Published 4 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
Image: Facebook's float in the 2014 SF Pride Parade | Wikimedia
Although June is the perfect milestone to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, our hope is that brand efforts and progress last throughout the year — and simply become another part of doing good business.
As we celebrate and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall
New York this week, brands should be considering how they can better
empathize with, understand and meet the needs of our LGBTQ+ community.
25 years after Stonewall, IKEA became the first brand to broadcast an ad
featuring an LGBTQ+ couple:
Since then, brands have continued to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, but as
societal needs evolve, so does our expectation of brands’ engagements. Today,
being a quality corporate citizen means not only using the scale and resources
of one’s organization to help solve some of the world’s most pressing
challenges, but also intimately understanding the challenges and needs of your
communities – and how your organization is uniquely positioned to support.
With this year’s Pride celebration being the largest yet, hundreds of brands
have, and will continue to, show their support. But for our diverse LGBTQ+
community, support often translates into over-simplification and
“rainbow-washing” throughout the month of June — where brands upload
variations of their logos and lines of products that sometimes raise funds for
LGBTQ+ organizations — and in other cases, are nothing more than a fleeting
rainbow. While raising awareness and funds are commendable, they can lack the
thoughtful, systemic support that’s needed.
Unlock customer insights on sustainability & your brand’s unique performance! Submit your brand (or any brand) into the 2024 annual study and receive unparalleled insights on customer perception of that brand’s performance. Benchmark how your customers rate your brand on social and environmental sustainability and overall brand trust, while seeing how your brand compares to others in the study. Space is limited! The deadline to become part of the study is January 15, 2024.
So, continue with your brand’s initiatives — they are important. But let’s start
to embrace Pride differently this year. Here are three ways we can better employ
empathy to do this:
Curiosity: Brand or individual, when providing support, always start
with these questions: What is the need and what should support look like?
Needs across the LGBTQ+ community vary immensely, so reflect and engage in
conversations regarding what it actually means to be a supportive
This is the first step to better unlocking the empathetic, authentic impact
you’re looking for.
Connectivity: While Pride is a celebration, it’s also a time to
acknowledge and advocate for further progress. Take a stand for LGBTQ+ folks
by exploring how your brand can better support the current, intersectional
challenges of the community: comprehensive healthcare and immigration
reform, filling gaps in opportunity and basic resources that also contribute
to becoming homeless, protections for those who are transgender and ensuring
decisions about us aren’t made without us. Each of these needs should be
viewed as connected to one another, rather than in a silo, to truly effect
Continuity: Although June is the perfect milestone to celebrate the
LGBTQ+ community, our hope is that brand efforts and progress last
throughout the year — and simply become another part of doing good business.
From creating a welcoming workplace culture and reshaping hiring and
development practices that enhance LGBTQ+ retention, to cancelling
potentially harmful corporate
and ensuring your community initiatives are filling a need, a brand’s
commitment should be ongoing.
As we enter the next 50 years of celebrating and commemorating Stonewall, it’s
vital that brands more deeply understand and empathize with our LGBTQ+
community. While we’re happy to see the growing enthusiasm surrounding Pride, we
also call brands to feel and push for further progress in terms of programming,
policies and actions that let the LGBTQ+ community thrive.
This post first appeared on the Porter Novelli blog on June 21, 2019.
Published Jun 27, 2019 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Daniel Sheehan is VP of ESG Strategy, Policy & Communications at Syneos Health. He is driven by the belief that our society and systems must continue to evolve to meet the needs of people. To do this, businesses especially must not only focus on long-term, sustainable growth, but also empathetically work toward building more just and equitable communities. (Read more ...)