As another pride month comes to a close with a culmination of celebrations this past weekend, it’s wonderful to see some familiarity coming back into the world. Public spaces are reopening and rainbow flags and signs can be seen all across the city, inviting guests in to join the festivities.
Over the last few years we’ve seen heated discussions about corporations changing out their normal brand colors for rainbows. With many in the community questioning their intentions and authenticity it certainly begs the question: Is this truly creating visibility and representation for the LGBTQ+ community?
Today, a lot of brands are aligning themselves behind social causes and cultural identities. Since the mid 1980’s, Sprite has aligned itself with hip-hop culture and the brand has stayed true to their identity. Just a few years ago Nike made waves by launching an ad campaign featuring polarizing ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick. This move aligned the brand with the BLM movement and videos flooded the internet of people burning their Nike products. Despite this backlash, Nike’s loyal customer base who feel similarly on the controversial topic helped the brands sales to jump following the ad campaign. As Marty Neumeir explains in his book The Brand Gap a brand is not a logo. A brand’s identity goes beyond its logo or corporate identity system; It comes from a person’s gut feeling about a company; an emotional response.
As more brands are using social causes to create an emotional connection with customers the feeling becomes less and less authentic. This is especially true during pride month where we see several companies in support creating specific product promotions and adopting a rainbow color scheme on their logo, all in the name of awareness. It certainly does help bring awareness but it doesn’t create proper visibility and representation. This year, a lot of companies are beginning to put their money where their mouth is which is great, but what does creating true visibility and representation look like?
For us, this looks like elevating LGBTQ+ brands and organizations through design with purpose; Good design that does good. Last year we had the opportunity to work with the non-profit organization Reaching Out. We partnered with Twisted Simple in creating a website design that’s reflective of Reaching Out’s mission to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals to come together as a community and support each other while navigating the daunting job placement journey that accompanies attending MBA programs. We love the social impact of increasing representation and visibility by placing LGBTQ+ individuals into corporate leadership roles.
We love working with causes we’re passionate about! Let’s have a chat!