It's hard to think about Pride month this year. Many of us have been at home for more than 70 days, and in recent weeks we've seen the country erupt into protests against systemic racism and violence. Not only are the Pride parades and street festivals cancelled, but even getting through each day can feel like a battle.
For LGBTQ Americans, this month still holds meaning – though as I’ve seen on my social feeds over the past few weeks, the discussion about how brands participate in supporting Pride has changed. Which brands will be celebrating now that they can’t hand out rainbow-colored swag at parades? How will they celebrate online? How are they protecting their LGBTQ employees during the pandemic?
This year, more than ever, brands need to demonstrate how they support their LGBTQ employees. All eyes are online, and everyone is at home. Are you ready to tell a story that goes deeper than changing your logo to a rainbow on Facebook?
Here are a few ideas to get started.
- Acknowledge that Pride month is different this year – but don’t dwell on it. While we may find ourselves in “unprecedented times,” that message grows stale after more than two months sheltering at home. Instead, stand firm in your values and your unwavering commitment to LGBTQ employees by demonstrating them through action. If your business enforces a robust non-discrimination policy, talk about that. What went into creating it? What benefits have you seen? How has it impacted your business? These are critical messages for not only your employees, customers and followers but also for your industry peers seeking ways to make positive progress.
- Extend the narrative beyond social posts. Social media offers a particularly visible channel, but it’s only one instrument in your digital toolkit. It may make sense to add a landing page to your hiring site or a featured update on your website’s “About” section. Think about the full story you want to tell and give your audiences a destination to find that content.
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- Demonstrate the human impact. We all lack in-person connection right now, but the stories we tell still have real impact on the lives and mindsets of people who follow our brands. Firsthand accounts, like quotes, video clips and selfies from employees, can be a more authentic way for your company to tell its stories through its own people.
- Don’t limit your communications to Pride month. While Pride month marks a celebration, the real work of making employees feel safe and secure should remain a priority throughout the year. Showcase these stories organically when they are timely and relevant rather than sitting on them until June of each year.
As for myself, I’m looking forward to sharing my own story on our social channels, and I’ve got my rainbow flag hanging in my office all month as a colorful backdrop for my video conference calls. These are just a couple of steps that I can take to demonstrate my commitment to acknowledging and understanding my colleagues and my clients, even amidst these challenging times. I hope they’ll join me in that commitment.