Now, more than ever, consumers want to interact and purchase from brands that are authentic and clear with their messaging. With the rise of social media, it has become possible for audiences to educate themselves on, not only what kind of messages a company stands on, but also actively demonstrates.
In recent years, Pride Month has served as a time for the LGBTQ community to remember the political and social roots in which the month is celebrated. It has also become a reminder for companies of the importance of brand accountability.
As acceptance of the LGBTQ community has risen in the United States, brands have increasingly been introducing Pride campaigns to their social media content. Audiences have been quick to take note and welcome corporations that release inclusive material that is honest and transparent. They have also been quick to call them out when they aren’t.
Ipsy, a beauty box subscription company with more than 2.5 million subscribers, is an example for the impact brand messaging can have when it doesn’t seem genuine. In their kick-off to pride on June 1st, a video was posted on Ipsy’s social media channels highlighting LGBTQ creators sharing what pride and beauty meant to them. The first featured speaker in the video was Cassandra Bankson, a beauty YouTuber with more than 800,000 subscribers. In her segment, Cassandra made comments that were taken to be “transphobic” and “transmisogynistic.” People quickly took to their social media accounts to call out the company for their inability to realize how their content came across and felt that Ipsy didn’t exactly care for the LGBTQ population.
Social media users claimed that Ipsy was deleting negative comments from the video comment section. One user also tweeted a screenshot that appears to show Ipsy’s Twitter customer service account responding to their complaint with, “We hear what you’re saying, but ask that you respect how our creators choose to identify themselves.”
Backlash continued to grow after Ipsy failed to hold themselves accountable for their mistake until the video was ultimately deleted. Following the deletion of the video from all their social media accounts, Ipsy posted an apology statement on their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts that collectively garnered over 7,750,000 followers.
It is important to remember brand accountability can and will impact your brand reputation and the purchasing decisions of future customers.Click To Tweet According to the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “more than nine-in-10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause and two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR.” Brand accountability should be, and is expected to be, a cornerstone in all branded messaging.
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