Could LGBT-Inclusive Marketing Be a Business Boon?

A recent survey from Ogilvy suggests that a sizable percentage of Americans are keeping an eye out for issues of LGBT inclusion when it comes to brands. But another survey from 4A's suggests that dipping into political issues should be handled with care.

Taking an LGBT-inclusive stance with your marketing is something that the public is likely to welcome. But if you’re going to do it, don’t just pay it lip service.

That’s a finding of a recent Ogilvy survey, released at the tail end of June’s LGBTQ Pride Month, that discussed the impact of LGBT-inclusive stances on brands. The ad agency’s survey of more than 1,000 Americans (including 400 LGBT allies) found that nearly two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) said that the rise of LGBT-inclusive brands are good for the economy. In addition, 64 percent said these initiatives reflect American diversity.

But Bill Berman, an account director for Ogilvy and the cochair of the agency’s Ogilvy Pride efforts, said that the findings suggested that diversity initiatives need to go all the way to truly be successful—something supported by the survey, which found that 68 percent of respondents believed brands needed to “walk the talk.”

“Our survey demonstrates that creating LGBT-inclusive advertising should be more than just a diversity initiative. When it’s done right, it can be a way to drive value at a higher level for an entire business,” Berman said in a news release.

Worth Speaking Up?

The research is colored by another recent report from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), which not only found in a May survey that 58 percent of consumers dislike when brands get political but also that brands that took a negative stance (i.e., took a racist, sexist, or anti-LGBTQ stance on an issue) were more likely to suffer negative repercussions than brands that took more positive stances. But, according to 4A’s Chief Marketing Officer Alison Fahey, even positive political stances didn’t move the needle.

“Consumers are not looking to brands to take a position on political or social issues. In fact, there’s typically more risk than benefit,” Fahey said in a news release. “Brands taking a negative approach risk backlash, and only a small percentage of consumers are moved to buy from positive messaging.”

The Ogilvy survey suggests that, at least in the case of LGBT issues, it can potentially be a boon for businesses. The survey noted that 63 percent of LGBT allies and 48 percent of Americans as a whole would avoid purchasing services from a company that knowingly discriminates against the LGBT community. On the other hand, the survey found that 64 percent of LGBT allies and 46 percent of Americans would be more likely to work with a business if it used inclusive advertising.

Check out the full infographic below:



Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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