June 29, 2017

Businesses need to show pride not prejudice

Businesses need to show pride not prejudice

June is LGBT Pride Month – celebrating lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and people who are transgender (LGBT) by standing together to support them against discrimination and violence. Pride is about positivity and many LGBT Pride events have been held across the world.

In the corporate world, diversity is becoming an increasingly important issue and discrimination of any kind is becoming less and less accepted, especially by younger people. Brands and organisations need to be aware of this, and many choose to support inclusive events to show that they share the same values as the majority of their customers and clients.

There are some good examples of this in connection with Pride Month.

Coca-Cola for example is a supporter of LGBT Pride Month because it supports their stated plan to respectfully advocate diversity, inclusion and equality.  In a clever move they have linked their support to a campaign to stop the labelling of others and are making the point by removing the labels from its well-known drink to spread awareness of this issue.

 

Consumers are increasingly making decisions based on their shared values with businesses. Companies that show they accept all people improve their reputation with key consumer demographics. This is important from a social responsibility perspective but it can also lead to increased profitability.

PR is a two-way conversation. It is as much about brands adapting to their marketplace as it is about them telling the public about themselves.

In this case more brands are openly supporting diversity, both as a reaction to their public audience but also likely due to their own employees and brand ambassadors. Brands that move with the times and adapt to cultural trends by listening are more likely to succeed.

The reverse is also true. Businesses that show themselves to be discriminatory may face a backlash. If a company is seen as anti-LGBT then people may take their business elsewhere – and employees may also leave to work at a different company that shares their values and beliefs. This, in turn, will impact the company negatively.

But is it all about profitability?

There are a lot of businesses that support the LGBT community for more than just profit. They know their influence on society and they do it because they also want to make a difference. Disney for example is a key supporter of Pride Month and is also acutely aware of their ability to be a positive influence in promoting diversity, particularly to young people and children.

 

And it is working.  The British Social Attitudes survey shows that in 1987 just 11% of UK adults said they believed same-sex relations were not wrong. Now, in 2017, the survey has revealed that 64% of UK adults said they believed same-sex relations were not wrong.

Companies showing their support and engaging their influence in a way they know their community will appreciate on such a key issue is a good thing. LGBT Pride Month has the potential to lead to great change and those businesses embracing change, and creating meaningful dialogue with the public about their ethics and values, are the ones reaping the benefits.

 

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