Paul Reardon
Jul 9, 2014

Reaching diverse consumer groups: LGBTI

As part of the Asia's Top 1000 Brands report, we asked a series of experts to provide insight into effective communication with specific consumer groups. In this fourth instalment, Whybin TBWA's Paul Reardon discusses a diverse and sceptical audience.

Paul Reardon
Paul Reardon

See the other instalments in this series: Seniors | High-net-worth consumers | New consumers | Millennials

Based on our recent experience, if you’re asking me what the most effective way to communicate with the LGBTI community is, my advice is pretty simple: do it with substance.

You’re talking to a highly informed audience. Perhaps more than any other group, they take a real interest in the backstory and history of a brand — especially in lifestyle or fashion categories. 

They’re big consumers, yes. But they’re also self-educated consumers. And when it comes to brands and their messages, I think this community can be highly sceptical.  

With this in mind, the most effective examples I’ve seen recently are communications with genuine depth to the story, from a well-known, well-established brand. 

I’m trying not to show bias here, but I have to say, within Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand seem to be leading the charge. The New Zealand Tourism adaptation of the long running ‘100% Pure’ campaign changed to say ‘100% Choice’ to promote same-sex marriage in New Zealand was very cool.   

Our own experience on ANZ Bank was an incredibly successful one. This year, ANZ were principal partner for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras — one of the biggest marches for gay rights in the world.

To help promote ANZ’s support, we transformed the bank’s inner-Sydney ATMs into dazzling GAYTMs. The GAYTMs were fabulous and people loved them. But it was the substance behind the campaign that made it so powerful.

In this case: ANZ has been sponsoring the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for the last eight years. Over 200 ANZ staff members (gay and straight) march in the parade alongside the ANZ float. And during the campaign ANZ also donated all operator fees from the GAYTMs to an LGBTI youth charity.

Now, these two examples happen to involve support for gay rights. But please do not confuse this for a mandatory requirement in speaking with this audience. Nothing annoys people faster than trite, shallow social rights messages from big brands. Successful communications must have depth and substance. You can’t fake that with this audience. And you’d be foolish to try. 

Paul Reardon is ECD at Whybin TBWA


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