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How to market Pride collections the right way

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BIG THINKING

How to market Pride collections the right way

Huba Görbe
Analyst
Hall & Partners

LinkedIn Email

This year, New York and the world got together for the largest international Pride celebration in history. Throughout June, parades and events were held across the globe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York. In recent years, an increasing number of brands have been joining this celebration through charitable work, sponsorship or Pride-themed seasonal collections, supporting the community in various colourful ways.

The symbiotic relationship between business and society is increasingly evident, with social issues and trends influencing business decisions across every sector. As the LGBTQ community gains ever greater visibility, it’s being targeted by many retail companies who recognise its potential as a growing segment.

According to a survey conducted by YouGov, 69% of the UK population supports LGBTQ rights, and 24% of people claim to be more likely to do business with


Putting a rainbow on a T-shirt is not enough to win the customer’s heart


A retail brand can maximise leverage from cause-related marketing if its principles are embedded in the brand identity and connected to its core brand values. A great example of this is MAC Cosmetics – founded by two men in the LGBTQ community – which puts inclusivity at the heart of its image. The brand has been actively involved in sponsoring Pride events, while also raising over $450 million for the MAC AIDS Fund in the past 25 years.

However, it’s important for brands to bear in mind that putting a rainbow on a T-shirt is not enough to win the customer’s heart, especially if there’s no tangible outcome for the LGBTQ community. Statistics by YouGov show that 50% of Americans believe that Pride-related marketing actions don’t reflect genuine values, with brands only wanting to make themselves look good rather than contributing to the cause. This will inevitably lead to alienation and mistrust in the brand. A clear communication of brand values, and transparency about where the profits go, is essential when launching a Pride-themed seasonal collection – consumers need to be reassured that the brand isn’t merely capitalising on the identities of LGBTQ people for its own profit.

Here are three examples of retail brands who are doing it well in 2019:

1. IKEA

The furniture superstore has been present for a long time in the LGBTQ scene, 25 years ago being one of the first retailers to include a gay couple in its advertising campaign. This year, the company covered its iconic shopping bag with rainbow-stripes, donating all profits to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

2. LEVI'S

This heritage brand also switched its iconic logo into rainbow colours in its Pride capsule collection, donating 100% of the net profits to OutRight Action International. Levi’s also has an ongoing partnership with Queer Britain, with whom they aim to establish the UK's first LGBTQ+ museum.

3. H&M

The fast-fashion retailer donates 10% of global sales from their Love For All collection to the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign. "H&M strives to be a mirror of global society, one that fully embraces a central message of Love for All, standing up for people's right to love whoever they want, wherever they are. We are proud to continue our support for LGBTQI equality by celebrating love and raising awareness about the fight for equal rights, diversity and inclusivity," said Sara Spännar, Global Marketing and Communications Director at H&M.

Every brand needs to practice what they preach if they want to benefit from their cause-related marketing activity. Consumers see through attitudinise slogans if those are not genuine, which might even result in negative perceptions of the brand. Pride-themed collections can be true and relevant to their target audience not only by being colourful and fashionable but also by making a positive social impact.

 

Share this article

 

This year, New York and the world got together for the largest international Pride celebration in history. Throughout June, parades and events were held across the globe to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York. In recent years, an increasing number of brands have been joining this celebration through charitable work, sponsorship or Pride-themed seasonal collections, supporting the community in various colourful ways.

The symbiotic relationship between business and society is increasingly evident, with social issues and trends influencing business decisions across every sector. As the LGBTQ community gains ever greater visibility, it’s being targeted by many retail companies who recognise its potential as a growing segment.

According to a survey conducted by YouGov, 69% of the UK population supports LGBTQ rights, and 24% of people claim to be more likely to do business with


Putting a rainbow on a T-shirt is not enough to win the customer’s heart


A retail brand can maximise leverage from cause-related marketing if its principles are embedded in the brand identity and connected to its core brand values. A great example of this is MAC Cosmetics – founded by two men in the LGBTQ community – which puts inclusivity at the heart of its image. The brand has been actively involved in sponsoring Pride events, while also raising over $450 million for the MAC AIDS Fund in the past 25 years.

However, it’s important for brands to bear in mind that putting a rainbow on a T-shirt is not enough to win the customer’s heart, especially if there’s no tangible outcome for the LGBTQ community. Statistics by YouGov show that 50% of Americans believe that Pride-related marketing actions don’t reflect genuine values, with brands only wanting to make themselves look good rather than contributing to the cause. This will inevitably lead to alienation and mistrust in the brand. A clear communication of brand values, and transparency about where the profits go, is essential when launching a Pride-themed seasonal collection – consumers need to be reassured that the brand isn’t merely capitalising on the identities of LGBTQ people for its own profit.

Here are three examples of retail brands who are doing it well in 2019:

1. IKEA

The furniture superstore has been present for a long time in the LGBTQ scene, 25 years ago being one of the first retailers to include a gay couple in its advertising campaign. This year, the company covered its iconic shopping bag with rainbow-stripes, donating all profits to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

2. LEVI'S

This heritage brand also switched its iconic logo into rainbow colours in its Pride capsule collection, donating 100% of the net profits to OutRight Action International. Levi’s also has an ongoing partnership with Queer Britain, with whom they aim to establish the UK's first LGBTQ+ museum.

3. H&M

The fast-fashion retailer donates 10% of global sales from their Love For All collection to the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign. "H&M strives to be a mirror of global society, one that fully embraces a central message of Love for All, standing up for people's right to love whoever they want, wherever they are. We are proud to continue our support for LGBTQI equality by celebrating love and raising awareness about the fight for equal rights, diversity and inclusivity," said Sara Spännar, Global Marketing and Communications Director at H&M.

 

Every brand needs to practice what they preach if they want to benefit from their cause-related marketing activity. Consumers see through attitudinise slogans if those are not genuine, which might even result in negative perceptions of the brand. Pride-themed collections can be true and relevant to their target audience not only by being colourful and fashionable but also by making a positive social impact.

 

Share this article

 

Huba Görbe
Analyst
Hall & Partners

LinkedIn Email

 

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How to market Pride retail collections the right way