Workers and consumers say they’re likely to favor pro-LGBTQ companies, study finds

According to a new analysis, American workers and consumers are more likely to prefer brands that publicly align with LGBTQ causes.

More than 51% of American employees who responded to a global survey conducted by public relations firm Edelman from July to August said they were more likely to work for a pro-LGBTQ company, compared to 11% who said they they were less likely.

In a separate Edelman survey conducted in May, 34% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a brand that expresses support for LGBTQ rights, compared to 19% who said they were less likely.

LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD partnered with Edelman to analyze survey data to gather LGBTQ-specific insights. Survey responses came from 1,000 consumers and 1,000 workers in the United States

The news comes in a year when government anti-LGBTQ policy and violence are on the rise. More than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed in state legislatures in 2022 and derogatory misinformation about LGBTQ people has increased 400% on social media, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest rights advocacy group. LGBTQ in the United States.

In conversations with his corporate clients, Edelman has found that growing hostility towards LGBTQ people has made companies nervous about taking a strong public stance towards the LGBTQ community.

“We often see companies asking if they can afford to take a stand on LGBTQ issues, and this data shows that for many companies, they can’t afford not to,” said Lauren Gray, vice president. -Senior President of Edelman.

In fact, more than half of Americans expect CEOs to help shape policy around LGBTQ rights, according to the analysis. He revealed that younger shoppers especially tend to find brands committed to supporting LGBTQ communities more “relevant” and “relative”. A February Gallup poll reported that one in five Gen Zers identify as “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or something other than straight.”

As a potential recession weighs on executives’ minds, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis acknowledged that some companies may mistakenly view supporting social causes as “non-essential”.

“But if you put the LGBTQ community on hold, it will affect your results,” Ellis said. “These are just numbers. It’s too important for consumers and employees.

There are brands that want to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community but fear they won’t be successful in LGBTQ inclusion. A GLAAD survey of 200 advertisers in February found that 61% believe there would be greater backlash for misrepresenting LGBTQ people than for “not featuring them at all.”

But 64% of non-LGBTQ people and 71% of LGBTQ people said they were more likely to buy from businesses that feature LGBTQ people in their ads, according to 2022 GLAAD surveys.

GLAAD’s Visibility Project aims to show businesses how to speak “correctly and accurately,” Ellis said. “I think it’s important to discern between joining a movement and marketing at a time.”

Rather than just switching to rainbow wraps during Pride Month, Ellis wants to see corporations use their economic and political clout to oppose anti-LGBTQ legislation year-round. She also wants companies to prioritize diversity and representation when hiring.

While this year has seen more corporate hesitation about LGBTQ support, some employees and customers have nonetheless managed to pressure brands to enter the conversation in ways that go beyond logos. Rainbow.

In March, Disney came under fire from its own employees for the company’s initial silence on Florida legislation that restricted primary education about sexual orientation and gender identity. Shortly after, then-CEO Bob Chapek announced that the company would donate $5 million to LGBTQ support organizations and pledged to help repeal Florida’s anti-LGBTQ policies. .

Since returning as Disney CEO last month, Bob Iger has spoken about the company’s commitment to supporting LGBTQ communities. The entertainment giant has also released productions this year, including “Lightyear” and “Strange World,” which spotlight same-sex romance.

“When you look at the times when there’s a clash between the LGBTQ community and corporations, the corporations that stand up for LGBTQ people are the ones that win,” Ellis said. “I don’t think you can be a product for consumers in the 21st century and not make it your priority.”

This story first appeared on CNBC.com

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