And how did this lead to the launch of Gen Z creator collective GT133?
The eight members of GT133, who are all hugely diverse, come together and create content for Gay Times on TikTok. That’s the primary vehicle, but the exciting thing is that we have a whole media estate that we can also bring them into, such as in-person events. It’s about faces, not formats. People can relate to faces. Our headquarters is at 133 Whitechapel High Street, so the reason we called the group GT133 is that it's a play on a TikTok house. And we're also supporting their aspirations. One of the GT133 members really wants to get into podcasts, for example. We're a media company, we have access, we have funding – we can get them into podcasts and support their career growth.
During Pride month, many brands find ways to include LGBT+ communities in their marketing campaigns. But what can they do to engage these communities internally?
Brands originally started [Pride discussions] in their marketing department; it's only now that they’re looking internally, but it should have been the other way around. The conversation must come from the organisational perspective. One of the first questions I always ask my clients is: what can we as an organisation give to the community? It immediately reframes the power balance; it shows we're in a position to actively do something. We're not here to talk about what we can take from the community for our own gain. The Pride flag, for example, or any iteration of LGBT+ related flags, belong to the community – they don't belong to you. Many of your employees are likely to be in the community. You can engage with them and ask them those questions.
In our Post-purpose brand landscape, do you think all brands have a right to take part in Pride?
I don't ever want to say people should or shouldn't play. I would like there to be an environment where every brand feels secure to enter the space. But many of them first look at Pride as a calendar moment. You shouldn’t be treating people's identity and personal struggle as a calendar moment. We’ve come out of the festivalisation of Pride, and now brands have got serious about it. But then I think the consumer will become exhausted by that too. In 10 years, brand purpose will be dead. I think we’ve commodified purpose, and in the future the consumer will say to the brand: ‘I don't need you to talk to me about XYZ. Do it, then shut up.’ I noticed that with how younger consumers responded to Pride month campaigns on TikTok in the past week.
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