Should Your Brand go Gay-For-Pay During Pride Season?
+Commentary: So, in case you weren’t on Social Media (*gasp*) since Friday morning, in which case this post might be irrelevant to you, then you might not have noticed the profusion of rainbows coloring every icon, profile picture, and post. They were kind of hard to miss, as statistics rolling in on Monday morning proved. You can be forgiven, or even granted immunity, if you didn’t greet this with an enthusiastic embrace, not all of us did either.
It was kind of hard to miss after the Supreme Court decision that came down serendipitously at the beginning of Pride Weekend festivities taking place in many major metropolises. Which just happened to collide with already planned social media strategies of many major brands, platforms, and businesses alike. First the hashtag #LoveWins when used on twitter put a rainbow ❤ after it. They seemed to have used the same code that put a pride flag after the use of #Pride and managed to do it with a quickness! Strangely however, on Monday morning the rainbow flags had disappeared, while the hashtags remained.
So is it even wise for a small business, solo entrepreneur, personal brand to “jump on the big ol’ gay bandwagon” amidst all this clamor? There are pros and cons to it. Yet this weekend proved that if anything — at this point in history, or social media usage at least, we’ve reached the tipping point. If you want to be on the “right side of history” or simply want to show your customers, friends, and family you care. It pays to go a little gay when it matters! (Read More→)
(Click any picture below to see close-up or easily scroll through )
While not every business can be blessed to have the clout or cachét of these larger brands, not acknowledging momentous moments in history can also make your brand seem socially out-of-touch. Which is antithetical to the entire notion of social media marketing. There are three basic levels: Acknowledgment, Targeting, Full Tilt Flag-Waving.
- Tip Your Hat / Acknowledge
- Simple post/tweet/update to congratulate & enforce your brand
- Use the appropriate hashtag to piggy-back & get seen
- Respond & Like to the comments and moderate any others
- Wave the Rainbow Flag / Target
- Modify your logo with a tiny acknowledgement
- Combine with post & targeted ads
- If your target audience, or your product is boosted by it
- Enter a Float in the Pride Parade! / Full Tilt
- Overhaul your entire social media channels
- Put out multiple messages
- Create specific/targeted content
- Engage in conversations directly when confronted
- Lead, don’t follow
Option #1: At the very least almost every brand, small business, and entrepreneur should have nodded in the general direction of something everyone on social media was going to be talking about. That is about half of what went into the Super Bowl. It is also through the roof. Globally the World Cup (32 million) & the Oscars (3.3 BILLION with a B) are going to dominate. Yet 10 million for this cause is still a sign that social media is LGBTQ-Friendly. Sentiment on Topsy was 86+ and about 3 million shy (which I’m assuming is Twitter using a different algorithm to calculate the fire hose of Big Data). A major discrepancy but think Twitter used a larger net for its dataset to get the higher result.
It still represents a major movement, a force to acknowledge, and something that everyone should at least recognize. Doing so for the community this decision impacts, many of whom even in what seems a hypervisible moment in time is key. Remembering that Social Media across all platforms has many small groups that lead the conversations, but the bulk lurk, listen, and make up there mind without ever posting anything about it. Those are the people that will see it and remember it, and will bring their business to you.
Option #2: Take a measured approach. Rainbow your logo in some small way, create a post that is supportive, rainbow or not, and post it with a message of support. Making this an opportunity to create a “special offer” or other incentives will seem crass, unless of course in some way your business is tied to the niche market (weddings, bakeries, divorce lawyers, 🙂 etc…) otherwise it will seem like cashing in. No one likes someone cashing in on a civil rights issue. Yet with this approach you can still fearlessly call attention to yourself and receive the backing of so many who follow you. After all strong sentiments (love and hate) bring out the most engagement on social media posts. Once a political football, Marriage Equality is one of those issues for which the growing support of the population at large
Option #3: Usually reserved for large companies that have a noticeable number of employees or customers will opt for this. For years sponsorship of Pride Events led to many brands, businesses, and increased business. Very few businesses can survive a boycott by an very vocal and influential group. It isn’t just about those identified as LGBQT but also their friends, families and loved ones. They make up a growing number of those that have helped sway the country and the world in thinking of this issue differently.
For smaller brands, entrepreneurs, freelance this is also an opportunity. Especially if you are in a “gay-borhood” or have services that are of use to the LGBTQ community. As diverse as they are, this is a pretty big umbrella, and almost all of us can find some way of tapping into it. Also a keen observer will note how your competition handles the matter and to make your value-added-proposition that you are inclusive. For if you are a keen student of history, or the blow-back that happened even on Friday from politicians, elected officials blocking marriage licences, or the opponents to this change – it is clear that this ‘victory’ does not settle the issue.
So in the coming election cycle it will be used, rhetoric employed to position it as a “Religious Liberty” issue and for that you can err on the side of Chick-Fil-A or you can let people know that their rights matter to you and your business. Otherwise you can spend a lot of money rehabilitating your image afterwards. Very few remember the 70s now, with its gay activist community boycotting many brands (beer/orange juice/et al…), but it is clear from the current about face & full-throated endorsements that their PR departments and brand engineers have properly explained it to them and have their finger in the wind.
Since this post is already intolerably long – it is worth exploring what is different this time. Haters gonna hate, but trolls got some epic slapdowns on social media recently making the option to discriminate or whinge about it out loud and that deserves a post by itself. So that will be up shortly this afternoon, an let me know in the comments if the Tumblr gif shows up, because in previews it isn’t and it is too precious not to share! Thoughts on this are always welcome, or questions about what you can do to show your support without alienating people will be politely answered below.
Follow Up Articles:
- Here’s Who’s Been Celebrating Pride On Social Media | ThinkProgress.
- More than 26 million people have changed their Facebook picture to a rainbow flag. Here’s why that matters. | The Washington Post.
- Brands tweet with pride after Supreme Court marriage ruling | PR Daily.
- Is Facebook Tracking Data on Users Who Use the Rainbow Profile Image Filter? | Social Media Today.