Pride Starts Today: Here’s How It Affects Local Business

This weekend, more than 50,000 people are expected to hit the streets of Salt Lake City for the Utah Pride Festival and Pride Parade. But this Pride festival isn’t just attended by members of the LGTBQ+ community. Festival goers can expect to see a broad turnout coming to show their support.

It’s great for any business to show support of events like this throughout community, but one can’t help but take note of the exposure these businesses are gaining from their involvement in the event. Throughout the course of the weekend, thousands of people are expected to hit the sponsored-covered streets of Salt Lake City to show support of the LGTBQ+ community. Exposure through banners, social media posts, and even good ole’ word-of-mouth provides businesses with an incredible advertisement opportunity and the ability to tap into other markets across the state. Even if that means taking a short-term hit.

It doesn’t matter that Stoneground Kitchens, a local restaurant just across the street from the festival grounds, actually reports a decrease in sales (due to the food trucks) throughout the event, they’ve still made it a point to be involved in Pride since the birth of their restaurant. The potential of decreased sales over the weekend doesn’t stop this local restaurant from showing their support as a proud Pride sponsor. In fact, the sponsorship and word of mouth during the event helps fill restaurant tables just about any other weekend throughout the year.

“Being a member of the gay community in a conservative sate, it’s helpful to know who your allies are, and where you can feel safe,”says Stoneground General Manager Joy Bradford. “We serve and employ a diversity of ethnicities, gender identity, and sexual orientations. Each Pride festival creates an opportunity for us to market our inclusive brand to a new generation of festival goers, which potentially creates new customers.”

Although becoming involved in an event like this may hurt your business initially, like it did for Stoneground Kitchens, becoming affiliated with a “good cause” like this helps boost brand equity in an unbeatable way. For example, Patagonia released a “Don’t Buy This Jacket” advertisement campaign that encouraged shoppers to “buy less on Black Friday.” By opting out of the sales holiday, the company aligned with a good cause that resonated with people. And that was more important to consumers in the end.

For others, participating in pride is a way to introduce themselves to a new audience. “Though we are in our 15th year and distributed in over 300 locations across the Wasatch Front, we still find people who do not know we exist” says Michael Aaron, Publisher and Editor of QSaltLake Magazine. “To get in front of the most supportive people in the valley gets our name out in a way nothing else could match.”

It was easy for a local publication like QSaltLake to decide to show their support for the event. In fact, they’ve been a part of Pride for 14 years.  With a regular publication directed towards the LGTBQ+ community (and their allies), QSaltLake takes pride in enriching “the lives, the culture, and the camaraderie” of Salt Lake City through events like Pride 2018.

“We have sponsored Pride since our first year in 2004” says Mr. Aaron. “The people who put on the Pride Festival and Parade are incredible workers with passion for what they do. It is always a wonderful experience to support Pride.”

Even companies like Momentum Recycling, were ecstatic at the chance to be involved with Pride as a “Green Sponsor” for the second year in a row.

“We jumped at the opportunity to participate in Pride” says Jason Utgaard, Marketing Director at Momentum Recycling, “it aligns with our focus on engaging in events that support the entire community, embrace diversity, and otherwise remove barriers to the collective wellbeing of our society.”

“Participating in Pride for us is purely to show that we care: we want to support efforts to make our community all-embracing and respectful of others, less divisive and more celebrative.” Says Mr. Utgaard, “we take pride in that, which we feel our customers take pride in supporting.”

The festival and parade are put on by Utah Pride Center, a local support center for LGTBQ+ community members throughout the state. It is the largest fundraising event for Utah Pride Center, and turnout is expected to be a success.