17. June 2021 | Retail Marketing, What´s new in Retail

Retailers and brands show their support for the LGBTQ community and its initiatives in a myriad of ways

by Julia Pott (exclusively for EuroShop.mag)

Diversity and equality are no longer fringe issues in our society. They have become part of the public discourse and are also reflected in the marketing and corporate social responsibility departments of many companies, big and small. Occasions like “Pride Month” promote the self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (LGBTQ) as a social group. Manufacturers, retailers, and brands also support the cause.

June is LGBTQ Pride Month in the US. Many offline and online pride events are held during this month in celebration. “Pride, as opposed to shame and social stigma, is the predominant outlook that bolsters most LGBT rights movements,” says Wikipedia. Occasions like this incentivize many U.S. and international brands to position themselves in a variety of ways and show their commitment to these issues. We are highlighting a few examples to illustrate how companies celebrate Pride Month and show their support.

Rainbow colors: Product branding and Pride collections

Sporting goods manufacturer PUMA lights up its headquarters in Herzogenaurach in rainbow colors throughout June to symbolize its support for the interests of the LGBTQ community. “Forever Free” is PUMA’s latest Pride collection created with model and LGBTQ activist Cara Delevingne. According to the company, “20% of the proceeds from the sales of the collection, will go to the Cara Delevingne Foundation, a project of the Giving Back Fund, and be used to support LGBTQIA+ charities around the globe.”

Many fashion brands have created special collections or products for Pride Month, including Vans, Primark, Boohoo, Dr. Martens, Gap, Levi’s, and The North Face. The proceeds or a portion of proceeds were promised to non-profit LGBTQ projects such as Trans Lifeline, the Trevor Project, National Center for Transgender Equality, Human Rights Campaign, GLSEN and many more.

The rainbow flag colors are routinely used as a symbol of LGBTQ identity. The Hamburg-based personal care company Beiersdorf Global and its popular brands Nivea and Labello also feature these colors in LinkedIn posts. One Labello brand manager announced that she would reward every kiss posted on TikTok with the hashtag #KissForPride with a one-dollar donation to the Hamburg-based project Queere Vernetzung (English: Queer Network). And NIVEA Brazil partnered up with the LGBTIQ+ organization All Out and launched the NIVEA Creme rainbow tin on the market to generate awareness.

Multinational technology company Apple is also introducing a new Apple Watch Pride Edition featuring a colorful band and dynamic watch face, whose color scheme is inspired by the Pride flags of the LGBTQ community.

The British Co-op supermarket chain has chosen CrawleyLGBT, which raises awareness of the local LGBTQ+ community with events, services, and publications, to benefit from the Co-op’s Local Community Fund.

Employees of UK retailer Marks & Spencer are showing their support on LinkedIn with images of rainbow-colored in-store decorations and photos of colleagues using the company’s pride selfie frame. Marks & Spencer customers who participate in the firm’s Sparks loyalty program automatically trigger a donation to a non-profit LGBTQ organization every time they shop.

Do good and talk about it

CVS Health Corporation is currently the largest pharmacy chain in the United States and shows its support by advertising that it has signed the Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation.

Sephora, the French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products celebrates LGBTQ+-​owned brands in honor of Pride Month with Live Shopping events on Facebook during the month of June.

The social media group Facebook and Instagram have announced they give businesses, creative minds, and designers from the LGBTQ community a platform in June and offer additional support in a variety of other ways.

Travis Perkins plc is a British builders’ merchant and home improvement retailer that wants to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone is welcome. The company invites its associates to embrace LGBTQ interests and Pride celebrations through active participation in a raft of activities and encourages them to become “good allies” to lesbian, gay, bi, trans and questioning (LGBTQ+) people, customers and colleagues. “We’ll be a better place to work and better able to understand and serve our customers’ needs if our business genuinely reflects the diversity of our society and our customer base. […] It helps us to attract the best people to work with us irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender, sexuality, disability or any other individual characteristics and makes us a stronger, better business,” explained General Counsel & Company Secretary for Travis Perkins plc and a sponsor for the Group’s LGBTQ+ network, Robin Miller.

Incidentally, a commitment to championing the human rights of LGBT persons does not just have a social effect that fosters an open and free society. In the US, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce has released a report titled The Premiere Report on the Impact of LGBT-Owned Businesses with numbers that also demonstrate the economic impact of America’s leading LGBT business owners and entrepreneurs. They generate sales, create jobs, pay taxes, and make investments. “These numbers tell the real story,” says Bob Witeck, President of Witeck Communications, whose company served as the analyst for this report: “We are just beginning to scratch the surface of our potential.” It’s important for companies to not just temporarily change their logos to rainbow colors to honor Pride Month. They must also follow up these symbolic moves with genuine support and make their actions live up to their words.

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