Pride month and Pride in London are well and truly over, time to furl the rainbow flags and box up the glitter for another year, but what’s next for LGBT inclusive brands?

Each year we see more and more brands engaging with Pride whether that’s popping a rainbow in their logo, marching at various Pride events, or partnering with LGBT+ charities to create new products. Brands are all too aware of the profits to be made: Pride in London saw approximately 1m attendees this year, with massive potential for purchasing power giving retailers huge spikes in on-the-day revenues. But to what extent is this just jumping on a bandwagon for the sake of short term business effects?

Many clothing retailers such as TopShop, Primark, ASOS have all been known to release ‘Pride’ lines to help celebrate equality and diversity. However, how much of this is genuine support for a cause and how much is simply rainbow washing for the sake of an easy profit? Many of these clothing brands are still trading with countries which show little support of LGBT communities, and in some cases countries where being gay is still punishable by imprisonment (1). Brands must navigate this territory with caution, LGBT consumers are passionate about their cause and savvier than the average. They will be the first to see right through rainbow washing and are willing to hold a mirror to those brands completely missing the mark. In 2017, Pride in London’s very own campaign saw backlash for using the slogan ‘Homophobia is so gay’ (2), proving that even the most au fait can get it wrong.

In the UK June is officially LGBT Pride month but stamping a rainbow logo on your branding for one month of the year just doesn’t cut it. This year saw July marked as the first ever LGBT Wrath month. A play on the seven deadly sins, Wrath month started as a comic meme that went viral but had a serious undertone (3). The feeling is that Pride shouldn’t be a one off, and not simply a tick mark in brands retail calendars, along with Christmas and Black Friday.
Long term support of the LGBT community makes business sense, if the global LGBT+ were a country its GDP would be the world’s 4th largest (4). And LGBT consumers are loyal, 64% of LGBT+ consumer and allies said they were more likely to spend with a brand if they deemed them inclusive (5).

Much like all marketing theory, when it comes to targeting the LGBT+ community, long term endeavours will always trump short termism. After all if you’re gay in June, you’re probably gay all year long.

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