Why Brands Should Foster Long-term Relationships With the LGBTQ+ Community

Increasingly, brands need to focus on establishing long-term relationships with the LGBTQ+ community and invest internally in cultivating a culture of diversity and inclusion.

In a conversation with Adweek’s Brittaney Kiefer during Social Media Week Europe, Natalie Wills vp, brand,, emphasized the brand’s deliberate year-round commitment to investing in the LGBTQ+ community.

“We say pride 365 because we want to be able to be able to work with this community 365 days of the year and not only put our rainbow flags up during pride month,” said Wills. launched its inclusive hospitality training initiative, Travel Crowd, to make LGBTQ+ travelers feel more welcomed by hoteliers in 2021. By training the lodging staff for free on the unique challenges faced by the community, the online travel agency has reached a “milestone” of 50,000 properties across 120 countries this week, according to Wills. is one of a few brands actively prioritizing investments in understanding the LGBTQ+ community. Transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney’s critique of Bud Light for its tame response to a transphobic backlash led to a 24.6% sales drop for Bud Light, according to Forbes.

“As a brand, you have to accept that if you’re going to be part of this fight, you’re going to get backlash,” said Jack Hyslop, video editor, Coolr, at Social Media Week. “But it’s about knowing how to deal with that backlash.”

A long-term commitment

In response to a public question on how brands that have previously shown support for the LGBTQ+ community can take a more proactive role, Jen Leung, director of social and communications planning at Leo Burnett U.K., highlighted Absolut Vodka. The brand shifted its strategy towards building enduring partnerships with the LGBTQ+ community, demonstrating a commitment to ongoing engagement and support, noted Leung.

“[Absolut Vodka] has been around supporting the community for 40 years,” said Leung. “It all started with a one-page ad in Advocate, a U.S LGBTQ+ publication. They’ve come such a long way since then.”

Addressing the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community, comprising numerous subcultures, Leung emphasized the importance for brands to invest time in understanding this multifaceted community. Brands should offer access to tools and resources and actively involve community members in meaningful conversations as part of their approach to engagement and support, Leung said.

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