America. And, when it comes to cultural moments, like Pride Month, we stand with these communities in celebration of their many contributions to our culture, their many allies, and the brands that support them.

More than 10 years ago, Collage Group was founded to help leading consumer organizations better serve the diverse cultural fabric of America. Our members and staff share in our commitment and passion to creating a more just society where the diversity of America is celebrated, protected, and treasured. And we look forward to continuing our contributions to authentic brand engagements that elevate the voices of LGBTQ+ consumers during Pride and year round.

Other LGBTQ+ Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

David Wellisch

David Wellisch

David Wellisch is CEO & Co-Founder of Collage Group, the leading source of cultural intelligence about diverse consumers. Since the inception of Collage Group in 2009, David has led the company through growth, now serving more than 300 brands in across 12 industries. David is passionate about entrepreneurship and company building, and often works directly with members to help guide the integration of diverse consumer insights and marketing strategies.

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