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Published August 9th 2019

The Story of Brandwatch’s 2019 Brighton Pride Parade Float

The Brighton Pride Parade is an epic celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, and this year we were lucky enough to be part of it. Here's how we went from a crazy idea to a massive float of emojis, what it meant to those who participated, and how we'll be keeping the pride spirit alive for the rest of the year too.

“I started planning Brandwatch’s participation in the Brighton & Hove Community Pride Parade on the 18th of January,” says Eve Plumridge, a member of Brandwatch’s Pride Committee who led our float project this year. A week later, she’s still trying to catch her breath.

Creating a float for Brighton Pride is a mission that requires determination, hard work, and late nights. It’s also a massive privilege that comes with a lot of responsibility – after all, Pride may be in August in Brighton, but our commitment to supporting the LGBTQ+ community is important all year round.

“Alongside many other initiatives, we wanted to give Pride day to our employees to celebrate their own diversity as well as share our support and love for the LGBTQ+ community with the rest of Brighton.”

– Eve Plumridge, Brighton Office Manager (and Pride Committee Member)

This is the story of Brandwatch’s float, in the voices of our staff, the people who helped us build it, and the pictures we took along the way.

The float

Brandwatch partnered with Specialist Models to create a massive emoji-cloud float that could carry around 45 excitable Brandwatchers (plus a sizeable sound system).

“We were absolutely thrilled to be able to collaborate with Kris Mohaved from Specialist Models again to come up with something really fun and unique for this special project. We first got to know Kris last year when we worked with him to create Fab and Scoop for the Snailspace campaign and were blown away by his model making expertise and ability to turn our ideas into delightful tangible creations.”

– Gemma Cooper, Design Operations (and Pride Committee Member)

The chipboard clouds and emojis that adorned the float are now going to be placed around our offices (waste not, want not). It took the Specialist Models team three solid days and late nights to cut out and paint all the individual parts, which completely covered the floor of their workshop in Cardiff like one big, crazy, wooden emoji puzzle.

The completed pieces were then driven by van from Cardiff to Brighton to be fixed into place on the trailer that would be carrying our Brandwatch pride participants and their friends through the happy streets of Brighton on parade day.

“We felt very privileged to work with the Brandwatch pride team on bringing their float idea to life, and to join in with the procession and celebration in Brighton.
This is the second project we’ve worked on with the creative team at Brandwatch. We’re two very different companies with HQs located on opposite sides of the UK, who have forged a special relationship through our great creative synergy and shared passion for experimentation and innovation. I look forward to the next opportunity for us to work together…”

– Kris Mohaved, New Business, Specialist Models

Brandwatch image
The final build begins...
Brandwatch image
...and finishes at 4:30am the morning of Pride!
“I read once that “to succeed, you have to work hard, never give up and above all cherish a magnificent obsession”. This definitely rang true at 4.30am when Christian and I pinned the last emoji to the float. It was the final manifestation of our collective passion to help do justice to the ethos driving pride, respect the deep commitment by so many to drive change, and ultimately ‘celebrate the you’ in all its glorious diversity.”

– Katja Garrood, Chief Design Officer

The design was glorious. I care a lot about this company being an inclusive and welcoming place full of diversity – this was a nice step toward that.

– Ali Lockie, Senior JavaScript Engineer (and Brandwatch Float Wheel Steward)

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s great to know that we have so many allies within Brandwatch. I am so proud to work for a company which actively supports diversity in all forms, which is why I loved our Pride theme. I’m also aware that we are very fortunate and not everyone in this world is as lucky to experience this level of acceptance, which is why it’s so important that we celebrate Pride and make it such a big deal.

– Georgia Noble, Inside Sales (and Pride Float Participant)

Our two Brandwatcher DJ’s kept our float riders and walking team bopping throughout the whole parade.

While the float carried us through the city, we blasted music, danced, and high-fived our way through the thousands of onlookers.

Pride is a big part of Brighton culture and Brighton is the home of our HQ, so it just feels right that Pride be a part of Brandwatch’s culture too. It’s so important for the company to say loud and clear “You are welcome here”.

– Jon Linklater-Johnson, Axiom & JavaScript Team Lead (and Pride Walking Steward)

Why emojis?

It was decided that emojis could provide a voice for Brandwatch employees to freely express themselves both individually and collectively.

Our float was a composition of crowdsourced emojis that we collectively use in our everyday communication with each other.

We also had out very own emoji t-shirts, individually chosen based on personal stories, character traits, or interesting anecdotes.

I’m 35, I’m gay, and I have never been on a Pride float before. The day was very special and emotional to me, I was overcome with the support and love from the crowds and will treasure the memory forever. I love that I work at an employer that truly values diversity

– Ryan Harrison, Research Manager – NA & LATAM (and Pride Float Participant)

Cakes and cash

Our Pride movie nights, craft evening, drinks trolley, and bake sale helped us raise over £1,000 for local charity Switchboard, that helps LGBTQ+ people find their community, grow in confidence and realise their own unique potential. They run a number of vital projects including a helpline, counselling, peer support, and drop-in cafes around Brighton.

You’re more than welcome to donate right here!

It smashed all my expectations. At every point I felt thrilled to be able to dance and walk alongside this amazing community as an ally. Also, to be able to bring my best friends who are part of the community and share that with them, its an unforgettable day that I’m grateful for. And Brandwatch gave me the opportunity.

– Georgia Abbott, Business Operations Analyst (and Pride Float Participant)

Bringing your whole self to work

 “It’s important to feel comfortable and happy to bring your full self to work every single day. For some, that may seem trivial but for people in the LGBTQ+ community, a lot of the time, it isn’t that easy and they don’t feel safe and comfortable enough to do so.”

– Eve Plumridge, Brighton Office Manager (and Pride Committee Member)

Brandwatch’s commitment to celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community doesn’t stop now Pride 2019 is over. We’ve got plenty planned for the future, like:

  • LGBTQ+ Awareness Training
  • Upcoming long-form reports on issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community
  • More events and projects from Brandwatch’s Pride Committee

And you can find out more here.

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Existing customer?Log in to access your existing Falcon products and data via the login menu on the top right of the page.New customer?You'll find the former Falcon products under 'Social Media Management' if you go to 'Our Suite' in the navigation.

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