Last week, as part of Pride Month, Imran Khan, creative agency lead from Google, came to our Boston office to talk about how brands and marketers can more effectively engage the LGBT community. Google has a history of publicly supporting the LGBT community, including speaking out against Prop 8 in 2008 and becoming the first big tech company to cover a cost for same-sex domestic partner health benefits in 2010.
Khan highlighted Google’s Project Lambda program, an internal sales force that works with LGBT advertisers or brands who want to successfully market to the LGBT population. He emphasized the importance of advertisers reaching out to the LGBT community, as Community Marketing estimates their buying power to be $790 billion. Yet only $29 billion is spent on LGBT media each year. Additionally, Khan stressed how influential marketers can be for the LGBT community—both in a positive and negative way. For example, 45% of LGBT consumers will research if a company is gay friendly before making a purchase; 50% have switched products after learning of a company’s negative attitudes toward LGBTs.
That said, for now it seems that mainly tech companies have been reaching out to the LGBT community - for example, take Amazon’s recent Kindle ad. Digital advertising offers a great opportunity for advertisers to engage the LGBT community, as that segment is very active on digital media. But many companies, such as Oreo, are just starting to explore that threshold.
Khan closed his remarks with advice on how to create an effective story to better connect with consumers. “Create an image that is bigger than you, and maybe even bigger than your brand,” he said. He listed four steps that marketers can take to create a powerful story: think broader than your target mark, ask a question to which you don’t know the answer, let media be a part of the story, and erase the boundary between digital marketing and “real life.”
Want to learn more about reaching the LGBT population? Check out the study we released with Community Marketing earlier this month-- the industry’s first large-scale research about LGBT mobile device habits.