By measuring the impact of marketing campaigns these companies are capturing almost instant feedback on the success of their initiatives, which can help inform the business with regards to return on investment and shape future communications to gay consumers. Businesses can also collect quantitative and qualitative marketing research through surveys and focus groups.
ABSOLUT measured sales prior to the launch of its 'NO LABEL' bottle, during the promotion and in the period after, across venues in the UK. ABSOLUT were able to detect a measurable uplift as a result of the promotional campaign and further recognise the importance of remaining consistent in their approach to reaching gay people, given the relationship that has developed over the years between the brand and gay consumers.
Barclays Marine Finance sponsors the Euro Gay Sailing Regatta. The Marine Finance team report back to senior management on the number of clients obtained from the event. Sponsorship of the Regatta has resulted in increased product sales for the teams and the success of the event ensures that the initiative is repeated each year.
Marketing activities can occasionally receive negative reactions. Leading businesses ensure they understand the rationale behind their marketing to gay consumers in order to tackle any potential 'backlash' effectively. Businesses can struggle to respond if they are not clear about the rationale for targeting gay audiences.
Heinz released a TV advert in the UK in 2008. The advert included a New York male deli chef who plays the role of 'mum' making sandwiches for the two children and dad. At the end of the advert the deli chef says 'aren't you forgetting something' to the dad and at that point the two men kiss goodbye. The advert was only broadcast for a week when Heinz withdrew the commercial after a number of people complained the advert was offensive and inappropriate. Heinz's quick decision to pull the advert resulted in a boycott of the brand by both gay and straight people.
Following the release of Pepsi's advert in the UK where a man chose to bypass the attractive women in the bar to talk to the man at the end, a US pressure group staged a boycott of Pepsi. The pressure group called for Pepsi to 'remain neutral in the culture war over homosexuality'. Pepsi made a statement on the group website to say it would continue to provide financial support to gay organisations that seek to legalise gay marriage in the US. PepsiCo's Director of Public Policy, Paul Boykas, promoted Pepsi's inclusive and respectful workplace culture and confirmed it would be making a donation of $500,000 both to the American gay equality groups - The Human Rights Campaign and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Companies that have stayed consistent in this market and continue to invest in their commercial relationships with gay people are reaping the rewards.
Ford recognises the need to maintain its longstanding commitment to the principle and practice of equal opportunities amongst its workforce and has remained a sponsor of Brighton Pride and an LGB football tournament. These activities have raised the external profile of the business and have had a positive impact upon Ford's gay employees and in attracting new staff.
Barclays are proud of the sustained approach they take to improving and maximising the services they offer gay customers. Their annual sponsorship of events such as the Euro Gay Sailing Regatta and the Brighton Pride community village has raised their profile among lesbian and gay people to the benefit of their business and reputation.