Pride has become a global celebration; and now, more than ever, brands have a greater opportunity—and responsibility—to play a part. In recent years, some of the world’s most respected brands, including Adidas, Disney, Lego, Levi’s and Mastercard, have committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community, using their stage to share stories of diversity, equity and inclusion and their own role in progressing equality.
Advocating through trust
Today, more consumers are looking for businesses and brands to take a stand from a social responsibility perspective. In its Trust Barometer 2021 study, Edelman reports that it has never been more apparent that society at large has “high expectations of business to address and solve today’s challenges. The increased expectations of business bring CEOs new demand to focus on societal engagement with the same rigor, thoughtfulness, and energy used to deliver on profits.” CEO Richard Edelman remarked on the findings of the study, “Business has to embrace its broader mandate . . . stepping into the void left by the government, which means taking a lead on everything from systemic racism in jobs to infrastructure and sustainability.” Businesses and brands not only have the opportunity to participate in and lead conversations on societal movements; their customers and consumers want and, in some cases, demand it.
The power of storytelling
With that in mind, all great brands recognize that stories are powerful, and they know how to harness their strength. Stories educate and inspire readers and listeners, ultimately influencing conversations and changing minds. Brands have an essential role in making meaningful connections and understanding what individuals want to see and hear from an experience. Similar to our recounting of the best Super Bowl commercials, we are noticing which brands show up to celebrate Pride each year, and whose stories feel most poignant and impactful. One of the breakout voices recently has been Oreo, whose broadcast campaign captured the beauty of acceptance in a powerful and authentic way. Oreo and their agency worked to ensure that diversity went into every aspect of the production, including casting a real-life gay couple as the acting leads and working with a transgender cinematographer. Brands might ask themselves whether they help the community see themselves—and even find themselves—in the stories that they tell.