#31: Increase Your Market Share Through Authentic Communications [Podcast] Skip to the content

#31: Increase Your Market Share Through Authentic Communications [Podcast]

Blog Posts mentioned throughout this episode

The 7 Deadly Sins Series

  1. Why Making Assumptions is a Critical Mistake in your (LGBT) Gay Marketing Efforts
  2. Are you using Stereotypes in your (LGBT) Gay Marketing Efforts? If so, stop!
  3. Are you asking LGBT People Inappropriate Questions? My guess is yes.
  4. Are you non-verbally stereotyping in your gay marketing?
  5. Are your LGBT communications unknowingly insulting and derogatory? Find out!
  6. The hidden implications of LGBT terms and why you may want to avoid them
  7. Why being aggressively assertive won’t get you new LGBT customers


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AUDIO TITLE: Episode #31 – Webinar Recording

You are listening to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, Episode 31.

Welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast where you’ll learn how to do business with and market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way. We’re talking about the $790 billion lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. We’ll help you grow your business, gain market share and impact your bottom line. And now your host – she’s an entrepreneur, a marketing maven and an advocate for the LGBT business community. Jenn, with two N’s, T. Grace.

Hello and welcome!

Hello and welcome to episode number 31 of the podcast. I am your host, Jenn Grace, and today is going to be an interesting and different podcast for you. So what I decided to do today was to use my recording of my webinar that I did just a little while ago. So today is March 19th, I believe, this is Wednesday that I’m recording this. And I just had my monthly webinar this morning, and what I wanted to do is utilize that webinar for today’s content. I know a lot of you are interested in attending my webinars but can’t always make it; so I thought I would bring the webinar to you. So it’s about an hour, actually- yeah it’s about an hour long, so I highly encourage you to check it out if you would prefer not to listen to this and you’d rather attend live in person. The next one is happening on April 15th at 1:00 PM Eastern time, so I highly encourage you to come check it out then if you like. I do change the content of every webinar; there’s a lot of core content that remains the same, but there’s a lot of stuff that I change out as well. So I definitely recommend checking it out if possible, and if you’re listening to this and it’s well past April 15th, don’t worry because depending on whatever month you’re in, there’s most likely a webinar that’s going to be happening any minute now. So definitely check all of that out.

Here’s my new commercial..

So what I’m really excited about is that I have a new commercial for my online training course. So instead of every month trying to explain to you what my online training course entails, I actually have a cool commercial that is by the same person who does my intro, telling you all about it. So I would love to introduce to you the promo for my online marketing course here; and have a listen and let me know what you think.

Are you looking to take your LGBT marketing efforts to the next level? Well, look no further. Enroll today in the online training course How to Authentically Market to the Gay Community. Now this course teaches everything you need to know to increase your LGBT market share through authentic communications, learn effective selling techniques, how to build a tactical LGBT marketing plan, and much, much more. For more information, head on over to *www.authenticgaymarketing.com*, and watch the free three-part video training series to get you started on your way. That’s *www.authenticgaymarketing.com*.

Alright, how cool is that? I’m very excited that he did that new commercial for me. So yeah, definitely go check out the website, check out the three-part video series I got going on for you. That’s my new excitement. And I also want to encourage you to join the mailing list; and if you head on over to the website *www.jenntgrace.com*, you can find a button on the right-hand side that says Join the Mailing List. So it’s a good way to keep information coming directly to you without you having to go find it. So if that’s interesting I definitely recommend checking it out.

So what I would like to do now is get into the meat of this episode, which as I mentioned is actually a recording of the webinar. So I hope you enjoy it, and I will be back at the end to provide a couple of additional updates.

On to the webinar recording…

So thank you all for joining today’s webinar. My name is Jenn Grace, and I will be going through a presentation that I call Increasing Your LGBT Market Share through Authentic Communications. And today’s webinar is going to be slightly different than usual; when I say slightly, it’s really minute. But I’m actually also recording this webinar for my podcast that I do every other week. So my next podcast is due out tomorrow, and I know a lot of my podcast listeners have troubles getting on a webinar so I want to make sure that I can bring that content to them as well. So that is something that I have not tried yet before, but here we are today attempting to do that.

So I’m going to attempt to talk about today’s content in a way that people without visuals can still understand it. So for those of you who are on this webinar for a second- some of you actually I have noticed are here for a third time. As you know, every time I do one of these webinars, I have a lot of the same core content, but I also kind of change out other pieces of the content depending on what’s happened recently in the media, or maybe a new project I’m working on. So for those of you who are here, I see one of you who it is your third time here, which is amazing, I’m so happy that you’re here again. I just want you to know that you will see some things on here that are familiar to you, but you’ll also see some new stuff that I’ve just added.

