Pride Logo Effectiveness: Does the Rainbow Make a Mark?

How Pride Logos Impact Brand Reputation

Every June, like clockwork, brands switch on their rainbow logos to show support for the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month. We’re surrounded by these public displays of allyship, but do they really make an impact in a sea of rainbow logos and at a time when the public is demanding organisations go further to demonstrate advocacy? And do these updated brand assets lead to a reduction in brand recognition?  

Great brands are distinctive and recognisable, making them an easy choice for consumers. Our Distinctive Assets Testing reveals whether adopting rainbow logos makes a mark with the public. Read on to learn more about Pride branding.  

A Closer Look at Pride Logos

Our testing first looked at whether the use of Pride logos impacts easy recognition of logos for eight social media brands. We polled 600 consumers, a sample size that enables us to apply the findings to the general population. Participants were either exposed to the benchmark logos or the Pride logos. By testing people under time pressure to determine whether they correctly attribute the assets to each corresponding brand, we learn more about the effectiveness of these elements.   

Our parallel Distinctive Asset Tests determined that the most famous social media brands own their distinctive benchmark logos. Because of their Fame and easy-to-recognise logos, their multi-coloured Pride logos do not greatly hinder brand recognition. 

Next, we sought to uncover whether Pride logos are more closely linked to social inclusivity attributes. We conducted an Implicit Characteristics Test. Participants were shown either the benchmark logo or the Pride logo as well as a series of words in quick succession. They had three seconds to answer whether they felt the words describe the image.  

This testing revealed that the Pride logo for several brands leads to higher endorsement across several brand associations, most notably on “celebrates our differences.” However, with the Pride logos there is not a significant advantage on attributes such as “creates an equal platform,” “inclusive,” “educates me” and “supports good causes.” This indicates an uncertainty in brands’ Pride logos’ power to significantly communicate supportive messages to the LGBTQ+ community. 

Showcasing Support for the LGBTQ+ Community

Brands are no strangers to showcasing their rainbow logos during Pride. Our social media feeds are filled with these celebratory symbols, but they’re only around for the month of June. Come July 1, companies return to their traditional brand marks.  

While our research finds that a logo change during Pride Month will not significantly impact people’s ability to identify a brand, it’s important to go beyond this to demonstrate true allyship. Rainbow washing is an all-too-common occurrence. Today, the LGBTQ+ community and fellow allies want action. This can take many forms: prioritising partnerships with organisations that understand and support the community, bringing LGBTQ+ voices to the forefront, donating to causes that make a difference and encouraging and helping people to live as their authentic selves.  

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