Image Credit: Illustration by Josh Mckenna
Well, Pride Month has officially wrapped up, but here's the thing: the LGBTQIA+ community continues to fight for equality and acceptance every single day. So, dear brands, it's time to recognize that being an ally goes far beyond a campaign confined to one month. As businesses, it's not enough to just focus on climate action when it comes to sustainability; we must also embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion as core elements of any corporate social responsibility (CSR). At Hey Honey, we get it, which is why we've teamed up with the Diversity Standards Collective to gain unique cultural insights and better assist brands and organisations in authentically representing audiences and delivering on social responsibility - as humans AND corporations.
Brands need to be allies.
Let's face it: brands have an incredible influence on society. They shape perceptions, challenge stereotypes, and can make a real difference. By actively becoming allies to marginalized communities, including the LGBTQIA+ community, brands can enhance their reputation, build stronger customer relationships, and, yes, even make more money. Studies consistently show that consumers, especially the younger generations, are more likely to support brands that align with their values and prioritize diversity and inclusivity. So, by embracing allyship, brands can tap into a loyal customer base that appreciates and celebrates inclusivity, leading to sustainable growth and a positive brand image.
How brands can be allies and what they need to do (top-level tips): Now, let's get down to business and discuss how brands can be authentic allies:
a) Educate and train employees: It's time to create a workplace culture that values inclusivity. Provide comprehensive diversity and inclusion training to all employees. This helps foster understanding, empathy, and respect for different perspectives and experiences.
b) Amplify marginalized voices: Stop talking about diversity and start actively seeking out and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. Collaborate with diverse content creators, influencers, and organizations to ensure genuine representation and elevate underrepresented narratives.
c) Support LGBTQIA+ causes and organizations: Don't limit your support to a few financial contributions during Pride Month. Forge long-term partnerships with LGBTQIA+ organizations. Back initiatives that promote equal rights, provide resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals, and create safe spaces.
d) Review internal policies and practices: Take a good, hard look at your internal policies, procedures, and benefits. Are they truly inclusive and nondiscriminatory? Create an environment that respects and values all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
e) Listen and engage: Stop talking at the LGBTQIA+ community and start listening to them. Engage in meaningful dialogue. Seek feedback, address concerns, and continuously improve your approach to allyship.
The conclusion.. Brands, it's time to step up and support the LGBTQIA+ community throughout the entire year, not just during Pride Month. Remember, your CSR and sustainable development goes hand in hand with diversity, equity, and inclusion. By being genuine allies, brands can make a real impact, improve their brand perception, build customer loyalty, and, yes, even improve the bottom line. So, let's embrace allyship as a fundamental aspect of our corporate and human responsibility. Let's look outward to understand our societal impact and inward to align our purpose, values, and practices with inclusivity and equality. Together, we can create a more inclusive world that celebrates everyone, 365 days a year.