Important Considerations When Marketing To the LGBT Community

  1. Jill Andrews
  2. May 6, 2016 11:08 am

Marketing to the LGBT Community

With the growing awareness and support of the LGBT community, many companies have created marketing campaigns that specifically target LGBT individuals. These ads, when done correctly, have a great message and help businesses gain more support from both LGBT people and allies of the community. Creating an LGBT ad or marketing campaign is an excellent way for your company to show their support gain attention from the community. However, there are many important factors to consider when marketing to LGBT individuals to ensure the success of your advertisement.

Choose your tone carefully.

Some ads targeted at the LGBT community take a subtle or ambiguous approach where the individuals featured may or may not be LGBT. This draws the attention of the LGBT community without attracting criticism from people opposed. Other ads feature the gay pride flag and individuals who are obviously LGBT.

The most successful ads today are ads that clearly feature LGBT individuals or couples, but aren’t over-the-top with the pride flag or the rainbow colors. The inclusion of gay characters in an ad should feel natural rather than forced. The ads that have received the most praise recently are typical ads that happen to feature LGBT characters in normal, everyday situations.

Be aware of your policies.

If your company’s policies aren’t actually inclusive of LGBT individuals, they won’t support your company, regardless of your advertising campaign. Even if you create the most thoughtful and open-minded ad, the LGBT community will have no reason to give their money to a business that hurts their community.

Make sure the company has a policy against discrimination and encourages diversity in employees. Consider creating a program to mentor and support LGBT employees, and make sure there is a supportive atmosphere in the workplace. If your company’s actions and policies back up the stance you take in your ads, the LGBT community is much more likely to support you.

Avoid stereotypes.

Ads have to be brief and concise, so it can be easy to accidentally create a stereotype in an attempt to get your point across as easily as possible. However, if you stereotype the LGBT community in an attempt to create an inclusive ad, the ad will have the opposite effect of what you intended.

If possible, consider using LGBT actors or models in your ad to portray LGBT characters. Also, avoid making them a part of a joke. Humor in ads can be very effective, but creators have to be careful not to make LGBT individuals a parody or a punchline. This will tell the community that your company doesn’t understand or respect them.

Be inclusive.

The majority of ads targeted to an LGBT audience seem to feature white, middle class, gay men. This only represents a small fraction of the LGBT community. While these ads have been successful in the past, your marketing campaign will probably achieve the most success if it features more diversity. Throughout your ads, try to include people of varying ages and races. Also, the majority of LGBT-targeted ads don’t include transgender individuals, even though they are a large part of the community. If your company shows their support for all members of the LGBT community, they will show your their support as well.

Have confidence in your message.

Unfortunately, almost all LGBT-inclusive ads and marketing campaigns receive criticism. After you launch your campaign, be prepared for negative comments and customers threatening to boycott your company. However, if you withdraw your ad or campaign in response to this negativity, your company will seem insincere and it will alienate your LGBT audience. If possible, come up with a plan in advance to anticipate and deal with any criticism you may receive for the ad. You could either address the negativity with another positive ad or message, or just ignore it completely.

Your campaign should be confident and sincere. You should have a clear and specific message that relates to your company or your brand, and your company should stick to this message throughout the entirety of the marketing campaign. An ad doesn’t need to be elaborate, funny, or groundbreaking to be effective. If you have confidence in your message, the LGBT community will support it.