With the arrival of Pride month, many brands have noticeably jumped on the rainbow-trimmed bandwagon. From limited edition products to specialized packaging, companies are keen to capitalize on the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding this time of year.
But now that the rush is wrapping up, it will be easy to see what companies have an actual interest in marketing and supporting the LGBTQ community and which ones pander to them once a year during the festivities.
Marketing to any specific demographic is an art, especially one as diverse and multifaceted as the LGBTQ community, which includes a spectrum of ages, races, walks of faith and more. The community is not a monolith and requires a more nuanced approach from marketers — something beyond images of same-sex couples smoking.
First of all, if your team’s understanding of the LGBTQ community only extends to memes, catchphrases and a handful of notable celebrities, it’s time to do some research.
It’s important to actually engage the community beyond just language and imagery. Find a relevant and earnest way to connect to the audience that shows thoughtfulness and actual interest. Try honoring LGBTQ trailblazers of the past and present on your social media, speak up about issues that affect the community with intentionality or highlight the cannabis and LGBTQ communities’ longstanding history, which can be explored and shared with others who may not know how deeply the two are intertwined.
It’s crucial to remember that though marketing is just the forward-facing part of a company’s outreach to the LGBTQ community, what happens behind the scenes is just as important. When it comes to building a rapport and relationship that extends beyond trying to get LGBTQ consumers to buy your products and support your brand, you’ve gotta put your money where your mouth is.
Examine your brand’s core principles to see if you arewalking the walk and talking the talk. Is your company inclusive? Is your staff diverse? Does your marketing reflect your values? If you find that you are coming up short, then it’s time to make some changes and devise a plan for moving forward with integrity.
Lastly, make sure that you are being deliberate about being present all year long, not just in June. The Pride parades happening in cities all around the world are not the only LGBTQ events that you can support throughout the year. Consider donating to an LGBTQ organization, reach out to non-profits to see how you can help or sponsor an LGBTQ company whose mission you embrace and stand behind.
Finding ways to genuinely connect with the LGBTQ community is possible, but it does demand some reflection before attempting some engagement. First, ask yourself why your company feels the need to connect to the LGBTQ community. Why are you doing it? What is the motivation beyond money? Can you commit to showing up more than just during Pride month?
Once you can answer these questions, you can move towards creating a lasting and honest marketing strategy.
TELL US, which cannabis companies do the best job connecting with their consumers?