LGBT Adults Strongly Prefer Brands That Support Causes Important to Them and That Also Offer Equal Workplace Benefits

Jul 18, 2011, 10:02 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Brand preferences and customer loyalty often are measured by marketers as the "holy grail" and as benchmarks of consumer behaviors. In a new poll released today, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) adults confirmed attitudes that strengthen their loyalty to companies as well as their brand preferences.

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The new national survey found that nearly three-fourths (74%) of LGBT adults are likely to consider brands that support nonprofits and/or causes that are important to them as a LGBT person, an increase from January 2007 when 62% reported they were likely to consider those brands.  A significant portion of these adults, two-fifths (41%) say they are extremely likely or very likely to consider these brands.

When it comes to workplace policies, nearly nine out of ten (87%) LGBT adults say they are likely to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits for all of their employees, including gay and lesbian employees. More significantly perhaps, nearly half (49%) of LGBT adults say that they are extremely or very likely to consider these brands. This finding represents an increase from January 2007 when 78 percent reported they were likely to consider.  By comparison, the survey also revealed that three out of four (75%) heterosexual adults agree they are likely to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits for all of their employees, compared to 70% in January 2007.

The new nationwide online survey of 2,357 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 328 self identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender, was conducted between June 13 and 20, 2011, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the LGBT market.  

Brand loyalty appears to be more important than price in certain situations for LGBT people.  Seven out of ten (71%) LGBT adults said they are likely to remain loyal to a brand they believe to be very friendly and supportive to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community "even when less friendly companies may offer lower prices or be more convenient." In August 2007, two-thirds (66%) of LGBT adults then thought so.

"Even in a struggling economy, LGBT consumers express an unmistakable and stronger sense of brand loyalty to companies that support their community," said Wes Combs, President of Witeck-Combs Communications. "Maintaining this trusting and sensitive relationship requires a sustained effort to incorporate diversity, fairness, and inclusion into a company's DNA."

With regard to advertising, nearly half (47%) of LGBT adults are more likely to consider purchasing a company's products or services when they see an advertisement that has been clearly tailored to "a gay audience with gay imagery and people and speaks to me as a gay person," compared to two-fifths (40%) who agreed, when asked in January 2007.

There also is a significant portion, (23%) of LGBT adults, who say they have switched products or service providers because they found a competing company that supports causes that benefit the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community - assuming that other factors like price, quality and convenience were not considerations, in the last 12 months, which is on a par with the 24 percent of LGBT adults who reported switching products or services for similar reasons in August 2007.

TABLE 1

ADVERTISEMENTS WITH GAY IMAGERY

"How much more or less likely are you to consider purchasing a company's products or services when you see an advertisement that has been clearly tailored to a gay audience with gay imagery and people and speaks to me as a gay person?"

Base:  All LGBT adults


2007

2011

%

%

More likely (NET)

40

47

    Much more likely

10

22

    Somewhat more likely

30

25

No more or less likely

35

48

Less likely (NET)

25

5

    Somewhat less likely

10

3

    Much less likely

15

2

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 2

BRANDS THAT SUPPORT IMPORTANT NONPROFITS AND CAUSES FOR LGBT PEOPLE

"How likely are you to consider brands that support nonprofits and/or causes that are important to you as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person?"

Base:  All LGBT adults


2007

2011

%

%

Likely (NET)

62

74

  Very/Extremely likely (NET)

34

41

    Extremely likely

19

21

    Very likely

15

20

  Likely

28

33

Not likely (NET)

38

26

  Somewhat likely

23

23

  Not at all likely

15

3

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 3

BRANDS THAT PROVIDE EQUAL WORKPLACE BENEFITS TO ALL EMPLOYEES

"How likely are you to consider a brand that is known to provide equal workplace benefits for all of their employees, including gay and lesbian employees?"

Base:  All adults


2007

2011

LGBT

Heterosexual

LGBT

Heterosexual

%

%

%

%

Likely (NET)

78

70

87

75

  Very/Extremely likely (NET)

46

34

49

42

    Extremely likely

25

18

28

24

    Very likely

21

16

21

17

  Likely

31

36

37

33

Not likely (NET)

22

30

13

25

  Somewhat likely

11

16

10

16

  Not at all likely

11

14

3

10

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 4

SWITCHES PRODUCTS OR SERVICES BECAUSE A COMPETING COMPANY SUPPORTS LGBT CAUSES

"In the last 12 months, have you switched products or service providers because you found a competing company that supports causes that benefit the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community – assuming that other factors like price, quality and convenience were not considerations?"

Base:  All LGBT adults


2007

2011

%

%

Yes

24

23

No

76

77

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 5

REMAIN LOYAL TO LGBT-FRIENDLY BRANDS, REGARDLESS OF PRICE AND CONVENIENCE

"How likely are you to remain loyal to a brand you believe to be very friendly and supportive to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community even when less friendly companies may offer lower prices or be more convenient?"

Base:  All LGBT adults


2007

2011

%

%

Likely (NET)

66

71

    Very likely

40

37

    Somewhat likely

25

33

Neither likely nor unlikely

27

26

Unlikely (NET)

7

3

    Somewhat unlikely

6

2

    Very unlikely

2

1

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



Methodology

Harris Interactive conducted the study online and by telephone within the United States between June 13 and 20, 2011, among 2,357 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 328 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. We over-sampled gay men and lesbians in order to allow for more detailed analysis of these groups.

Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. In addition, the results for the gay and lesbian sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay and lesbian population that Harris Interactive has compiled through many different online surveys. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

About Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.

Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. is the nation's premier marketing communications and consulting firm, specializing in developing and implementing effective strategies reaching the gay and lesbian consumer market. With over 17 years experience in this unique market, Witeck-Combs Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers (LGBT), but also provides counsel to countless non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their LGBT membership.  

In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck and Wes Combs as two of 25 experts over the last 25 years who have made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trendspotting for their path breaking work on the gay and lesbian market, and in 2006 Bob Witeck and Wes Combs co-authored Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Consumers (Kaplan Publishing), considered the first-ever book on marketing insights, practical tips and strategies targeting the LGBT market. They have appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, New York Times and Washington Post. For more information visit www.witeckcombs.com.  

Press Contacts:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net

Bob Witeck
Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
202-887-0500 ext 19
info@witeckcombs.com

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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