Some preliminary findings from the expansive 2010 Out Now Global LGBT Study will be released this week, and the results suggest that corporations worldwide have more to gain than lose through ‘public displays of affection’ towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) customers and staff. According to Echelon, initial results show the powerful gay consumer market – accounting for 6% of all sales worldwide – will choose brands that support GLBT customers with visible, well-targeted marketing campaigns.
“After ‘coming out’, LGBT people in 2010 are now well advanced in the process of ‘coming in’ – into the mainstream of society in many ways,” says Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now – a global LGBT marketing specialist agency. “There still exists levels of discrimination and misinformation directed against LGBT people – but this new research reveals a clear trend,” says Johnson. “Gay consumers switch brands to support companies that support LGBT customers and staff. This is highly significant – and valuable.”
This news comes on the heals of Target and Best Buys’ highly publicized support of anti-gay Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Rob Emmer. This move has enraged gay activists and has company shareholders worried. The retailers’ ill-advised political contributions will no doubt cost them dearly. The Human Rights Campaign has demanded the two companies make an equal contribution to that organization’s cause. Neither has ponied up, but Target Chairman and Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel did issue a half-hearted apology yesterday. Better late than never I suppose.