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Creative Brief: How can the marketing industry more authentically engage with the LGBTQIA community all year round?

by | Jun 24, 2024

picture showing people walking on concrete from the calves down and they are wearing tennis shoes and rainbow socks.

Originally posted on Creative Brief by Georgie Moreton on June 24, 2024.

 

With Pride month upon us as a general election sneaks around the corner, it is becoming increasingly more difficult for brands to stay silent on the issues that matter.

Pride month was once a sea of rainbow logos on Linkedin. Yet arguably, today businesses and consumers alike are immune to rainbow washing. Instead, businesses that show commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and stand by their values all year around are the ones that remain in favour.

In an era of politicisation and polarisation, a growing number of  brands are staying silent for fear of backlash or getting things wrong. The rainbow logo might once have been the pinnacle of lazy performatism however now brands are going one step further and doing nothing at all.

In an industry where our actions have the power to change the narrative either through authentic representation that increases visibility or via unpicking a media ecosystem that is quite literally funding hate crimes, doing nothing is not an option. If your organisation or brand is forgoing a Pride campaign because it seems performative, then what meaningful action are you taking instead? What are you doing year round to more authentically support the LGBTQIA community?

Advertising data shows that 60% of LGBTQIA+ people in the UK believe that brands should express their views on political and social issues compared to 41% of non-LGBTQIA+ people. Given that 67% of LGBTQIA+ consumers are more likely to recommend items that they see in advertising than their non LGBTQIA+ peers (49%), it’s important to take note.

We asked the industry, how can the marketing industry more authentically engage with the LGBTQIA community all year round?

 

Stephanie Nadi Olson.jpeg

Stephanie Nadi Olson | Founder of We Are Rosie

Authentic engagement with any community starts with inclusion on your own team. Diversity and Inclusion has to be woven into the fabric of your company and show up in the values of your company and team, not just in your outward-facing image. Your employees and your clients will see through performative activism, which is a beautiful gift of accountability.

For marketers, you simply can’t create meaningful marketing when the communities you want to reach don’t have a seat at the table, contributing to the work you put out in the world. Since I started We Are Rosie six years ago, more than 30,000 marketing professionals have joined our community for connection to flexible and independent work. Their reasons for leaving the corporate world are as diverse as they are, but one that we hear over and over again is that they felt “otherized,” traumatized by traditional work, and discriminated against for being themselves.

Remote, flexible work frees marketers from company cultures where they aren’t seen as whole humans. It provides a layer of psychological safety. For those coming from the agency world, it means they get to choose which clients they work with, never having to compromise their values to earn a paycheck. For people who have been “otherized,” it provides a way for them to contribute their gifts on their own terms. How can you, as a leader, create circumstances where more and more people feel safe and welcome on your team? How can you incorporate your commitment to inclusion all year long- into the very fabric of how you work- instead of just one month each year?

If you’re a brand or company leader who wants to support the LGBTQ+ community all year long, look at how your team is working. If it’s strictly 9-to-5 in-office, then you’re missing a critical piece of inclusion in your internal structures, and you’re missing out on a whole lot of talent who can shape your external presence in authentic, meaningful ways.