Project: Webinar “Reimagine Pride - How brands sustain LGBTQ+ marketing communication and what's next”
Period: June 24, 2022
Partner: PRCA APAC Pride Network
Area: LGBTQ+ marketing communication, inclusive business, DE&I
Rainbow-washing is a critical issue in the corporate world and at the heart of many current conversations across PR and comms. In hopes of raising the standards in LGBTQ+ media comms / representation, PRCA APAC Pride Network led by chair Nikki Phinyapincha spoke with IBM’s Jeiz Robles, Korkaew Kampananon from dtac and Jean Dinco at ILGA Asia to address rainbow-washing and queer representation in media and corp comms in Asia.
Commodification and comprehensiveness
One critique panellists had of corporate campaigns around pride is the commodification and profiting from the queer struggle. To address this, Jean emphasised that “it’s very crucial to not only tap into one single narrative”. The queer community is not homogenous, she explained, and campaigns wishing to be inclusive need to steer clear away of stereotyped identities or “the palatable queer”.
In terms of LGBT communications, Jean suggested an inclusive, transparent approach was needed. "Always include the voices of the people who are benefiting from it and make sure that there’s really transparency on who gets the benefits and who gets harmed and what kind of advocacy and systemic policy changes the companies are trying to promote. Because more than anything, as part of the queer community, we want people to realise that there’s more to us than the pink money or the rainbow money.”
Commitment and consistency
So how do you go about creating more sustainable narratives or campaigns for LGBTQ+? Korkaew’s main tip was to create a tangible plan, so your support is not just a one-time activity. Then, have corporate leaders buy into the narrative. “Focusing on Asia, we’re a society that moves with a hierarchy, so if you can buy in your leadership, that would work really well.” It’s also important for campaigns to be comprehensively inclusive so they extend beyond just targeting the queer community. "If everyone buys in, if non-LGBT people get to see what you’re doing, and they get to give feedback, then they will begin to advocate for your campaign as well.”
Community and change
A good place to start building a diversity and inclusion agenda would be internally, with your own employees. But Jeiz cautioned that it’s not viable to directly import inclusive programmes used in non-Asian offices to Asian offices - the contexts are very different. With local engagement, employees will start to see the diverse and inclusive agenda that their organisation is trying to promote. “Not only that,” she continued, “they’ll be able to help you implement different things, programmes, trainings, or simple changes in behaviour, like using inclusive language in your day-to-day meetings - really implement things that matter to the community.”
Ultimately, the secret sauce for successful and sustainable LGBTQ+ marcomms is simple. “Treat LGBT people as people, not as a commodity, not as a moneymaker,” Jean concluded. “Then you can go from there. But just by treating us as people, you can actually see how your vision transforms. From there on, you can do more inclusive things.”
This article was originally written and published by Telum Media