The LGBT+ Market is Growing and Your Brand Needs to be Part of it

LGBT+ consumers are more prominent than ever – with up to half of 18 to 25-year-olds saying they are not totally heterosexual.

Brands are starting to notice the opportunity but many don’t understand how best to engage this market.

At GSN we’ve helped brands including Heathrow, Skittles, Snickers, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Mail, Barclays and many more to develop how they speak to LGBT+ people.

Now, as part of the Iconic Labs family, we can combine access to and support from Iconic’s world class social and digital media experts with our unparalleled LGBT+ knowledge in order to transform how we can help brands and companies

But as we relaunch GSN, the biggest question brands ask us is the same it has been for the best part of a decade. How should we best engage LGBT+ people?


1 Be supportive

You risk your reputation by not being diverse. A recent study from Brazil indicates that three quarters of younger people would boycott a brand they viewed as homophobic (source: McKinsey/ Box1824).

This is a touchstone issue for many friends, family and allies of LGBT+ people.


2 Seize the opportunity

But there’s a bigger opportunity. The global LGBT+ market is worth an estimated $5 trillion worldwide (source: LGBT Capital).

A survey in 2019 showed 72% of that market are more favourable to brands they see advertising to them on sites like GSN (source: LGBTQ Community Survey). And the same research showed this is twice as effective as using mainstream media to reach this valuable market.

With an opportunity this size, tokenistic experiments and tick-box exercises are pointless. Our community merits proper investment.


3 Go global and digital

The LGBT+ community is growing in visibility and confidence. Admittedly, we are a minority in every country. But we are also estimated to be 460million people worldwide. That’s more people than live in the USA.

We are highly connected. We are more likely to travel frequently, use the internet as our main source of entertainment and information and we care about LGBT+ people abroad. Of course, GSN with its global coverage, fuels this.

This is a big opportunity for global brands to flex their muscle and share messaging that will resonate around the world.

4 Be authentic

LGBT+ consumers value authenticity. Shockingly, nine US companies which produced ‘rainbow’ branding in 2019 were also found to have given $1million or more to politicians who oppose LGBT+ equality (source: Progressive Shopper).

What better place to take budget from to fund your expansion in the LGBT+ market? After all, doing the right thing starts with ensuring you are not doing the wrong thing.


5 Be inclusive

The majority of LGBT+ people are not white, gay men. This seems obvious but many brands appear to miss the point.

Make sure you include all races, genders and sexualities. Women and bisexual, black, Asian, older and disabled people are bored of being overlooked.


6 Be consistent and confident

Many brands still focus all their LGBT+ activity – or at least the visible part of it – during Pride month.

But Pride-goers are increasingly angry about brands which only show up at Pride. This is called ‘rainbow washing’. A GSN survey (January 2019) found 76% of UK LGBT+ people felt the best way to show you belong at Pride is to work with the community year-round.

Year-long campaigns are more cost-effective as well. After all, 85% of LGBT+ people regularly read/view sites like GSN, compared to 65% who go to a Pride (source: LGBTQ Community Survey).


7 Celebrate and inspire

Every brand will have great stories they can tell and inspiration they can get from their LGBT+staff. The right partner can help you identify these.

So celebrate your campaign into your workplace, your stores, your site or your packaging.

Whatever you choose to do, champion the activity internally and externally and be proud of it.

Your colleagues will embrace what you are doing and you will inspire others to follow your example.


8 Work with experts

The biggest barrier most organisations face in starting LGBT+ work is the fear of getting it wrong. They never learn – because they never act.

At GSN we’ve proven time and again that there’s no better partner to deliver campaigns to our community that achieve your objectives. So there’s no reason not to start.

Words by
David Stybr