LGBT-inclusive businesses get more business from straight allies – but only if they mean it

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New research has found that LGBT-inclusive companies succeed in attracting extra business from straight allies.

The survey from Ogilvy and YouGov quizzed 1,087 Americans to mark LGBTQ Pride month, with 436 of those being labelled “LGBT allies”.

The survey described LGBT allies as people who do not themselves identify as LGBT, but have “taken some action in support of the LGBT community”.

Ogilvy Pride infographic

Perhaps controversial examples given of such support were people who “stopped purchasing from a non-supportive brand, donated to LGBT-related charities, have LGBT friends, etc.”.

Related: These historic adverts made specially for Pride will make you cry

It found that 64 percent of LGBT allies and 46 percent of all Americans would be more likely to buy products or services from a company that used LGBT-inclusive advertising.

At a time when LGBT groups themselves have been criticised for perhaps pandering to straight people, 68 percent of people said that companies have to “walk the talk” and follow through on their promises and plans.

Advertising is only partly responsible for this perception of inclusivity, as only 35 percent of Americans said that having LGBT-inclusive advertising indicates that the brand is actually LGBT inclusive.

“Our survey demonstrates that creating LGBT inclusive advertising should be more than just a diversity initiative,” said Bill Berman, Ogilvy Account Director and Co-chair of Ogilvy Pride.

“When it’s done right, it can be a way to drive value at a higher level for an entire business.”

He added: “The survey also confirmed that both Americans and LGBT allies are affirming their beliefs with their purchase decisions by supporting brands that champion LGBTQ issues and avoiding those who openly discriminate against the community.”

Companies that visibly oppose equality can also see an impact on their bottom line.

Related: 12 times Sir Patrick Stewart was the best LGBT ally

63 percent of LGBT allies and 48 percent of all Americans said that they would avoid buying products or services from a brand or business that they know discriminates against the LGBT community.

More broadly, 72 percent of those quizzed said that a brand or business that is LGBT-inclusive is an ally of the LGBT community.

57 percent of those polled said that brand and businesses must hire a diverse group of advertising professionals to actually create LGBT-inclusive adverts.

73 percent said the companies should hire a diverse team of people to best serve their customers.