The time is now: Activating LGBTQIA+ talent beyond Pride

LGBTQIA+ talent for Pride campaigns

With London Pride around the corner, top LGBTQIA+ talent & influencers in the UK face their busiest month of the year, but increasingly brands are realising their true year-round value beyond the obvious. 

In recent years, the importance of diversity and LGBTQIA+ representation in talent partnerships has been increasingly recognised by brands worldwide. While many brands actively engage with top LGBTQIA+ talent for Pride Month, many are missing out on the untapped benefits of extending these efforts beyond June.

If brands are enjoying proven success by activating top LGBTQIA+ talent with high engagement for Pride campaigns, why not reap the benefits year round?

Why brands should book LGBTQIA+ talent year-round

The LGBTQIA+ community is the biggest it’s ever been, with Forbes predicting it to hit $1B (USD) globally by 2050, and Kantar revealing that by excluding them from comms, brands seek to lose a potential $499B in the US or £33B in the UK (Source: Kantar). 

In 2024 brands should think beyond just looking to book LGBTQIA+ influencers for Pride alone, with 75% of LGBTQIA+ people and 51% of non-LGBTQIA+ people feeling more positively toward a brand that shows up for the queer community throughout the year. (Source: WPP Beyond The Rainbow). Brands that demonstrate allyship with LGBTQIA+ talent in 2024, despite any potential backlash, will earn greater support from the queer community and their allies.

Year-round collaboration with LGBTQIA+ talent also sends a powerful message of inclusivity and acceptance. A study by Nielsen found that 55% of global consumers are willing to pay more for products and services provided by brands that are committed to a positive social impact. (Source: Nielsen) By showing diverse voices, brands contribute to the normalisation of LGBTQ+ identities and help foster a more inclusive society.

LGBTQIA+ celebrity talent vs mid-tier LGBTQIA+ influencers

Brands are already tapping into this, with LGBTQIA+ celebrity talent and the most followed LGBTQIA+ influencers and talent in the UK increasingly working across long-term partnerships beyond Pride. The value of high-profile LGBTQIA+ talent has already been realised by brands, but in an increasingly competitive landscape brands need to look beyond the obvious.

Mid-tier LGBTQIA+ influencers and digital talent tend to be pigeon-holed by brands often only engaging them on short-term Pride campaigns – this is an oversight that brands will look to correct in 2024. Mid-tier LGBTQIA+ influencers and digital talent typically enjoy higher engagement rates compared to high-profile LGBTQIA+ talent. Their relatability, and deep connection with niche audiences often result in a highly engaged audience base. These are invaluable audience bases that will engage consistently throughout the year, not just during Pride. Brands that fail to recognise this, and overlook the lasting value of mid-tier LGBTQIA+ content creators, stand to miss out in 2024.

One-off Pride activations vs long-term LGBTQIA+ talent partnerships

One-off social activations are a quick, effective, and proven way to engage LGBTQIA+ talent audience bases in the lead up to Pride. Many brands, however, are losing out on the undisputed larger value beyond this.

Long-term talent partnerships, beyond a standalone seasonal event like Pride, allow brands to consistently tap into and build on audience interaction throughout the year. Long-term talent campaigns provide a larger canvas for brand narratives and multiple audience touch-points, allowing for truly reinforced messaging and ROI to flourish.Only activating LGBTQIA+ digital talent for Pride is not the effective seasonal marketing brands think it is; it’s more likely to have a negative impact as it perpetuates tokenism and can lead to the disillusionment of core LGBTQIA+ ally and target audience members.

LGBTQIA+ talent trends in 2024

In 2023, advertising budget allocation towards talent and influencers increased significantly, and in 2024 it’s predicted to increase even further (Source: Influencer Intelligence). For brands to remain competitive and fully engage with their audiences, consistent and long-term LGBTQIA+ influencer marketing strategy cannot be ignored.

Fashion is a central form of LGBTQIA+ expression, and fashion brands are leading the way by increasingly tapping into cultural shifts through partnering with LGBTQIA+ talent. Many fashion brands, for example, have employed the opportunity to empower trans and non-binary audiences by going deeper into the role clothes, style and beauty play in creating gender-affirming experiences. 70% of consumers said they’re interested in buying gender-fluid fashion in the future, according to Klarna. (Source: Klarna)

Partnering with unique LGBTQIA+ talent year-round will replace the tired cliches and tokenism of booking LGBTQIA+ talent for Pride only, and help brands to cut through the noise. Activating LGBTQIA+ talent and queer content creators provides authentic representation of diverse identities, and not only engages audiences from within the LGBTQIA+ community but with allies too. These audiences will positively engage and show up for brands partnering with LGBTQIA+ talent throughout 2024.

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