So today’s game plan is we are going to go through three parts. And I have the webinar, I put it from 11:00 to 12:00 and I like to use that from 12:00 till as long as it takes to answer any questions that you might have. But for the time being, I want to cover three areas.

Part one: Starting with your ‘Why’.

So the first being part one, which is Starting with your Why. And we are going to cover a couple of real life examples of knowing your why and why that matters, and we’re going to do a positive and a negative example. We’re going to talk about why are you interested in selling to the LGBT community. And a couple of questions you should ask yourself to better understand what your particular why is.

Part two: An overview of the LGBT community…

Then we’re going to talk about an overview of the LGBT community, and here I’m going to try to move as quickly as I can because it’s very statistic heavy and numbers heavy, and I just want to give you at least a broad context of the potential of the LGBT community, but I don’t want to focus too much on this area. But what we will cover is understanding who the LGBT community is, what that acronym actually stands for, and roughly how many people there are and what they buying power looks like.

Part three: A communications piece…

And then part three is the communications piece. So we’re going to talk about just how understanding poor communications will have an impact on your bottom line. We’re going to talk about the Cracker Barrel versus Duck Dynasty fiasco that happened in late January, and then we’re going to talk about the Seven Deadly Sins and I’ve talked about the Seven Deadly Sins before, but I just recently finished the seven-part blog post series about the Seven Deadly Sins. So I have some in-depth resources that I want to provide you towards the end.

But first.. A little about me.

So here’s just a quick About Me, I don’t really like to spend a whole lot of time here because you found me somehow whether it was online, or we met in person, which I see a handful of you on here that I have met in person, which is also nice to see you virtually as well. And so here’s just a really quick rundown, but essentially I teach straight people how to market to gay people, and I teach gay people how to market themselves. And that’s really kind of the root of what I do; and when I say gay I say it very loosely and I really do mean the entire LGBT community. So as you can see here I’ve been doing this for about eight years now, so I have a lot of experience working with the majority of folks I’ve worked with over the years, tend to be small to medium sized businesses, but I also have a significant amount of experience working with corporations as well. So I’m kind of all over the map in terms of helping guide companies in the right way to effectively communicate and market their products to the community.

Now we dive into part one…

So enough of that, let’s hop over into today’s game plan. So as we already went through, we’re just going to dive right into part one; and that is Let’s Start with your Why. So I want to first tell you a negative tale. And so I don’t normally like to start off with a negative, but I’m going to do that today just so I think- so I know that this can be a learning opportunity for you to make sure that you’re going about it the right way. And this is a piece of the webinar that I do almost every single time, so for those of you who are here again, just you can zone out for a couple minutes. But the negative tale begins last summer when I had a company reach out to me who is here in the state of Connecticut, in the US because I know we have some international folks here today. And essentially they reached out to me, and they’re an advertising and marketing company, and they were looking for me to come into their company to basically consult with them and consult with their client on an LGBT marketing initiative. So I went and we did a discovery meeting with the client, and they were a financial advising firm and they were of pretty significant size, they weren’t any small potatoes type of company. But the company was- knew from corporate that there was an initiative to get more LGBT customers. So knowing that this kind of came down from corporate, they thought this was a great idea, and essentially they reached out to this particular company and said, “Hey can you help us with our LGBT marketing?” And since this wasn’t an area of expertise for this marketing firm, they thought that maybe I could come in and help.

So I happily went down there and I had a great conversation with the ad agency and they were really enthusiastic and engaged and really wanted to help this client. So the client had a lot of advertising spend, and they had a really big marketing budget which is not always something that I’m familiar working with, because I do work with a lot of smaller businesses that are kind of, sometimes around shoestring budgets, other times they have decent budgets; but in this case it was a really big budget to work with, which is very exciting because there’s so much more that you can do when you have a bigger budget. But when I started talking with these two gentlemen, I began asking them questions, and I always start with ‘Why.’ That’s my personal- the personal way I go about my business, is if you and I are to have a conversation via email, or even via this webinar in some sort of question and answer area, and I say to you, “Well why does marketing to the community matter to you?” It’s really interesting to hear the responses I get; so as I said I’m going to talk about a negative tale here, but then I’m going to give you a really awesome positive one next.

