June 12, 2020

Celebrating Pride in 2020 & Beyond

Amid a summer of unforeseen circumstances, Pride's rainbow flag sways to a slightly different breeze. Even so, the worldwide LGBTQ+ community is built on resiliency. Organizers, revelers and supporting brands are getting creative with what it means to celebrate the movement and deepen its roots in positive change.

Social restrictions associated with COVID-19 halted some of the vibrant parades that Pride is known for. Those same routes are now home to peaceful protests against systemic racism nationwide. In this piece, we discuss ways Pride can evolve its footprint, maintain its momentum and support familial movements for equality.

2020 Pride started how it all began, with protests—not parades. It's important that anyone participating in Pride first reflect on the movement's history. The Stonewall Riots were largely led by LGBTQ+ people of color, including Marsha P. Johnson, who spearheaded change in the face of fierce opposition. That intersectionality is something to be embraced and built upon when planning for Pride now and moving forward.

By partnering with established networks, amplifying BIPOC voices, and including fundraising efforts, Pride can be an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 and going forward.

Multipurpose educational booth at PCMA 2020

Designed to feature equity-themed content, this space positioned Columbus as a forward-thinking city rooted in fairness and ingenuity.

Columbus PCMA Exhibit

Conference Marketing Activation
San Francisco, CA

Experience Columbus

Moving Forward

Pride's recent history has been centered on the celebration of progress made, and of that yet to come. The calendar year has already seen the unimaginable repeat itself, but this remains true—Pride is and always will be worth throwing a party for.

Guaranteed rain or shine, Pride parades and city festivals have come to represent the social gravity of the LGBTQ+ community. Community leaders around the world have been pivoting those plans in response the COVID-19 public health crisis. As of April, almost 140 Pride events around the world have either been cancelled or postponed. The moral liability in bringing such crowds together is a nonstarter.

Now what? The show must go on, one way or another. Smart organizers and brands will empower their communities in the spirit of Pride whether it happens online or on the moon.

The New Normal

Jam-packed Pride events will be missed in the short term. They'll be back, but things are a little different for the time being.

We might not see rainbow-clad parades, but in-person events will take place in some form or fashion later this year. Riding the daily challenges presented by the coronavirus situation, these events are sure to carry some level of restriction on overall size, person-to-person contact and/or duration. Sanitization will be another priority, as will PPE and social distancing guidelines. Brands can help to invest in these practical safety measures and in their clear communication to guests before and during the event.

Alternatively, the internet is a natural gathering place for the LGBTQ+ community, serving as a vital tool for organizing and informing the public dating back decades. Online events ensure safe social distance while adding a worldwide inclusion factor that's tough to replicate at even the largest in-person Pride events.

Many well-established events have already made the move to an all-digital format. Groups behind the world’s largest pride celebrations are planning a 24-hour, virtual Global Pride event, for example. Culturally-active brands like Klarna are doing the same.

Activate In New Ways

So maybe a parade float is off the table. Thinking outside the box with brand-forward Pride campaigns is always a healthy practice, pandemic or not. The LGBTQ+ community is bursting with creativity, meet these talented folks at a brainstorming table to develop unique and authentic work. No idea is a bad one—now more than ever.

High-visibility public art, social media sweepstakes and digital content packages are safe and effective ways brands can convey engaging Pride-related messaging while live events remain restricted.

Don't Forget the Basics

Creating an authentic brand-forward experience for the LGBTQ+ community requires thoughtful consideration of cultural and social constructs. By partnering with local Pride organizations, brands gain the insight and understanding that leads to truly impactful creative work.

Forward-thinking brands activate Pride year-round by including other associated holidays in their marketing mix. And, they enact meaningful internal change by finding ways to improve and support diversity and inclusion in the workplace. As many brands are learning now, sometimes the best way to show solidarity isn't to show it at all.

We Can Help.

Don't think you have to do it all alone. From planning to execution, we can help ensure your Pride event runs safely and smoothly.

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