Happy Pride Month!
June is chock full of observances and celebrations to remind you of your freedom to choose.
They culminate in major events on the last weekend of June, often referred to as Stonewall Weekend. It’s in memory of the June 28, 1969 riots by members of the LGBTQ+ community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in the West Village.
In my neighborhood, the parade barricades were in place along Fifth Avenue by Friday evening. The partying started going by Saturday afternoon so that the police prevented vehicle traffic from entering on our block.
That said, since New York City is the home of fashionistas, there was at least one person on every block who had taken the time to create a knockout outfit. If I had a fancy camera with a long lens, I would have snapped away to my heart’s content. But, with only my Google phone in hand, I felt like it would have infringed on their privacy.
Despite my support for LBGTQ+ rights, I decided to get my beauty sleep while they partied, so we headed uptown for the weekend.
Instead, we went to beat the heat, joining friends to visit the American Museum of Natural History. Here I am dressed in purple splendor in the Hall of Gems and Minerals (and, yes, my ears gets crushed by my mask Every. Single. Time.)
BTW—Want to get dazzled? Then check out this short video from the American Museum of Natural History.
Regardless of sexual orientation, remember you have the right to be recognized for who you are. And Pride month focuses on love, diversity and acceptance.
Further, you can choose to support the people you love and care about as well as your broader community.
When it comes to promoting your business—you must think beyond a good marketing hook.
Because your broader audience is not only watching what you do but how you do it. So rainbow-themed window dressing alone doesn’t cut it.
This applies across your entire organization. Bear in mind that marketing extends beyond your promotions and has an impact on your HR and other departments.
- Do you have one or two representatives of a specific minority on your payroll?
- What does your senior management look like and how do they relate to your buyers and wider community? I once worked for a clothing business that mailed a catalog into mainly Black neighborhoods and no one checked whether there were any Black models. (And, yes, there were NONE!)
Since PRIDE month lasts for all of June, almost every store in Manhattan got the 411 Alert!
How do I know?
Because most of the windows were dressed in an array of rainbow colors. Even Shake Shack had a special Pride Shake. (Personally, I stuck with my tried and true chocolate!)
While I’m the first to advocate for making holidays work for your business and windows, I don’t believe in what my friend and colleague Katie Martell calls “woke-washing”. This means using a holiday that doesn’t apply to your business so you can look like you’re inclusive.
What does this mean for your marketing?
Tread carefully and consider which holidays matter for your business and your audience. For example, when I was head of marketing at the online division of The Economist, I refused to run a Valentine’s Day promotion.
Because it didn’t make sense for our offering. Who finds the news romantic? Of course, a year later, a couple was written up in the New York Times Wedding section because they met on an airplane and both pulled out their copies of The Economist, print edition.
Instead of rushing to celebrate every possible holiday, choose those holidays that make sense for your business.
In Memorial: Rhonda Khearns Drake
While I don’t add personal notes to this newsletter, I wanted to take a moment to honor my close friend and former colleague Rhonda Drake.
Rhonda put up one of the strongest, most valiant fights against breast cancer I’ve ever witnessed. She kept going and going and going. And, if sheer willpower was all that was needed, Rhonda would still be alive.
By itself, this isn’t a marketing story. It’s brave and strong but not marketing.
What makes this a marketing story is that Rhonda introduced me to and recommended me for my first teaching position at NYU. Of course, it was up to me to create and teach the course.
And, as many salesmen will tell you, personal recommendations makes a significant difference in getting any position.
Heard on the Streets of New York City
Last week, I was walking by the Harry Potter Store on Fifth Avenue and a couple had stopped to ask the guards about how to avoid the line. He informed them that if they arrived at 7:00am they could beat the line.
The math confused me—getting to the store 3 hours before it opens is still a 3 hour wait.
If you have an example of another business that continues to create customer demand like Harry Potter, please let me know!
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Welcome Mat Photo via Mabel Amber – https://www.pexels.com/photo/jetty-feet-sign-wooden-128299/ cc zero
Mayor Bill de Blasio leading the NYC Pride Parade – abc7ny.com
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