A negative tale…

So with this negative tale, I couldn’t get past the LGBT community has a lot of money from this particular couple of guys. And these are two older gentlemen in their late sixties, early seventies, and they were very- you could tell that they were very conservative and you could tell that they were very uncomfortable with even wanting to market to the community, but they knew that something- almost something I’m guessing they felt like they had to do because corporate was saying that they should do it.

So as I began to ask them, ‘Why, why, why,’ and I asked why a million times, I swear in any conversation with people, I could ask why up to ten times and get to the bottom of something really amazing and juicy, that we can build a story around. But in this case, I could not get past the fact that all they cared about was the fact that the LGBT community were primarily DINKs, so double-income with no children, and they had a lot of disposable income. So ultimately, these two gentlemen were just really disingenuine. They were inauthentic, and at the end of the day when you’re marketing to the LGBT community, the first thing that anybody is going to notice is your inauthentic nature. So if you’re doing it merely because you see that there’s a market opportunity because there’s a lot of money to be had, and that’s your only motivating factor for doing this, you’re going to fail. And I try not to be so dramatic and so over-the-top about it, but it’s almost a guarantee that you’re going to fail because the LGBT community is looking from so many different angles and is very critical of companies who are entering this market to make sure that they’re not there just to kind of- to get the “gay dollar.”
A key to note: Have a really strong ‘Why’..

So you want to make sure that you have a really strong positive ‘why,’ just so you can actually be effective in doing this. Ultimately what my point here is, is that if you’re going to market to the community you really have to be authentic about it, and your ‘why’ could be something as simple as your brother, your sister, your aunt, your uncle, your best friend growing up; somebody in your life is gay, or LGBT, and you just want to make sure that you’re incorporating a quality into what you do. It could be something as simple as that, and there’s ways that you can kind of build out that story from there, but you don’t have to have some like fancy reason. So just think about examples in your life, and things that you’ve been doing over the years that may be that like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s why I’m doing it.’ So it doesn’t have to be complicated.

So ultimately this company was so, so beyond I feel like my ability to help because I didn’t want to help them number one because they were just disingenuine, and ultimately I’m not going to try to help promote a company that is going about it the wrong way, and it’s my reputation on the line. So if I help this terrible company it’s going to make me look bad. So I turned down the opportunity to work with this company very happily, because I really didn’t think that they were in it for the right reasons.

Why was this a negative tale?

So that’s just my first negative tale. And you know, why was this negative and why doesn’t it work? There’s a couple of reasons for that. And we’ve kind of covered them already but you know, he was too focused on the money. Oh I didn’t even mention this but he was using poor language and he was saying homosexual throughout the conversation instead of saying LGBT or instead of saying gay. So that’s a red flag in and of itself, and what I can do instead of spending time here today, is I can send you a link to a blogpost that I’ve written that’s about homosexual and why you shouldn’t use it. So that way you can get a better understanding of why that was a red flag to me.

But he didn’t really have any empathy towards the LGBT community, and I think it’s really important to be able to have that empathetic muscle that makes you connect with the community a little bit better, because ultimately it’s really one-on-one relationships that are going to help you succeed in this marketplace.

And then he was just blatantly insincere and that’s my personal read on the situation, but I’m going to help a company that’s just insincere and not really in it for the right reasons. So bad, bad, bad; not a good thing.

In response to our negative tale, a positive one…

But now I want to bring this back out of the negative and really share an awesome, positive example. So I- this happened in the spring. So I meet with people, sometimes I meet like ten people in one week and I have the best conversations with people, and again I always start with that ‘why.’ So in the spring, I was in a meeting with a woman who is part of the local LGBT Chamber of Commerce here in Connecticut. And we met over coffee and in conversation I said, “Well, what is it about the LGBT community that resonates with you that made you want to join the Chamber?” And her business is a fashion type of business where she basically helps women who are not wearing the appropriate types of clothing. She helps them essentially, basically get in the right place in terms of like not being- wearing things too big, not wearing things too small, et cetera, et cetera.

