Rainbows are everywhere as Pride month advances. It’s not just members of the LGBTQ+ community flying the rainbow flag however, with more businesses than ever showing their support.
When you’re running a business, it’s easy to get caught up with the facts and figures and forget what you’re doing it all for. Follow the rainbow this month and inspire Pride in your customers, employees and your local community. By doing so you will not only find a stronger connection with customers but maybe even a pot of gold.
One major way your business can make an impact is through its connection with the local community. Stop selling and start helping; host an event or workshop and give something back to the people who rally around your business. Community engagement events are a great way of doing this, where local businesses get the chance to interact directly with members of the public.
There is a range of different events you could try, with some resonating better with certain sectors. For those companies who are selling a skill, hosting workshops are a great way to share your expertise - not to mention show off a bit. For example, a bakery could host cookery workshops. The workshop would showcase the employees’ skills as well as provide key exposure for the local store.
Other ideas, such as volunteer events and charity fundraisers are great ways to showcase your company’s authenticity. For Pride month, take your team to your local parade or even donate your time or monthly proceeds to an LGBTQ+ charity. Some of the world’s biggest brands have embraced the community spirit, with Nintendo organising a Pride party with Gamer iNC in 2018. This event united Nintendo customers and employees with like-minded LGBTQ+ communities.
Customers are at the heart of your business. They are the reason you exist, and their behaviour determines whether your company wins or loses. With this in mind, don't leave them on the sidelines. Online customer reviews and customer case studies are key techniques in ensuring your relationship isn’t forgotten the moment money changes hands.
Try including customers in your content, sharing positive customer experiences on social media, and even encouraging blogging contributions from members of the public. There is a wealth of knowledge waiting to be shared, so don’t hesitate to tap into it. Incorporating your customers’ perspective is particularly important during Pride month. Some of the biggest brands have already released new products and ideas to engage LGBTQ+ communities, such as BoohooMAN’s #LoveWithoutLimits gender-neutral range.
Whether your customers identify as LGBTQ+ or not, being more supportive could help your company experience greater brand loyalty. Recent studies have shown that 78% of LGBT adults and their social circle will switch to brands that are known to be LGBT-friendly.
It is easy to forget the cogs that make the wheels turn - as long as the wheels keep turning. The more disengaged employees feel with their company, the less motivated they are to generate sales. Transparency and openness is not something reserved just for your customers, your employees will benefit from this too.
The most efficient way to achieve this is through recruitment practices. First of all, consider that initial recruitment advert. A surefire way to alienate top talent is by suggesting bias - unintentional or not. Ensure you express acceptance towards all social groups, embracing talent from any sex, gender or racial background. All employees want to work for a company that accepts them for who they are, and those who feel supported are more likely to go the extra mile.
Particularly with Pride month underway, employers should be making the extra effort to support their staff members. Particularly for LGBTQ+ employees, it is important that employers pop up more than once a year. Offering frequent one-on-one sessions and even counselling hotlines can ensure employees feel supported and recognised consistently throughout the year.
Take a leaf out of Heineken's book, whose new ‘Go Places’ campaign showcases employee stories in a way to drive engagement.
At the end of the day, neither your company nor the rainbow flag should be taken at face value. The rainbow is much more than a parade and a big party, and your company means more than how it sells to people. Pride symbolises tolerance, acceptance and diversity. Assimilate this into your sales and marketing practices and you’ll send a clear message to your community, customers and top talent that you take equality—and their wellbeing—seriously.
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