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When companies turn away lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) customers, they're snubbing their piece of a $743 billion pie. Investors might want to pay close attention to the savvy companies that do serve this audience well.
Nearly 60% of LGBT adults are more likely to buy routine products and services from companies that market to the LGBT community, while 34% have switched providers or products after learning of a company that isn't doing right by the community.
"When brands actually create campaigns specifically targeting the LGBT community, they get comparatively stronger [returns on investment]."
Macy's recently ran an ad featuring two wedding rings, with the tag line, "First comes love, then comes marriage," noting the "milestone" of gay weddings being permitted in California. That's an effective pitch, but the folks at Harrah's outdid it. An ad for the casino company's Paris Las Vegas location also features two rings, but reads, "Well, that took a lot of work. Now for the fun part." This conveys the company's understanding that before LGBT customers could celebrate those rights, they had to struggle for them.
Another effective ad comes from Wells Fargo, listing the specific evidence that the company treats its LGBT employees well: * Perfect 100% on Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index (2004-2009) * Full domestic partner benefits * A non-discrimination policy including both "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" * LGBT team member networks throughout the nation -- forums for LGBT team members and allies to connect with each other, the company and the community * No. 2 of the Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees -- DiversityInc (2009)
McDonald's ran a commercial in France featuring one teenage boy with a crush on another. It was circulated widely online in the U.S. and generally applauded. But it didn't run in the U.S., and when an executive called it "a mistake" and confirmed that it wouldn't run here, the LGBT community was not pleased with Mickey D's.
Some ads can manage to both please and appease. A few years ago, for example, General Mills ran a commercial for Yoplait where two women in a spa are eyeing a male worker, which is the norm. But LGBT viewers might note that they're talking about women, since they refer to dating a "masseuse" (the female word for masseur). And one of the women in the ad was a leading actress on Showtime's lesbian-centered The L Word.