Although some brands may feel satisfied with turning their logo into a rainbow during Pride Month, a new survey from WPP shows that there’s more to be done. A lot more. The “Beyond the Rainbow” report from the world's largest agency holding company includes insights on how brands can move beyond surface-level LGBTQIA+ marketing while shedding light on how different demographics view gender fluidity and coming out at work. It also documents attitudes toward queer media.
The report, published in the wake of the shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado that left five people dead and 22 injured, notes that more than 1 in 3 people who identify as LGBTQ+ encountered some type of discrimination in 2020 in the U.S. This includes discrimination experienced by 3 in 5 transgender people in the same period.
The study, created in partnership with the company’s LGBTQ+ group Unite and its data group Choreograph, surveyed 3,500 queer people in the U.K., U.S. and Canada along with 4,000 non-LGBTQ+ people in those countries. To help distribute the survey to more diverse groups, the firms also partnered with organizations including U.K. Black Pride, Diva magazine, the HRC and myGwork.
Below, some key findings from the survey.
Companies need to do more throughout the year
The report shows that 52% of LGBTQ+ people surveyed say they do like it when brands change their logos for Pride Month. But it also revealed that 3 out of 4 LGBTQ+ people and 50% of non-LGBTQ+ people think that brands need to do more.
This includes giving to charities, raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues and increasing representation. According to the report, 67% of LGBTQ+ people and 67% of non-queer people believe that there should be more advertising featuring queer people. And 59% of queer people surveyed feel the current representation feels "tokenistic." This percentage jumps to 67% for queer people of color, and to 70% for trans and nonbinary respondents.
“Signals of inclusion within comms are only as effective as the customer experience those comms are promising,” said David Adamson, deputy head of strategy at The &partnership and founder of WPP Unite, quoted in the study. “If your new brand advert includes trans characters, but a trans customer gets to your website and can’t register for your products and services in a way that reflects their gender identity, then you’ve lost and frustrated them."