So I’m having a conversation with her, and she starts telling me a little bit about her background and how she used to be a retail manager, and during that time as a retail manager she remembers very clearly, and it had to have been like a good fifteen years before, that basically she had somebody call and say, “Hey I am looking to see if I can come down to the store and try on some clothing.” And of course she was like, “Well yeah, we’re a retail establishment, of course you can come down and try it on.” And the woman on the other end said, “Well I just want to let you know that I’m transitioning.” So when she said that she meant that she was born as a male and was transitioning to be a female. So the woman that I had met with, she was like, “Oh yeah, of course that’s no problem. Why don’t I tell you this, if I look at my calendar oftentimes Wednesday mornings between like 10:00 and 12:00 happen to be the time where it’s the most- it’s like basically dead in the store. So if you want to come down during that time we can have some one-on-one attention. I can basically help you figure out what’s good for your body type and that way there won’t be that many other people in the store so you feel more comfortable.” So now, this is just somebody that I have only met once or twice, and just by mere conversation of saying like, “Why does this matter to you?” This is the story that immediately popped into her head. And she wasn’t saying it to me in a way of, ‘I want you to-‘ like she wasn’t saying it in a chivalrous way. Like she wanted me to think so highly of her because she had this well-crafted ‘why’ or something like this. This was just really genuine and sincere to her. This was just her personal ‘why’ that she had never before actually articulated to anybody until I just happen to start asking why over and over again.

So now to me, this woman is 100% the real deal; like she of course recognizes that the LGBT community has a lot of money, there’s a lot of buying power, and there’s a level of skepticism that the LGBT community can display. So by her ability to articulate that ‘why’ and when we’re talking of course I’m giving you the abridged version; but when we were talking she just gave me goosebumps because it was such an emotional and such a powerful story, and a powerful experience to her that it’s basically led to her helping other members of the trans community really understand how to dress for themselves- not dress for themselves, that sounds terrible. But basically dress for their body types. And she’s kind of that person coming in almost from like a motherly angle it almost feels like, to just really be empathetic and just help them out in the way that they need help and are oftentimes afraid to ask for, for fear of being discriminated against.

So again, this woman was just completely the real deal, and that reason of ‘why’ is what makes her now so successful in attracting other LGBT people, and I should basically say LBT, because she works specifically with women. But that’s what’s making her successful because she has this great story of why, and this is why the community matters to her. And that ultimately is what’s going to get you business, and this is why I bring this up and why it’s so important and it’s the first part of what I like to talk about with you here on the webinar.

Why was this a positive example?

So let’s just kind of recap why this example is really positive; so what makes her story work and why. So it’s compelling, she has a really compelling story. She understands a quality at the core level, so she wasn’t doing this to get recognition from other people. It’s just something that’s innate to her. She ultimately wants to make a difference; she she’s gone out of her way to expand her line of business to include more LBT women, so that way she can continue to make a difference in the community, which is really, really exciting especially coming from somebody who’s an ally to the community. She’s authentic, she was just really, really authentic and again she wasn’t doing it for recognition from other people. So in my book, she gets a big ‘ol A+, like it was just fantastic.

Think about what your ‘why’ could be…

So I want you to be thinking about what your ‘why’ could be. And I’m actually in the process of putting a whole training program together around how to craft your ‘why.’ I actually already have the training program but it’s part of my larger series, so I’m trying to find a way to kind of just break out that one piece. So here’s just kind of a quick overview of what some of that would include.

Some questions to ponder on…

So basically I want you to think about these questions. So what is your personal connection to the LGBT community, in whatever fashion that may be. And I can see based on the attendees here that there’s a handful of attendees that are part of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce sphere, so I see a handful of you. And- which is always exciting. I also see a couple of Travel Gay Canada folks as well. So I know, looking at the list of people who are on right now, I can see at least a dozen people that I know are already active with the community. So if we’re thinking about what your personal connection to the community is, it could be your job as a personal connection, it could be the fact that again, you have a relative or growing up you had a best friend who’s gay, or it could really be anything. But just start to think about what that personal connection looks like.

Also, think about your involvement..

Additionally, think about your involvement level with the community. So again, that goes back to what organizations you’re involved in, what have you done in the past, are you on committees for these organizations? Do you have heightened involvement, all those types of things. And what I would recommend to do is basically- and I’ll have this recording available for you. And this time, I know it’s actually recording; I’ve said this for the last like four webinars and the recording failed. But this time I have it so we’ll be good.

So I would just kind of make a note of these questions and then write down the answers that come to you. Just think of- right off the top of your head, don’t think too much about it. What are you passionate about within the community? So are you passionate about specific areas of the community? So it could be something that’s health-related, you could have some passion as it relates to HIV, you could have a passion about promoting lesbians in the workplace, it could really be anything. And we’re asking these questions to try to help articulate your ‘why.’ And how do you serve the LGBT community better? And that’s either you as an individual, that could be you as a company, it could be you as a community; but what do you do that you feel makes you the better choice as it relates to the LGBT community?

