The Intersection of Reflection and Activism: Bringing Pride 365

Pride. A celebration of LGBTQIA+ identities, a movement for equality, acceptance, and visibility; and a time for brands to display their allyship.

It is important that brands go beyond the typical visual content and branding, and further become allies in action by hiring more diverse employees, advocating for equal rights laws, and being deliberate with their messaging to be a supporting force for lasting impact and change.

We see allyship as the intersection of reflection and activism. Without reflection brands can be seen as commercializing the month or virtue signaling and without activism consumers see all talk and no walk. Let's break it down.


A Time for Reflection

Pride Month is celebrated in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity. This historical landmark has given way to celebration and has acted as the launch pad for change resulting in the 2009 Matthew Shepard Act and the 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage, amongst others. With the continued attacks on LGBTQIA+ human rights, and the uptick in physical violence; brands need to reflect on how focusing exclusively on celebrations can deflect from how far we have yet to go.  


Brand considerations:

  • Pause, learn, and listen. Looking back is just as important as looking forward when it comes to understanding a moment before attempting to be a part of it.
  • Elevate LGBTQIA+ voices and let members of the community lead the way in telling their stories. Do not put community members and employees on the spot, but instead elevate the stories and experiences they are choosing to tell.
  • Ensure equal representation in the room when developing campaigns/programs specifically focused around Pride Month and the LGBTQIA+ community.


A Time for Activism

LGBTQIA+ activism and allyship is a commitment to all 12 months, not just June. True brand allyship is about understanding the real, everyday experiences of the community and putting energy, values, and funding behind brand actions. Calling oneself a brand ally is only talking the talk. There is no shortage of LGBTQIA+ marketing professionals who would be overjoyed to help evolve your brand. In fact, if you want to join any celebration or represent a community, and aren’t sure how, simply ask.


Brand considerations:

  •  Hire members of the LGBTQIA+ community and elevate their voices in power positions to make decisions that affect the company as a whole.
  • Involve DE&I groups in benefits decisions and implement companywide policies that benefit the community.
  • Audit your company benefits, donations, staffing, etc. Do company benefits include and support the LBGTQIA+ community? What more could be included to represent the needs of different communities?  For example, sometimes even covering a fraction of the costs that are involved in fostering a baby, adoption, surrogacy, and fertility can help LGBTQIA+ families in their journey to parenthood.


Where do we go from here?

Designed by Gilbert Baker and others in 1978, the Pride flag represents the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. After under-going several revisions, the flag has been adopted as an outward symbol of identity, support, and even safety of the LGBTQIA+ community. 


When brands use the Pride flag to signal diversity or only promote it during Pride month, they run the risk of co-opting the flag and its meaning.


Brand considerations:

  • What is your brand’s position on supporting the LBGTQIA+ community? Do you support the community year-round?
  • Other than adding the flag to packaging and logos, what other ways are you participating in supporting the LGBTQIA+ community?
  •  Is the flag being incorporated in a way that is low lift and does not make a high visibility statement or is it being flown outside the office building to signify a safe space?
  •   Research the meaning behind the colors and ask yourself: does my company’s values truly represent what these colors stand for?
  •   Does your company currently have any policies, initiatives or put support behind individuals that may be harming the LGBTQIA+ community?


Looking forward, there's a sweet spot where brands can spearhead change, honor their LGBTQIA+ employees, and be allies to their consumers through the intersection of reflection and activism, every day of the year.