Being intentional in our communications and marketing efforts has never been more important or necessary. The days of blanketing out a message are long gone and if a company has any hope of effectively connecting with an audience and be relevant to them, it has to show that it’s willing to go the extra mile and meet them where they are.
Each June we take the time to properly acknowledge the LGBTQ audience – how it continues to grow and its uniqueness as a population as one that spans cultures, skin color, age, gender and socio-economic sub-groups. Recognizing this point is key for the success of a brand looking to engage this audience. Forbes said it well – LGBTQ people are also African American, Hispanic, Asian-American and people with disabilities. As brands engage one cohort, they would be well-advised to see their customer base as something other than mono-characteristic, but diverse within its diversity.
Data surrounding this audience often changes and can be difficult to collect since it is mostly self-reported and often depends on whether or not an individual is ready to share their truth, but we do know that roughly 4-5% percent of the U.S. adult population identifies as LGBTQ. It’s also worth noting that younger generations are more likely to identify with a point within the LGBTQ spectrum than say, Baby Boomers, and as these younger people age, they will move into the part of their lives where big decisions and purchases are made. Establishing a relationship with these audiences now and prioritizing a pledge for inclusivity and diversity will demonstrate a commitment that can pay dividends later. e-Marketer notes that companies that have shown their support for the LGBTQ+ community may benefit from being inclusive in their advertising. About one-quarter (24%) of U.S. internet users also said they are more likely to do business with companies known to be LGBTQ+-friendly. Particularly, gay and lesbian individuals (71%), bisexual people (54%), millennials (32%), and high-income earners (34%) all said they’re likely to spend money with LGBTQ+-friendly businesses.
The 2020 Census is also bound to help further demonstrate the growth of this population. For the first time in the Census’ history, same-sex couples are being explicitly counted. Respondents were asked about their relationship to the person with whom they share their home, and options included “‘opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse,” “same-sex husband/wife/spouse,” “opposite-sex unmarried partner” and “same-sex unmarried partner.” In previous surveys, the options were “husband and wife” or “unmarried partner.” Again, this is not a perfect science or truly representative of the greater LGBTQ community since it will only collect data on same-sex cohabitating couples (and not individuals who do not live with a same-sex partner), but it will help in gathering crucial data and help organizations and companies alike more accurately meet the needs of this population.
As Pride Month continues, throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond, we encourage you to look at the opportunities that exist to engage the LGBTQ population. Social listening, audience research and community outreach are all ways to better understand this audience. And remember, like others, it requires a long-term and year-round commitment. Let us help.