WI’s Raul Rios on: Luxury labels marking milestone with Pride partnerships, events

WI’s Raul Rios on: Luxury labels marking milestone with Pride partnerships, events

“Authenticity for brands during Pride Month really comes through in the consistency and depth of the consumer engagement,” said Raul Rios, vice president of strategy at Walton Isaacson, Los Angeles. “The community values strong support from brands over time, similar to any relationship between two people.

Luxury brands are looking to make the LGBT+ community feel welcomed and supported through special partnerships, events and merchandise as Pride Month kicks off.

As consumers become more likely to support brands with like-minded values, luxury brands are becoming more vocal of their support of the LGBT+ community. This June marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising in New York, bringing more gravity to the annual celebrations.

“Authenticity for brands during Pride Month really comes through in the consistency and depth of the consumer engagement,” said Raul Rios, vice president of strategy at Walton Isaacson, Los Angeles. “The community values strong support from brands over time, similar to any relationship between two people.

“If you show up only once a year, how can you really sustain a deep and meaningful relationship?” he said. “Even if the duration of the engagement is shorter, the proceeds can go to community initiatives that live well beyond the initial campaign.”

Pride power
This year, many brands and retailers began their Pride campaigns early. Several efforts are centered around New York, which will host this year’s largest Pride celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

Department store chain Bloomingdale’s is joining the city of New York in its celebration of gay pride with a special pop-up shop.

Carousel @ Bloomingdales: Pride for All, which features a curated collection of merchandise in addition to a variety of events throughout May and June, was created in partnership with the editor in chief of Out Magazine (see story).

Retailer Saks Fifth Avenue is supporting the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative through a wide-ranging partnership, looking to raise awareness for the historical event in the LGBT+ rights movement. Saks’ multichannel campaign includes a capsule collection, digital short, window installments and more (see story).

Kimpton Hotels’ New York properties have special offers available during Pride Month, which include donations to The Trevor Project. Kimpton will be serving Pride-themed cocktails and rainbow cookies, and guests can receive Pride-themed apparel or use body paint services for the parade.

Guests at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco can enjoy a Pride-themed afternoon tea, complete with rainbow-colored pastries. Half of the afternoon tea proceeds will be donated to Openhouse, which assists Bay Area LGBTQ seniors.

Fashion label Marc Jacobs is marking Pride Month with limited-edition metallic lip glosses. Through July 10, Marc Jacobs will donate 10 percent of the retail price of each Enamored (with Pride) Dazzling Gloss sold to SAGE USA, a charity that focuses on elderly LGBT individuals.

The Enamored (with Pride) Dazzling Gloss collection from Marc Jacobs
Other brands are actively showing support for their employees who may be part of the LGBT+ community.

Automaker Daimler AG will attend 13 Pride events between June and November, including parades in Dallas, TX; Tel Aviv; Rome; Detroit, MI and Berlin. Daimler expects 1,800 employees worldwide will participate in Pride parades, which will feature specially-designed Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks.

Inclusivity efforts
As affluents, particularly millennials, become more values-oriented when making purchases, brands are publicly becoming more inclusive.

According to a new report from WealthEngine’s Research Lab, many millennials make sure to spend their funds with brands that share their core values (see story).

LGBT individuals are also major forces in retail, spending more than their peers and making 10 percent more shopping trips. These consumers also represent a more than $5 trillion market, according to LGBT Capital, making them a consumer segment that luxury cannot afford to ignore (see story).

Some luxury brands have focused on inclusion beyond Pride Month.

Known for its inclusion and openness to the LGBT+ community as well as diversity as a whole, LVMH’s Sephora recently adopted a new manifesto committing to be more inclusive. The new campaign and manifesto is the culmination of a year, pledging to be more inclusive as both beauty and fashion brands work to include a diverse range of consumers (see story).

“For brands, it’s more important to understand LGBTQ rights are really fundamental human rights – the right to express one’s self freely, the right to define one’s own identity and the right to love whomever an individual chooses without fear of discrimination or persecution,” Walton Isaacson’s Mr. Rios said. “LGBTQs

are looking to brands for strong support, with 85 percent of LGBTQs agreeing corporations that support LGBTQ equality are more important than ever, according to a recent survey by Community Marketing Insights.”

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