After many years of battling for recognition, the gauntlet has been thrown, with consumers wanting brands to do better this Pride Month – and year-round. We’ll explore how the conversation has shifted, who is leading it, and will offer tips for brands that want to remain aligned with this vocal segment – and correspondingly, viewed as genuine allies to the cause. Brands that aren’t paying attention to their analytics will get this wrong, and they’ll lose ground with audiences long-term. This post will help them avoid that fate.
To better understand what is happening in the consumer perception realm and how it has shifted over the years, we explored the same time period over three years – from April 11 to June 11 in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In doing so, we uncovered a definite shift in consumer emotion, as well as who these consumers are and the brands and influencers that are reaching them. We also see a heightened awareness around brand marketing during Pride Month and other inclusivity efforts that bubbles under the surface. Check out our infographic below and let’s dig into it a bit!
Emotional Shift, with Sadness Growing
The emotions trending illustrate a definite shift away from love and happiness – toward sadness. This shift makes sense, as there’s an unfortunate and growing depression and suicide rate in LBBTQ+ youth, and (as we can see above) that younger demographic (under age 24) over-indexes for talking about Pride Month and LGBTQIA+ topics online.
And those topics tie into the mood as well. We see the transgender struggle represented, as well as gender identity and feeling doomed to leading an “invisible life.” There are also a good bit of affirmations supporting LGBTQIA+ people as “valid” and asserting gay rights as human rights, which feels like it should be unnecessary at this point in our civilization – but it shows the mishmash of sentiment that’s evident in each conversational cluster. We also see many sharing Pride Month Stories, celebrations and hope.
The volume of “company” mentions are a mixed bag as well. There is a growing disillusionment with brands checking the rainbow box each June, but making little effort to recognize this struggle year-round. There is an overwhelming push for inclusion, equality and solidarity and growing blowback against discrimination in every variety. And a good number of brands are taking note . . .
Brands Trending Positively for Pride Month
Brands are under microscope due, in part, to the growing activity online thanks to COVID as consumers have more time than ever to scrutinize what is/isn’t happening – and should be. Some brands that are winning loads of consumer love for putting themselves out there in a real, impactful and potentially revenue-impacting way, include:
- Blues Clues celebrating Pride Month with a sing-along featuring drag queen, Nina West.
- Nickelodeon also partnering with Nina West for a song about the meaning of Pride Month and its flag colors.
- McDonalds creating rainbow boxes for its fries – and (importantly) acting as an official sponsor of Pride Month.
- Lego’s Everyone is Awesome Pride Month set that celebrates diversity beyond LGBTQIA+
- And then LGBTQIA+ supportive programming on Spotify and Hulu
But how can any brands sort out the best mix of marketing to consistently speak to social justice issues that truly matter to a specific audience? And is it really something to pick and choose?
Consumers have trust issues and a brand that hops on every cause, as it is trending, but does little else the rest of the year, is now being noticed. And facing a good bit of backlash. So, if your marketing can handle adopting everything at once, that’s great – but many brands will need to make meaningful, targeted change over a period of time. And this is where understanding your audience and its values helps you prioritize where to start – and how to proceed.
Ongoing, authentic campaigns that demonstrate genuine understanding of consumer concerns do not materialize overnight. Brands need to understand who is talking by investigating a variety of demographic and psychographic intelligence. And that could include ethnicity, which we see in our infographic above.
Although Caucasians make up the majority of the Pride Month posts, when compared against the general population on Twitter, we see Hispanic and Asian online participants over-indexing in the Pride Month topic. This makes sense as the LatinX group is super active online. Could this matter to your marketing? Quite possibly. It’s good intel to have either way.
And then understanding audience interests will help you launch relevant user-generated campaigns that have a much better chance of attracting your target consumer. Though, if you partner with the right influencer, you can give whatever cause-based marketing a definite boost. Although the top-level celebrities we share above, and Nina West, are likely out of your league for a one-off ad, there are a variety of others participating in niche categories eager to partner with you. Perhaps you’ll find a Asian influencer to create a TikTok about your brand, for example?
@prideMeet Emma (@emmalee_6 , pronouns she/her). So…what advice would you give to your younger closeted self? ##lgbt ##pride ##foryourpride♬ Lofi nostalgic old music box(833007) – NARU
Knowing who a specific influencer is and the super relevant interests they talk about – and that their audience loves them for – is important, as is vetting an influencer’s engagement stats. A robust social analytics tool will help you with that – we know a place. Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how to connect meaningfully with your audience this month and every month moving forward!