Recently I saw a post about brands marketing to the LGBTQ Community and how they were able to bypass the so called “gatekeepers” of the market in our digital age. I don’t really care for the term “gatekeepers” as it has gained a negative connotation over the years. I prefer “super influencers” because that is who they really are. They are the publishers of LGBTQ media whether print or digital. They are the “super influencers” because they decide what will be printed on their pages, websites, eblasts, and social media. Who is right behind these “super influencers”- the consumers of LGBTQ media. These readers and consumers of LGBTQ media are the most informed and what I would call the “tipping point” consumers who digest and pass on their knowledge to the LGBTQ consumers at large and our allies. They are people like me who tell their friends, family and followers not to buy that product or go to that fast food chain because they are supporting anti-LGBTQ policies. These people are the most valuable to reach, because if you do so correctly they will not only support your product or service but in the best-case scenario they will become your product or service’s best advocates.
Tastemakers, super Influencers, activists, and all those most concerned about LGBTQ issues are ever so important to help “our” community at large because they decide what issues are most important. For instance, what companies we should be supporting, and which ones we should avoid. Hopefully over time this translates into a friendlier and better environment either politically or economically not just for our community but society at large.
Additionally, I want to point out that no company must be perfect in their LGBTQ business practices to pursue these super influencers and this consumer base. The only thing a company needs to do is be authentic in their advertising or pursuit of the market. This means if you are going to hawk beer, then simply hawk beer. If your company has no non-discrimination policies or is just getting started that is fine, just don’t present yourself as having a big gay party, just present the product or service as most ads do anyway. Of course, you do need to make sure you don’t support anything anti-LGBTQ, because then you open yourself up to non-flattering stories that by extension are harmful to your product or service.
My advice is to keep it simple, keep it authentic, advertise in LGBTQ owned and operated media properties and you should be just fine. If an issue ever comes up, address it directly.
The idea of bypassing a market’s “Super Influencers” or “Gatekeepers” is very shortsighted because these are the very same people that want you to have a successful experience and would be the first to ensure you don’t trip up. They are key to the success of your brand and campaign in any niche market you might want to pursue.