Pride, which began in the wake of the Stonewall Riots against police discrimination towards the LGBT community in New York, has evolved since 1970. As the movement for equal rights and protections has matured and gained support, brands and organizations alike have moved towards showing their support for the LGBT community. These five brands don’t stop at donating to equal rights organizations – they’ve taken extra steps to freely associate themselves with the community in the name of equality. These brands showcase authentic customers and proudly emphasize their community values through a value-oriented message. Instead of a professionally edited, stylized look at the LGBT community, these brands champion authentic representation through honest reflections of people and how they associate with these brands.
Morphe’s diverse customer base is reflected in their imagery, but their ongoing support of The Trevor Project– a nonprofit LGBT Support service, aligns the brand further with their community’s shared values. Morphe Cosmetics’s brand identity is tied to the LGBT community. Perhaps the greatest example of this is on Morphe’s website & Instagram – they’ve chosen to publish UGC of all their customers, celebrating their unique identities. Morphe’s message is about highlighting beauty regardless of how you self-identify.
2. Kimpton Hotels
Kimpton’s message is one of a feeling of respite when traveling and in the “home”. The boutique hotel chain emphasizes the importance of not simply celebrating the month as an event, but pushes a powerful message of inclusivity. Kimpton’s message offers respite and relief, both physically and mentally. As another supporting member of The Trevor Project, Kimpton is another brand going the extra mile towards highlighting their inclusivity and equality towards their customers.
3. BH Cosmetics
Representation matters beyond Pride. Showing diversity on a brand homepage and landing pages as a mainstay of their marketing efforts, BH Cosmetics actively pushes for all customers to share their makeup photos – which are often used on their landing pages and homepage. BH has helped raise the bar for makeup brands supporting Pride – not satisfied with a rainbow logo for Pride month, BH is running their UGC content machine in high gear.
“Every day is Pride Day where the colorful rainbow expresses diversity and love is always love.”
Pride-themed products may explode in popularity during June, but for activewear retailer K-Deer, pride isn’t just a marketable season. Brands that understand the support the community needs, directing their efforts towards building up resources, carry a level of authenticity that cannot be easily falsified. K-Deer’s yoga pants line received a new Pride-themed addition with a portion of the sales going back to the Hetrick Martin LGBT Institute– and if yoga pants aren’t your thing, the K-Deer homepage blocked off a large chunk of “retail space” to encourage donations to the Institute. Their authenticity has gained recognition from prominent community icons such as Jonathan Van Ness, of Netflix’s Queer Eye.
5. Kenneth Cole
It’s more important than ever that a message of inclusivity is broadcast from traditional media, social media, brand messages, and beyond. Kenneth Cole’s household name recognition goes a long way – and with the resources at hand, they didn’t just make a one-off limited edition “Pride” shoe. They created an entire line of Pride apparel – the “Pride” collection, with shoes and shirts, memorializing the Stonewall Riots in ’69, and more. Also of note are KC’s “Courageous Class” and “For Good” campaigns – spotlights run by the brand on individuals and causes (such as equality for all) are promoted by the brand.
What these brands all learned is when they took their Pride support to the next level – their customers responded. By highlighting the most authentic and truest forms of their brand, passionate customers as they are, these brands create a deeper sense of community that resonates with their audience.