The Lasting Impact Of #LoveWins on Social Brand Marketing


There is a huge wind of change in the air.  The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to legalize gay marriage across all US states underlined the strength of that wind.  

That day saw many years of small changes add up to a huge shift which was marked by an outpouring of hope and celebration across the US and across the social platforms that bind us.

Brands Joined In Using #LoveWins   

The influencer at the center of the conversation, Barack Obama, set the hashtag of the day using #LoveWins in his tweet of 10:10am ET. After that moment, usage of the hashtag skyrocketed as the conversation on social platforms around the world did too.

Spredfast Intelligence shows there have been 10.8 million Tweets shared using the #lovewins hashtag. 3.6 million of those had been posted by 1.30pm ET on Friday. That’s nearly as many Tweets posted during Game Six during the NBA Finals using the #NBAFinals hashtag during Game six.  

As many outlets reported, brands exploded on social channels following the SCOTUS ruling.  Even companies that tend to stay out of political conversations were emboldened and proud to enter into the discussion in the way that was right for them.

Some changed logos, such as American Airlines:

Companies such as Uber went a step further and changed their actual user interface so that Ubers close by could be seen with small rainbows streaming out from behind them – a change Uber also shared on Twitter:

Other long standing supporters of gay rights, such as YouTube, put out wider integrated campaigns. The video platform rolled out a new #ProudToLove spot that was perfect for this historic day and was created around the Pride weekend celebrations.


Why Did So Many Brands Feel Emboldened?

This was a moment in time in which the US did change forever. For brands, it was about so much more than making a decision whether to share a smart post about a celebrity’s hat at an awards ceremony, or a putting out a well-timed piece of creative around a sporting event.   

This was a point in time in which all of the country was talking about the same thing, and so brands could do the same. We only need to look at Facebook for confirmation – the platform provided a simple way to turn profile photos rainbow-colored on Friday as a way in which to show support for the decision, and more than one million changed their profile in the first few hours, a number which continued to grow over the Pride weekend—topping 26 million as of this writing

This was a moment of seeing a real social movement in action – in which social building blocks happen all at once, and the hive is connected all at the same time - something sociologist Dr. Alondra Nelson talked more about on Neil Degrasse Tyson’s StarTalkRadio here.

Does This Wind Of Change Mean Brands Need To Change Their Approach?

David Armano, Global Strategy Director at Edelman shared thinking from Edelman’s 2014 Brandshare study that discovered that brands need to meet consumers rational and emotional needs as well as a third dimension Edelman calls "societal".

He continues that brands aren't only built but they are preserved and must evolve along with highly empowered consumers who now make decisions with not only their hearts and brains but also their conscience.  

It's certainly a new America that is emerging, one in which there are now more millennials than baby boomers - and, for the first time, there are now more children under 5 who are of color than those who are white.

Any brand that wants to have a long lasting relationship with its fans and followers needs to take this societal component into communicating across all channels, and keep a close eye on the wider conversations happening around it.

Where Will This Play Out Next?

The swell of pride and celebration around the Marriage Equality ruling is just one example of the way that social media underpins and drives important conversations today, both at the national and the global level.  

There is a massive wind of change blowing on the national conversation that is fueling this fire. As Michael Moore posted on Facebook last week:

“While angry white men stew and wonder what happened to their roost, the young, the women, the working poor, the people of color have forged an intense political bond. Having raised their voices higher, having suddenly been filled more with a sense of hope than one of despair, this alliance is now poised to catapult further...It's a new America that is fighting its way out of the cocoon.”

As we look ahead, there are many moments in time that will continue to stoke this social conversation. These range from the events we do know about - America’s 239th birthday this coming Saturday or the “social elections” in 2016 - to those that we cannot predict, such as the terrible events taking place in Charleston two weeks ago.

Brands will need to follow the principles of engaging in real time conversations, but also be sure to hold up that societal lens to any activation they are considering. Certainly not every moment will be relevant, and social marketers need to sit up, look and truly listen to be sure they can continue to find a voice in these nationwide conversations, particularly as election season heats up.

See how Lucky Charms celebrated Pride Month with their #LuckyToBe campaign.

Gemma Craven's picture

Gemma Craven

Gemma is the Executive Director of Strategic Markets at Spredfast where she leads Spredfast's North American team of Market Directors - social business practitioners and key partners to Spredfast's clients and prospects. She is also a WOMMA board member, runner, and owner of a Boston Terrier named Stella.