Brands Can Take Pride in Contributing to Growth of LGBT+ Support in Ireland

by | 1 Jun 2024 | Insights

Brands can ensure their communications strategies connect with the Pride values of inclusivity, respect, and acceptance.

More than three decades ago, as the peace process ramped up in Northern Ireland and Niamh Kennedy secured another Eurovision title with ‘In Your Eyes’, the year 1993 delivered another historic event – the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland.

Prior to June 1993, it was illegal to be homosexual in Ireland and engaging in a same-sex relationship had serious implications including the possibility of criminal prosecution, employment discrimination, social stigma and mental health impacts.

Thankfully, that was then.

Almost 31 years on, times have changed with June 2024 marking a special and significant month in the LGBT+ calendar – PRIDE.

As organisations embrace the rainbow, it’s important to reflect on how far we have travelled and analyse the impact Irish and global businesses have had in our celebration of diversity and inclusion.

On a recent trip to Cardiff, Wales, with my choir, Gloria – Ireland’s oldest LGBT+ choir! – I had a lovely chat with a member of the South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus about Pride month. I asked him how Cardiff celebrates Pride and if he was excited. His response was one I’ve heard a lot in recent years. Yes, he was looking forward to the party, but he felt the celebrations have become overly ‘commercial’ in recent years which has impacted his enjoyment and potentially diluted the original spirit and intention of Pride.  

While I share some of those concerns about the creeping commercialisation of Pride, I also feel that this shift to the mainstream – a bigger, louder, truly national celebration of diversity and inclusion at Dublin’s Pride event, is a positive thing. And when you consider the gains made by the political far-right at the recent European elections, it’s more important than ever.

Brands embracing Pride

Several household brands have been part of the LGBT+ movement for a long time: Absolut Vodka, Nike, Starbucks, along with tech giants Google and Apple. Their influence has encouraged conversation, moved the dial on acceptance and encouraged participation in celebrating LGBT+ people worldwide.


Closer to home, ever more Irish brands have showcased their support for LGBT+ rights, to form a connection and to build brand loyalty and trust with customers. Some of my favourite campaigns include: ‘Light up the Stadium’ by Aviva, SuperValu’s ‘Wear with Pride’ and the brilliant Dublin Bus Pride campaign ‘Coming Out With’, featuring LGBTQ+ individuals telling their stories and encouraging others to embrace their identities.

For both global and Irish brands, integrating LGBT+ campaigns into their communications strategy isn’t just about supporting a cause. It’s a strategic move that can enhance brand reputation, foster customer loyalty, promote social values, and provide economic benefits for the company.

In tandem with communications strategies, partnering with a relevant charity can generate genuine authenticity and connection with customers. For example, many Irish companies have been active in showing their support for the Irish LGBT+ youth charity BeLong To.


Pride communication strategies for brands to consider

There are no right or wrong answers to how brands can ensure their communications strategies connect with the Pride values of inclusivity, respect and acceptance. Here are three simple steps companies can consider:

1. Inclusive marketing campaigns

Develop campaigns that reflect the real-life diversity of the LGBT community. You could consider including LGBT+ individuals or couples in ads, making sure the narrative is inclusive and respectful.

2. Community engagement and sponsorship

Support LGBT+ organisations and events by sponsoring Pride events, collaborating with non-profits and supporting initiatives that benefit the community.

3. Supportive workplace policies

Review your workplace policies and ensure there are guidelines to protect and support LGBT+ employees. This includes non-discrimination policies, equal benefits for same-sex partners, transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage and employee resource groups for LGBT+ employees.


Finally, brands should remember that while June gets all the attention as official Pride month, the LGBT+ community will still be there when the parades are over and the bunting has been packed away for another year. Real solidarity, genuine inclusion, comes from year-round support.

Enjoy the celebrations! 🏳️‍🌈

Cullen Communications - Aoife McDonald

About the author

Aoife McDonald is an Associate Director with Cullen Communications, working with clients in branding, lifestyle, sports and sponsorship


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