Inclusivity in Marketing: LGBTQ+ Advertising Dos and Don’ts

2021-10-13 by Jim Crickell
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Why create an entire campaign geared towards the LGBTQ+ community? How about their over $1 Trillion in buying power in the US today? To top that, the median income of a same-sex couple is 23% above that of straight households. And most importantly to a business? LGBTQ+ consumers are more than twice as loyal to brands they trust.

However, plenty of companies still struggle in their approach to advertising and incorporating LGBTQ+ audiences in their efforts. Between including certain groups of LGBTQ+ representation in their campaigns and failing to include or even target all others, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Beware When Marketing

While advertising has come a long way in ensuring diversity and inclusivity, there is still a long way to go. Some notes for brands considering marketing to the LGBTQ+ community specifically include:

  • DO NOT use straight model stand ins!!
  • DO be inclusive and diverse
  • DO NOT feed into stereotypes in your media
  • DO NOT overlook members of the trans community in your marketing material

Who Would Know if The Models Were Straight? Why Does it Matter?

Using straight models to stand in for lgbtq+ models not only is massively misleading to the public, but it is also insulting to the community, it robs lgbtq+ models of jobs that are meant for them and are just poor business practices.

Diversity Within Inclusivity

While advertising is seeing more lgbtq+ inclusivity, there is very little diversity. Most campaigns that brands run that are geared towards the lgbtq+ community use white male/male or white female/female models. The lgbtq+ community is so diverse, by only using thin white models brands deny the reality of lgbtq+ people of color, people with bodies, and interracial couples.

These days, consumers actually expect CEOs to voice their opinions on a number of social issues, such as climate change, social and racial justice, and more.  However, this rise in corporate activism isn’t always the best indicator of social progress. That’s especially true for brands that use LGBTQ+ people in their campaigns because they seem trendy and sell more products, which resulted in the current “rainbow-washing” phenomenon.

That’s when brands and corporations end up adding rainbows to their logos or products to express support during Pride Month but don’t take any notable actions for those efforts. It has become incredibly easy for consumers to see through those marketing and promotional efforts, and instead of supporting such brands, they end up criticizing, or even boycotting them completely.

LGBTQ+ All Year Long

Instead of companies only waiting to show their support during Pride Month, they should be creating inclusive campaigns all throughout the year, to truly show their support for the community. Additionally, companies can show their support by donating and promoting charities and organizations that help the marginalized communities, otherwise, they risk appearing inauthentic to the consumers, which leads to more backlash.

To achieve the best results, companies should be focused on inclusivity from the inside out, as most campaigns are created depending on who’s in the room when a promotional campaign is being developed. This way, companies can do better on all levels of their workforce, and then show what they’ve achieved to the public as well.