Pain points..

And what are the pain points that your LGBT customers have that your product can help solve; that’s just kind of a common marketing question in terms of trying to figure out what your angle is for marketing. But you know what some sort of pain point? And I can give you a hospitality example because I work with a lot of travel and tourism folks. And the easiest pain point that I can see when somebody checks into a hotel is that LGBT couples are almost waiting for the discrimination to happen. And it’s really terrible that this is the case but oftentimes they’re just waiting to get up to that front desk and have it be mistaken that they’re siblings or they’re cousins or whatever it happens to be; or when they find out that they are LGBT that somebody is offended. So they almost- like a lot of people are almost just expecting it at this point, myself included oftentimes.

But basically your- the way that you could help solve that is by the fact that that doesn’t happen if you happen to have a hotel or a property or something. So it’s think like that. And I have a lot of information on my website, a lot of different blog posts that you can certainly go check out that have more information around this type of stuff.

So I encourage you, feel free to put in the chat box and I’ll look at them at the end, if you want to share your story of ‘why’ is. I’m always curious to see what people say. And again, it doesn’t have to be well articulated, but at least if you have a common theme to start with, then that’s something that you could really build a solid story around, which then translates into building a solid marketing plan around.

Quick recap…

So here’s just a quick recap; you know we just talked about why authenticity matters, why being in it for the money is not going to work, and how to understand- how to begin to understand what your ‘why’ is, it’s really important to know what your ‘why’ is. So at least you’re on the right path to understanding what that might look like.

Alright, so we’re going to break from the webinar for just a second so I can make sure that we hear from the sponsors, or one of the two sponsors of this podcast, the Human Performance Academy. So just hang tight for just a second and let’s hear what Mike has to say.

Alright, thanks for those kind words from our sponsors at the Human Performance Academy, now let’s get back into the webinar.

Who is the LGBT community?

And now let’s just talk about who the LGBT community is. So again, here’s part two we’re just going to go over some stats and statistics and for the sake of time, I’m going to try to move through these relatively quickly. And almost everything on here I have blog posts that go with it, so if you want more information on any one of the things that I talk about just make a note in the chat box and I’ll make sure I send that link out to you. But I basically want to start with the basics, and especially since 75% of you on the webinar right now are kind of new to this area. So I want to just kind of cover what the alphabet soup looks like, and I’m going to cover four acronyms. There’s many, many more in the LGBT community that exist but I like to cover these four because I have data around the usage of them.

So essentially we have LGBT, GLBT, LGBTQ and LGBTQIA. So LGBT is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender. I would imagine that the majority of you probably already know that, and if you didn’t that certainly nothing to be embarrassed about, it happens. And then there’s GLBT which essentially is just putting Gay in front of Lesbian; so Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender. And then we have LGBTQ and that’s where we add queer or questioning at the end of it. So if you see LGBTQ, it could be either one. The LGBTQIA now adds intersex and it also adds asexual and ally. So as you can see there’s a lot of variations just within these couple of examples that I’ve given you. But what I want to do is not just tell you what these acronyms are, but just kind of show you what people prefer to see.

So this data comes from Community Marketing Inc., which is a San Francisco-based research firm that focuses on LGBT data and they have great information so I highly recommend that you check them out. But basically they did a poll and they asked 13,000 people, “What do you prefer to see in your corporate advertising?” And in corporate advertising in terms of being marketed to. And 76% of gay men and 87% of lesbians said that they would prefer to see LGBT. So now this is the highest of what we will cover. So then they asked the same thing about GLBT, and 67% of gay men and 69% of lesbians said that they would prefer to see the GLBT. And then we had LGBTQ and it gets even lower, so now we have 43% gay men and 62% lesbians. And then the lowest of all is the LGBTQIA, which is 14% gay men and 24% lesbians.

Use the term LGBT!

So any company that I’m working with, I always advise that you use the term LGBT. Currently it is the- to me the most broad and encompassing of all the terms that you could be using. And if you use GLBT, it signals to the LGBT person looking at your publication or looking at an ad or seeing you on social media, wherever you happen to be. It basically says that you are somewhat behind the times and it’s kind of hard for me to articulate why that comes across, but it’s like an outdated term. It’s not incorrect but it’s just outdated. So if you are putting forth a marketing campaign tomorrow, definitely use LGBT because if you put GLBT people are going to think that you kind of live under a rock and you don’t really know anything about the community; which to a certain degree could be the case, but now at least you have this information so you know not to go forth with that. Or, since a lot of you are just starting out for the first time, you very well could have GLBT already slipped into your marketing materials and it’s not a crisis, but if when you can actually switch and change it to LGBT, I would highly recommend doing that. It’s going to just give you an elevated view from the community.

