I’m looking forward to hearing Bob Witeck speak about marketing to the gay and lesbian community. I’m aware of workplace sensitivity and policies surrounding LGBT colleagues. I hadn’t thought about the spending habits of the gay consumer until the recent controversy over the Gresham bakery that refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
The Witeck Communications website presents compelling business reasons to develop marketing plans to reach this customer. They have more discretionary income because they have fewer children in the home. Gay consumers form strong brand loyalty around companies that demonstrate sensitivity to the LGBT community.
On the company reputation front, a blunder with the gay and lesbian community can quickly end the relationship with the LGBT consumer. Worse, it can lead to your name appearing in case law. In the Sunday Oregonian David Sarasohn pointed out that a Washington florist is now facing a discrimination suit filed by the ACLU for refusing to provide flowers for a gay wedding.
An understanding of this group develops through meaningful dialogue. I once met with gay activists due to a scene in an NBC program. The scene took place in what looked like an S & M gay bar. The bartender wore leathers with suggestive paraphernalia placed behind him. The activists objected to the stereotypical portrayal. They believed those images led to misunderstandings about gay people and incited violence against them. I came to believe they were right, and I appreciated the chance to have the conversation.