EconomyLGBT+ diversity: "It is not that companies do not...

LGBT+ diversity: "It is not that companies do not change the avatar, but it is insufficient"

In June, the networks are filled with color, companies and people use filters and change their photos, avatars and logos with the colors of the rainbow, as a show of support for the fight for the rights of the LGBT+ community. In fact, in June and July, companies generate more than half of their messages (53.3%) around this topic, according to the study ‘Companies and LGTBIQ+ diversity in digital conversation’, prepared by LLYC.

Hence, the debate about the so-called rainbow washing , which is riding the wave of changing logos and putting up rainbow flags, but without substantive actions in favor of diversity and LGBT+ inclusion.

“In recent years there has been a growing trend of criticism of brands – pinkwashing , rainbowwashing – I think it is important for companies to position themselves, it is not about doing less, but about doing more. It is not that the companies do not change the avatar, but it is insufficient”, says David González Natal, partner and general director of the northern region of LLYC. “One of the recommendations is to seasonally adjust the conversation. One of my hypotheses is that companies position themselves mostly in pride, because they have little to tell”, says the manager.

To carry out the study, LLYC mapped the 25 companies with the most followers on Twitter in each of the markets in which it operates (Spain, Mexico, United States, Portugal, Latin America) and analyzed their conversation during the last three years. In total, 78,000 messages were analyzed.

In the last three years, company conversation (which encompasses messages from brands, company CEOs and user responses) increased 17.7% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021. However, social conversation it decreased 64.4% in 2020 and 17.5% in 2021. “It is something that makes sense, because there have been no physical pride parades , which generate a lot of conversation,” explains González.

Even though companies’ conversation increased, their messages only represent 0.46% of the total conversation, a very low representation. Worse still, within the company conversation, only 1.5% are proactive; 0.2% is generated by their CEOs and 98% are messages from users on this topic directed at companies.

While CEO conversation is very low, it has grown 5% in recent years. “It’s like a ray of hope that they are realizing that company leaders need to position themselves. They must be more proactive, give messages from the personal self”, comments González.

The topic in which the conversation is positioned the most is about the trans community. According to the study, in 2021, company CEOs focused 48.9% of their messages on the trans community; while companies and their brands dedicated 36% of their conversation to this topic. Both figures are well above what is generated in society, where only 16% of messages are focused on the trans community.

“That is a most positive surprise. It is about getting out of generic messages to go to specific things that are pain points for the group, where companies have a lot to add, because one of the big problems is the lack of social and labor inclusion”, says González.

Companies in Mexico fall short

In the country, the conversation on networks around the LGBT+ theme is minimal during the year. Within the 12 countries analyzed, Mexico only represents 4.2% of the proactive messages of the brands. On the contrary, the United States, Spain, Panama and Argentina lead the volume of proactive conversation of companies, with a participation of 63%, 9.8%, 6.8% and 5.5%.

“The recommendation we make to companies that are in markets where there is less conversation is especially important, because their employees feel disadvantaged and need their company to position itself more than ever. And the clients and consumers alike”, comments González.

As with the other countries, June and July represent the strongest peak of conversations; where in the case of the country, 58% of the messages throughout the year are concentrated in those months. Worse still, of the total conversation, brands barely generate 3.5%, while CEOs are silent on the matter.

“It seems key to me that where there is less conversation, which normally corresponds to where society has made less progress in terms of law on these issues, and when there is a setback, companies should show more support,” recommends the specialist.

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