NEWS21 June 2024

Authenticity the key to Pride success, Streetbees findings show

Inclusion News North America Trends UK

UK – Year-round support for people celebrating Pride month is perceived more positively than a short-term splashing of rainbows, according to research by conversational research specialist Streetbees.

Rainbow flags pride_crop

The study of consumer expectations of brands that engage with Pride month, found that the vast majority of people ( 75%) feel positively about brand engagement with Pride, but 39% see rainbow marketing as disingenuous and inappropriate.

The findings show that a rainbow marketing campaign is not enough; to resonate authentically and demonstrate genuine allyship with LGBTQ+ people, brands must take meaningful steps to demonstrate their inclusivity not just during the month of June but all year round.

When asked how brands should support these groups, consumers cited year-round engagement ( 40%) as the most important factor, followed by LGBTQ+ support ( 31%), inclusive practices ( 29%), charitable donations ( 22%) and inclusive advertising ( 20%).  

“Adopting inclusive logos as a one off simply isn't enough,” said Vidisha Gaglani, CEO of Streetbees.

“People believe genuine support should have a tangible impact. Brands that represent and champion diversity and inclusivity in all of their activities are seen to be authentic." 

Streetbees’ research was based on conversational surveys with 1,067 consumers in the UK who are aware of Pride month, conducted through its SBX insights platform, which ooptimises its questions in real time to gather richer responses at scale. 

The findings echo research in the US among 4,000 people who said performative or superficial Pride gestures, often called "rainbow washing", are met with scepticism and can damage trust in brands.

That research, conducted by SurveyMonkey for Curiosity at Work, found that people expect a consistent, year-round commitment to LGBTQIA+ inclusivity; 40% said the gravest error a company could make during Pride month was to overlook internal issues such as discrimination, harassment, or the absence of inclusive policies within their organisation.