With less than a month to go, brands should prepare for a Pride Month like no other.
As politicians propose a record number of more than 470 bills attacking LGBTQ+ rights across the country—specifically headline grabbing anti-trans and anti-drag bills—brands must proceed by understanding the landscape, the direction that activism is taking on both sides of the political spectrum and what being a corporate ally actually involves.
Brands that feature transgender people and drag queens are finding themselves in the center of an increasingly polarized culture war, as Anheuser-Busch recently discovered.
After a Bud Light social activation campaign featuring trans TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney prompted an anti-trans backlash, the company responded not by defending its approach, but by backing down. It placed two top marketing executives on leave and has vowed to “streamline the structure” of its marketing going forward.
As the unfortunate situation has proven, it’s an unprecedented time and brands should anticipate a reaction from any Pride campaign, or really any campaign featuring LGBTQ+ people. Nobody has all the answers, but brands should think about the following as we head into Pride:
Consider your intent
Given the charged cultural and political moment, brands need to decide on their level of commitment. How do you show up? Where do you show up? Why do you show up? Is it to expand your consumer base or to show that you’re LGBTQ+ friendly? That’s not enough this year. This is not the year for rainbow design or “Love is Love” social media posts. You will actually be harming your brand equity if you take a performative stance.