Rainbow Capitalism - Good or Bad?

June, or Pride Month, is a time of the year many LGBTQ+ individuals eagerly look forward. Cities large and small hold events and festivities across the country. After two years of uncertainty, many in our community are thrilled to get the full Pride experience and celebration back. 

Of course, no Pride month would be complete without the flood of Rainbow Logos from corporations paired with their specialty rainbow products. You’ll notice the wave of Companies that adjust their social media photos, store aisles filled with rainbow clothing, and many cities quite literally paint their sidewalks with the color pattern. 

Have you ever noticed or wondered about this explosion of the rainbow phenomenon?

There’s actually a name for it - Rainbow Capitalism, sometimes also referred to as “Pink Capitalism” too. 

Now I know what you’re thinking, and yes, any good Marketing Team should build synergy on current events. After all, companies such as Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Entrepreneur all report that the estimated buying power of the LGBTQ+ Community is around 3.7 trillion dollars. As a non-heterosexual myself, I certainly appreciate the representation and effort put forth by so many companies in June. However, many in our community take offense to rainbow branding.

How could showing support be offensive? Well, when support is only showcased one month of the year, it certainly feels suspicious. As we near the end of June, companies will begin adjusting their LinkedIn photos back to their standard images and the rainbows on store shelves will dissipate. This “come and go” support does leave me, personally, feeling slightly mocked, and I know I’m not the only one with these sentiments. The struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals span 365 days a year, needing support and pride for more than just a month.  

How can Rainbow capitalism benefit the LGBTQ+ community? Some companies have found this balance, such as Chipotle. Each year, the company launches a Pride line of merchandise, but the company forms various partnerships and sponsors Pride events. In 2021, the company partnered with famous Drag Stars to create custom orders on their to-do app and each star got to donate proceeds to their selected charity. In 2022 Chipotle partnered with The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ individuals. If more companies took this approach, the effects of Rainbow Capitalism would have a much more profound impact on the Rainbow community itself. 

As we wrap up another Pride month here in 2022, ask yourself if your organization participates in any sort of Rainbow Capitalism - and if it’s the good or bad kind. If you’re a leader with influence in your company, don't shy away from publicly making a donation or forging a year long partnership with an LGBTQ+ foundation. Another option is offering paid volunteering leave to employees to support a Pride related event or cause. There are numerous ways to support, other than switching your logo to a rainbow design in June. 

What are your thoughts on this concept of Rainbow Capitalism? What can your company do differently? We’d love to hear your thoughts!