An often unappreciated and diverse market that goes unnoticed or even avoided is the lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) market. Although it is evident that markets appreciate this $743 billion dollar potential industry, many companies are choosing to simply avoid targeting or even sponsoring the potential industry.
Back in 2005, Kraft sponsored the Gay Games which resulted in an unsuccessful boycott. In response to the boycott Kraft coolly stated, ” (Kraft) truly respect all kinds of differences. And diversity is not a selective concept.” Diversity helped us be a more successful business”. Another similar incident happened to Home Depot who was being boycotted by the AFA (American Family Association) in response to supporting its shareholders in their encouragement of the gay community. Their response was also well thought out, CEO Frank Blake stated, “I appreciate your feedback and I hope all of our shareholders understand that we’re a company that respects the diversity of our associates and our customers and the communities where we do business. In fact, the values wheel that I showed just a minute ago — one of our core values is respect for all people.” Once again a great response delivered with sensibility and respect.Better yet, the most infamous long term boycott of Disney, who was starting to reach out to gay consumers. The boycott backfired and Disney enjoyed growth in its already expanding empire and double the profits.
While the threat of boycotting still lingers even in 2011 the market which includes a diverse and willing consumer is waiting to be asked.