Consumers DO Want Brands To Support LGBTQ+ People

You might not know it from some brands’ approach this year, but consumers largely want brands to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, during Pride Month and beyond.

Brand experience platform Disqo and Do the WeRQ –- a community focused on elevating LGBTQ+ creativity and representation in the ad industry -- released a new report  entitled "LGBTQ+ Advertising & Brand Experience,” which examined what consumers expect for LGTBQ+ representation during Pride month and beyond.

The report found that “Pride has become a mainstream affair.”

The study was derived from first-party data gleaned from 6,532 consumers surveyed from May 3-9, weighted to be representative of the U.S. population,

Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported they were positively influenced by brands’ Pride participation, compared to just 17% who said they were negatively influenced. Among LGBTQ+ consumers, 80% said they were positively influenced.



Last year, anti-LGBTQ+ extremists on social media organized attacks on brands for participating in Pride Month activations, or seemingly any trans representation – often relying on the strategic spread of disinformation, including much-publicized boycott campaigns against Bud Light and Target.

While often misrepresented as an organic “backlash” from conservative consumers, far-right extremists online were explicit about a deliberate strategy of attacking brands for any Pride participation. Last May, self-described “theocratic fascist,” and media personality for far-right outlet the Daily Wire Matt Walsh wrote: “The goal is to make ‘pride’ toxic for brands…First Bud Light and now Target. Our campaign is making progress. Let’s keep it going.”

In the wake of such events and the “fear it instilled in some marketers,” the company “felt it important to examine what role consumers feel brands should take in Pride Month,” Disqo marketing communications director Stacy Perrus told Marketing Daily.

One key takeaway of the report is that, while media headlines focus on “the negative impact of consumer boycotts on the bottom line,“ they “often omit that backtracking support can be just as damaging.” Given that more people look favorably on brands’ Pride participation than negatively, particularly among “influential younger and LGBTQ+ audiences,” the report concluded, “The ROI is twofold: long-term business and community benefit.” The report advises brands analyze their audience to determine their approach, and “create a strategy that considers the realities of a growing LGBTQ+ community and potential backlash.”

“What you see [in the report] is that people have never stopped caring about this,” Do The WeRQ co-founder Graham Nolan told Marketing Daily. “Backlash was rising up because of the increased visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ people and their rights. You've got to assert your strategy and decide which audience is important.”

The report found that while 26% of all consumers, and 73% of LGBTQ+ consumers overall reported purchasing a product because of its celebrative Pride Month messaging, half of consumers said it was important for marketers to show support for the LGBTQ+ community year-round, including 88% of LGBTQ+ consumers.

“If you look at the demographic breakout and the importance of representation and how consumers feel about brands participating in Pride Month, that importance is only going to grow as Gen Z gets older [and] brands need to make sure that they’re aligning with their values,” Perrus said.

She explained that, brands needed to examine inclusive workplace policies, support for LGBTQ+ organizations, and activations beyond Pride Month, to align with the values prioritized by younger consumers.

“Gen Z has grown up with brands doing this, so it's what they expect,” she added.

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