Gay, Lesbian Consumers Want Commitment

NEW YORK For the lesbian and gay communities, successful branding means companies must put their money, and practices, where their mouth is.

Some 88 percent of gay men and 91 percent of lesbians claim that a brand’s sponsorship or support of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) events favorably influences their buying decisions, according to a study released today from Community Marketing, San Francisco. The study also found that 89 percent of gay men and 91 percent of lesbians said that the way a company treats its gay and lesbian employees is also a crucial deciding factor in purchasing decisions and their future business with a brand.

“Authenticity is very important to the gay and lesbian consumer,” said Jerry McHugh, senior director of research at Community Marketing. “How a company treats their gay and lesbian employees and their sponsorship of LGBT events really holds up that authenticity for the consumer.”

McHugh said that gays and lesbians were acutely aware of the business practices of companies they considered purchasing from, often reading up on corporate profiles through equality indexes. “Anything they find that is negative they become very aware of and that affects their feelings about a company,” he said.

The study gathered data from an online survey of more than 22,000 lesbian and gay adults from April 13-May 16, asking participants to answer a series of questions related to their buying habits and lifestyle.

Although the study showed that there are many similarities between lesbian and gay demographics—including only a $3,000 difference in average median incomes, favoring gay men who average $83,000 in annual household income—the mainstream media channels employed by the two groups are very different.

Among gay men, top gay media publications include The Advocate, Out and local gay media, while mainstream media sources were topped by The New York Times, Men’s Health, Entertainment Weekly and GQ. Top gay publications among lesbians were The Advocate, Curve and assorted local gay media, but mainstream media choices were People, AARP Magazine, O the Oprah Magazine and The New York Times.

Regarding TV, the top five networks for gay men were NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and Bravo while lesbians listed NBC, ABC, CBS, Showtime and Fox as their favorite channels.