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Effective communication during Pride month

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June is considered the Pride Month to celebrate and honor the efforts of the LGBT community in the movement to fight for gender equality. With the scale and global influence of this event, many brands have taken advantage of the opportunity to deploy communication campaigns to reach target customers of the LGBTQ+ community. But how to communicate effectively? How to show that brand respect for people of the third gender? With a global mindset and a deep understanding of Vietnam’s local culture, EloQ will point out a few notable points for brands when implementing marketing/communication campaigns targeting the LGBT community.

Be careful with terms/language 

The topic of gender is always one of the most sensitive topics in advertising and media in Vietnam. Terms about gender identity or sexual orientation are still new and have not been widely educated in Vietnam. However, that does not mean that the misuse of terms or misunderstanding of terms is “forgiven” by audiences belonging to the LGBT community or those who support the LGBT community.

Just recently, in the famous dating show “Who is that person?” including participants from the third gender community, received a lot of controversy when the MC showed a lack of knowledge about transgender people. Immediately, the program had to issue an apology and cut off the recording containing false information. Through that, we learned that in order to be able to communicate about the LGBT community, the first thing we need to ensure is a solid understanding of related terms to avoid causing misinformation or misunderstandings for people in the community.

Ensure diversity

Gone are the days when gay men were associated with capricious images, seductive gestures, flashy costumes and only played a funny role or were always in a state of tragedy and sexuality. The public is already fed up with these poor and prejudiced expressions.

Brands need to ensure they build people of the third gender with diversity in gender, age and skin color. Specifically, instead of just focusing on showing the image of gay men, there are still many sexual orientation groups that need attention such as Trans (Transgender), Lesbian (Lesbian) or Bisexual (Bisexual). In premium gym Equinox’s LGBT Alphabet campaign, the brand successfully used a simple alphabet to express the diversity of the LGBT community and challenge stereotypical representations of LGBT people. . Instead of limiting and explaining LGBTQA to 6 letters, the brand expanded to 26 letters, making the diverse image of the LGBTQ+ community both familiar and easy to remember.

In addition, it is not limited to the story of difficulties when coming out to family, there are many aspects that can be exploited to convey stories about LGBT such as career development or role in social and romantic relationships. Brands can refer to how the everyday images of the couple Ninh Anh Bui – Nguyen Tung Duong create great cognitive effects on the audience.

By carefully understanding and exploiting those aspects of life, brands can both honestly and comprehensively portray the LGBT community and contribute their voices in breaking the stereotypes and call for understanding in society.

Stick with the true value of your brand

A series of brands aggressively changed their packaging or organized events in response to Pride month. So why do they encounter controversy, criticism or even boycott from the public? The answer is that they abused Rainbow washing. Like Greenwashing, Rainbow washing is also a term that refers to brands profiting from social issues. Specifically, a brand is said to have abused Rainbow washing when they take actions or speak out in support of LGBT but only stop at shouting slogans and do not have any long-term or specific policies to directly promote community equality.

The rainbow-washing phenomenon is common in the Communications/Marketing industry. So where is the ethical boundary? The answer lies in the true value of the brand. Brands need to make LGBT support a part of their long-term values ​​instead of just treating it as a campaign theme for a few months. At that time, the brand will not only show demanding consumers images of six-colored flags but also an inclusive working environment and practical contributions to solving problems of the LGBT community.

To better understand the positive contributions that a brand can make to the LGBT community, we can consider the case of ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s with its campaign The Unbreakable Rainbow made in Poland. As one of the most conservative countries in Europe in terms of recognizing LGBT, people reacted violently and 7 times used fire to burn the rainbow symbol built by the Warsaw government. After that, the Ben & Jerry’s brand created a rainbow symbol made from water and light effects to convey the message that a rainbow made of water will fight the fires of hatred and affirm the resilience of the LGBT community in fighting for recognition. The campaign not only brought explosive media effects to the brand but also contributed to strongly affirming the brand’s commitment to supporting the LGBT community since 1989.

The companionship of LGBT people

This is an important and sensitive topic, so brands need to be very careful when implementing communication campaigns aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. An important factor to consider is that the selection of ambassadors and campaign leaders must be people who truly have a voice and reputation in the community. They will be the bridge between the brand and the target audience, helping to convey the message sincerely and reliably. In addition, the companionship of LGBT-related individuals and organizations will act as advisors to help campaigns maintain respect and reflect the values, needs and desires of people in the community. .

A common method in campaigns about the LGBT community is to use direct sharing from people in the community. The “Their Story is My Story” campaign is one of the campaigns that successfully and creatively applied that method. The campaign used celebrities to share stories of attacks targeting them on social media, then revealing that the stories were not their own but those of the LGBTQA+ community in France. As a result, the campaign successfully increased public awareness of the growing problem of gender discrimination in France.

Equal rights for the LGBT community is still one of the social issues of concern in Vietnam today. With the above notes, EloQ Communications hopes to contribute its knowledge and professional skills to help brands deploy communication campaigns aimed at the LGBTQ+ community effectively and responsibly, contributing to Spread good values ​​and promote equal rights for the LGBT community in Vietnam.

(X-posted on EloQ’s blog)

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