The Swedish Federation of Business Owners (Företagarna) estimates that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers have a collective purchasing power of nearly 100 billion kronor ($15 billion).
However, few companies focus on what the Federation describes as “pink money”.
“Companies have not realized the potential here and that means wasted business opportunities,” the Federation’s CEO, Elisabeth Thand Ringqvist, told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).
The Federation is now producing a handbook with guidance for companies that want to target the LGBT community. It will be published in the autumn of 2013 and will also contain tips for how companies can create gender-neutral work places and advertisements.
Out of the 1,146 companies that participated in a recent survey conducted by the Federation, only nine said they engage in marketing targeted at LGBT individuals.
A total of 83 companies had considered producing gender-neutral ads directed at couples, for instance in Valentine’s Day campaigns or in connection with wedding and family offers.
“It could be about something as simple as asking for someone’s partner instead of their wife,” said Thand Ringqvist.
She also explained that different companies can work at different levels when it comes to gender-neutral and gay-friendly marketing.
“You can either use gender-neutral marketing or you can actively target LGBT-individuals. You can turn to gay publications, such as QX Magazine, or you can reach a wider audience by advertising in mainstream media,” said Thand Ringqvist.
The handbook will work as a practical guidance tool, posing a series of questions that companies must take a stand on in their business operations, but also at their own work places and in relation to their own work force.
Thand Ringqvist stressed in SvD that this work must happen at all levels and that companies should not just focus on strategies that can help generate “pink money”.
“If you haven’t done your homework and you’re only engaging in these questions for marketing purposes, then it can backfire,” she said.
However, the Federation had trouble finding companies that were willing to participate in the preparation of the handbook. Thand Ringqvist also admitted that it is difficult to say whether there actually is a demand or need for the handbook among Swedish businesses.
“In the inner-city of Stockholm there is already much awareness to the extent that some opinion formers sometimes ask if the LGBT question is really an issue anymore,” said Thand Ringqvist.
“I tell them that as soon as you go outside of the big city, to Jönköping or Visby for instance, then it probably is an issue.”
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