New research into how companies’ support of the LGBTI community is perceived has been released, showing that LGBTI people want brands doing more than just sponsoring Pride events.

The survey, released by YouGov and conducted in the UK, was conducted in response to the presence of over 400 companies sponsoring or paying to be involved with Pride events.

59 per cent of LGBTI people said they would view a brand more positively for using rainbow flag imagery, while 65 per cent said sponsoring a Pride event would change their perception of a brand for the better.

Among non-LGBTI respondents, only 25 per cent said they would respond more favourably if a company used a Pride flag, with 27 per cent saying the same if a brand sponsored an LGBTI event – with the figures rising to 36 per cent and 41 per cent respectively among those who said they supported LGBTI causes.

The research overwhelmingly showed that LGBTI people are more impressed by companies which enact material change to benefit their LGBTI staff and customers.

74 per cent of LGBTI respondents would feel more positively about a company which introduced policies or services to support LGBTI customers, and 66 per cent would respond favourably to brands which made their companies more inclusive of LGBTI staff.

Among allies, support for brands which introduced these policies hovered around 50 per cent.

LGBTI people also said it’s much more acceptable for brands to advocate on other social issues, including environmental causes (83 per cent), animal rights (73 per cent), gender equality (60 per cent).

63 per cent said brands should be allowed to have an opinion on LGBTI rights – likely a lower figure given the potential for that opinion to skew negatively.

When choosing brands to buy from, 34 per cent of LGBTI respondents said they were concerned about the treatment of staff, while 22 per cent said they were concerned about whether a company’s values aligned with their own.

30 per cent were concerned about whether companies have ethical sourcing practices.

August 31 was Wear it Purple Day, an initiative designed to highlight the importance of promoting LGBTI inclusivity in the workplace – reflected here in respondents’ desire to see more LGBTI inclusion in the workplace.

Corporate sponsorship of Pride events and involvement in the LGBTI community can be controversial, but with funding ever more scarce for LGBTI organisations – and LGBTI consumership ever more disparate – involving brands has, in some corners, become a means of survival.

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