(Don’t) slap a rainbow on it

A friend of mine sent me this meme:
slap a rainbow flag corporations lgbt marketing


Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing an outpouring of love during Pride month. New Orleans is a little different than most cities. Here, rainbow flags stay up year round. But when brands or businesses take their mainstream marketing, and then just slap a rainbow on it and call it a day, they’re not being authentic. This kind of marketing tactic makes me wonder: Are they doing it out of support for the community or just looking for anything that will bring them that coveted “pink dollar”?

Trust me, I get it, it can be confusing for businesses, especially small businesses, to know how to navigate these waters. So, let me give you a few pointers to make your LGBT marketing more authentic.

3 Ways To NOT Just Slap A Rainbow On It:

1. WORDS MATTER
The language you use to convey your message can be powerful. Using words that convey an open, inclusive, inviting tone will go a long ways to attracting a wider audience. Not to mention, it can also make those who are not part of the LGBT community view your business more friendly and open.

2. IMAGERY IS KING (OR QUEEN)
Any audience you are trying to reach wants to see themselves in your creative. Consider doing a photo shoot with an LGBT couple or a group of friends to convey that feeling. The best part is that millennials and younger audiences expect brands to be inclusive, whether they themselves identify with being LGBT or not. So either way it’s a win-win for you and your brand.

3. MAKE SOME NEW FRIENDS
Affiliations or sponsorships can show you’re supporting the community. Locate your local LGBT Center, HRC, or LGBT elders or youth groups to work with them on sponsoring an event or help them with t-shirts or other resources. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment, but a little love tossed their way will go a long way in gaining you new brand advocates and customers. Then, feel free to shout it to the rooftops that you’re involved with that organization on your website, ads or on your social media accounts by including their logos and adding content that supports their cause and mission.

Overall, take the time to do your homework in order to create messaging that is authentic to your brand, yet speaks to the LGBT audience.

We’ve worked closely with New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation for almost five years helping them go from “not on the LGBT radar” to being named one of last year’s Most Welcoming Cities (and trust us, we removed a lot of rainbows along the way). The result: our imagery and tone is not only connecting to the audience in a unique and friendly way, it’s still authentically New Orleans. And in the end, that’s what’s drawing more and more people to this great city every year.