PR pulse: Authentic LGBT-inclusive communications are driving business

by | Jul 10, 2017 | Public Relations

In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month in June, findings from a recent Ogilvy survey of over 1,000 Americans, including over 400 LGBT allies—Americans who do not identify as LGBT, but have beliefs or have taken some action in support of the LGBT community (stopped purchasing from a non-supportive brand, donated to LGBT-related charities, have LGBT friends, etc.)—revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) believe that LGBT-inclusive brands/businesses are good for the economy, and a similar number (64 percent) believe that these initiatives reflect our country’s diversity.

However, the majority (68 percent) report that in order to be an LGBT ally, brands/businesses need to “walk the talk,” following through on promises and plans.

“Our survey demonstrates that creating LGBT inclusive advertising should be more than just a diversity initiative. When it’s done right, it can be a way to drive value at a higher level for an entire business,” said Bill Berman, Ogilvy account director and co-chair of Ogilvy Pride, in a news release. “The survey also confirmed that both Americans and LGBT allies are affirming their beliefs with their purchase decisions by supporting brands that champion LGBTQ issues and avoiding those who openly discriminate against the community.”

The survey also found that LGBT-inclusive advertising can be a key business driver among consumers as 64 percent of LGBT allies and 46 percent of all Americans surveyed say that seeing a brands’ LGBT-inclusive advertising would make them more likely to consider purchasing its products/services. Opposing inclusion can also impact purchasing decisions, with 63 percent of LGBT allies and 48 percent of Americans reporting that they try to avoid buying products/services from a brand/business they know discriminates against the LGBT community.

Authentic LGBT-inclusive communications are driving business

Additional key findings:

  • Over seven in ten Americans (72 percent) believe that a brand/business that is LGBT-inclusive is an ally of the LGBT community.
  • Over one-third of Americans (35 percent) report having LGBT-inclusive advertising is an indicator that a brand/business is LGBT-inclusive.
  • One in four Americans (25 percent) report social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as a source that has provided them information about whether a brand/business is LGBT-inclusive.
  • Nearly three in four Americans (73 percent) report it is important for brands/businesses to employ a diverse team of people to best serve customers.
  • Further, nearly six in ten Americans (57 percent) believe brands/businesses should hire diverse advertising professionals to create LGBT-inclusive advertisements.

“Diversity has always been and will always be a part of Ogilvy’s DNA, our core values and our culture, as set forth by our founder David Ogilvy nearly 70 years ago,” said Donna Pedro, global chief diversity officer at Ogilvy, in the release. “A key pillar of our Next Chapter strategy is to establish a diverse workforce reflective of the clients we work with and the brands that they represent.

“We have made solid progress under WW chairman and CEO John Siefert’s vision,” added Pedro. “By putting in place concrete measures and holding people accountable, we are taking the steps needed to support important diversity and inclusion efforts across the enterprise.”

Ogilvy fielded a seven-question survey of among 1,087 Americans (aged 18+), of whom 436 were considered LGBT Allies, to understand their perspectives about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community as it relates to the brands (e.g., Walmart, Ford, Apple, Bank of America, etc.) and businesses (e.g., local coffee shops, restaurants, etc.) they interact with day-to-day.  The online survey was fielded by YouGov from May 18-19, 2017, and figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults. The Ogilvy Pride internal organization created this survey.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter