By Jeff Meerman, APR – Posted: June 4, 2020

Every June as millions of people start celebrating Pride month across North America, we need to keep in mind the origins of the movement and what it really means. Pride started as a protest by the LGBTQ2+ community. So how can organizations show genuine support without coming across as inauthentic?

When I was leading the annual Pride public relations campaign for a national organization, a marketing manager from another company contacted me to find out how to get more involved in the Pride parade from a marketing perspective. I think it was great this company wanted to be more involved but I’m not sure they liked my answer.

To “ask for the business” of any customer segment, you first have to earn the right to ask for that business. The company I worked for at the time had earned that right through work it was doing to support the community, through community giving, customer support and employee health benefits to name just a few. Supporting an annual event is great but being there 365 days a year is even more important.

Communications professionals call these “proof points.” Essentially, before an organization can say something publicly – like “We Support Pride” or “Standing with the LGBTQ2+ community” – or any other community for that matter, they must have examples of how they are actually supporting people. Otherwise, it’s just words on a page – key messages – or platitudes and lacks credibility. 

The good news is that every organization can get to that place by doing things – large and small – to support communities. Whether that’s through volunteerism, workforce make up that’s reflective of those communities or financial support of community organizations, these things all add up.

So while supporting Pride is fun and shows support, it’s really more than marketing. The impact of supporting communities is more impactful and can eventually lead to opportunities to do more business.