September 30, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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LGBTQ+ brand strategy—4 ways marketers can champion inclusivity year-round

Bud Light seemed to externalize the brand’s growth ambition without first transforming its internal systems and culture. Lapses in approvals up the chain of command have come to light—and misaligned priorities result in misaligned marketing. 

When it comes to social justice and DEI matters, brands should aim for a do-then-say approach—grappling first with bias and exclusion in systems, ways of working and organizational behaviors.

Explore year-round commitments

In addition to examining how they treat their employees, brands should also compare the impact of marketing to other company commitments and initiatives. Instead of running a single campaign or partnership around Pride, a brand might have a larger impact by supporting the LGBTQ+ community in other ways throughout the year.

This can include ensuring all campaigns they run are inclusive and representative, donating portions of sales to organizations supporting LGBTQ+ communities or including inclusivity messages on packaging year-round. But it also goes deeper and can include lobbying political organizations for pro-LGBTQ+ legislation (and equally, ensuring they aren’t donating to politicians who support anti-LGBTQ+ laws.) Brands should also look carefully at whether the events they support or sponsor are welcoming to LBTQ+ consumers. 

There are many brand lessons to take away from the recent Pride marketing controversy. But many are fundamentals: Know yourself, know your audience, appeal to common values and higher-order ideals, keep yourself accountable and don’t get out over your skis when it comes to marketing.

Brands can move people and the world forward. So, it’s important they continue to grapple with important topics and champion more inclusivity and Pride in the months and years ahead. That means going beyond a temporary rainbow-colored logo to year-round support and commitment.


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