Rajan Luthra

The pride of brands

25 Feb 20198 min readRajan Luthra

Muffled whispers have broken into a jubilant cheer.  The country has been rejoicing the constitutional acceptance and inclusion of a not so insignificant chunk of its population. On a daunting struggle at several fronts – from the self, to society, to legality, there’s a rainbow that refracted on the horizon.

And so did rainbow colours brighten up our streets, walls, screens and papers. Tearful celebrations broke out and social media feeds flooded with congratulatory pride colours. Besides the ones with pinned hopes, netizens en masse welcomed the SC’s verdict, including a host of brands and businesses.

‘Let’s get one thing straight, love is love’ was Zomato’s rainbow burger; and a smart ‘about time’ is Indigo’s pride. L’Oreal understands ‘we’re all worth it’ while Café Coffee Day knows ‘a lot could happen over coffee for everyone’.

Witty ad copies and even poignant communication such as Swiggy’s ‘it’s not been a piece of cake, but we got there’ have been doing the rounds on social media. While some of these brands focus more on metro city-millennial audiences, there’s also Zee’s ‘moment of pride for India’, Mother Dairy’s pride of diversities and ITC’s ‘nothing to hide’.

Even as most brands’ social media communications hinge on everyday news and popular culture besides planned campaigns, it’s a noteworthy shift. The shift is in recognizing queer and alternate sexuality as fast turning into dominant conversation themes, to which their consumers subscribe. It reveals much about how the hushed dialogue around LGBTQ, has gained confident decibels in larger sections of the society in recent years. And brands hanker to be as righteous and progressive as their consumers ask of them.

This also ends up moulding conduct within these organizations – brands and their agencies – employees, even if unknowingly, internalize a sense of inclusivity at workspaces.

The legalization-of-homosexuality-celebratory campaign, which brands ran on their social media, fosters positive loopback into the society, whom they want to please. In this double feeding cycle – they’ve added to the popular culture that will be consumed by thousands, and will eventually, change narratives and beahviours. Millions found solidarity with gay rights as they traced their cabs over rainbow marked routes on Uber’s app. Ola’s app taxis are still painted in pride colours 5 days after the judgment.

With Sec 377 in place till now, most brands underestimate the value of, what is popularly called pink money. With World Bank’s 2014 report suggesting that LGBT stigma and exclusion could cost us up to 1.7% of our GDP, it is in their interest to proactively harness inclusivity – as internal culture and consumer interaction.

Treading trends with social media posts must pave way for consistent communication and engagement. Taking the rainbow from one day post to a TV commercial spot is the next step. There’s a shift in the codes of pride!