We’re going to talk about the Adult LGBT population, but more specifically in the U.S.

So now let’s just talk about the US Adult LGBT population, and I apologize for the folks that are international, I apologize to my Canadian folks that I know I can see you here on the webinar. But there’s a lot of data around the US LGBT population, but there’s actually not a ton as it relates to other countries and internationally. So if anybody knows of any other sources for international data, please, I would love to include it.

But here I just want to talk about a couple of demographics and I want to try to get through this relatively quickly. So approximately 7.7 households out of 1,000 are same-sex couples in the US and this came from census data in 2010, it’s a little bit outdated at this point. And an estimated 3.4% of US adults identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual with an additional 0.3% who identify as transgender. And this is approximately nine million Americans which is really kind of about the size of New Jersey. So I like to include that it’s about the size of New Jersey so that way you have a good understanding of what that actually looks like; because nine million seems random that it’s kind of hard to picture what nine million people might look like.

The ‘Gay Dollar’ in depth…

So minority group buying power, and this is the ‘gay dollar’ or the ‘pink dollar’ I referred to the ‘gay dollar’ a few minutes ago, and I have a blog post that covers all of what this actually means. That I can absolutely send to you in an email as well. But essentially it’s the buying power. So the buying power being the amount of money that a specific community, or group of people has to spend. And for 2013 the new number came out in I believe it was November, that LGBT Americans account for $830 billion. And that is the LGBT number, and it’s kind of hard to kind of put that in reference. So as you can see, or those of you who are just listening, we have Hispanic-Americans account for $1 trillion, we have African Americans that account for $1,038 billion. We have LGBT Americans back again at $830 billion. And then we have Asian-Americans at $718 billion. So for me to say to you in a blanket statement that the LGBT buying power is $830 billion, your eyes could easily glaze over and you have no idea how or what that really means. So now that you can see that there are- these are the top four minority groups that people are actively trying to pursue, you can see how LGBT Americans are right up there; they’re number three out of four. So that’s a significant number, and I am in the process of gathering this data, but I don’t have it at the moment. But just in thinking about it from the big picture, if we look at the United States and figure out how many Hispanic-Americans, African Americans or Asian-Americans are currently residing in the United States; any one of those numbers are going to be drastically higher than the 3.4% of LGB and the 0.3 of T. So we can tell that that buying power is probably even more significant if we actually compare it to the number of people. And I hope by the next webinar that I do, that I have that breakdown.

So as I said I was going to breeze through this one; so now you know what LGBT stands for, you know what acronyms people prefer, you have an idea of the geographic size and the buying power, all with US-based numbers.

Let’s talk about communications…

So now let’s talk about communications a bit. So I want you to- the number one takeaway I want you to have is just that poor communications is going to impact your bottom line, it’s not really an if but rather it will impact your bottom line, so I just want to make sure that you walk away knowing that. That you really need to know how to communicate with people. And I’m just going to give you a case study that’s Cracker Barrel versus Duck Dynasty, and this happened in January, so I just want to kind of give a little brief overview of that dramatic scene that played out. And then I also want to cover the Seven Deadly Sins, and as I’ve mentioned I’ve talked about them before but today I’m going to go into them into a little bit deeper detail and show you how to find out more information about them.

So the first thing, and this is where I like to keep people on their toes. So from a show of hands, there’s a little hand option, how many of you have been offended? Let’s see if you’re still awake. Alright, here come the hands. Awesome. Alright. And now let’s be honest, and how many of you have offended someone else. Show of hands. I love when I have an honest group of people. Yeah, right? We’ve all offended somebody, whether it’s intentional or not. So sometimes people are a little shy about admitting to this, but I appreciate your honesty today. And like I said, the key takeaway here is basically that poor communications is literally just- it’s the kiss of death. And again, I don’t want to be too dramatic but- and of course I’ve put the Grim Reaper on your screen just for entertainment value, but essentially when you communicate poorly as it relates to the LGBT community, you are sending a lot of signals to the community that you may be disingenuine, you may be inauthentic, and again kind of going back to one of the things that we talked about earlier, is people are expecting you to be in it for a genuine reason; and if you’re not, you’re just point blank not going to get business.

So here we’re going to talk about communications and in the Seven Deadly Sins we’ll talk about stereotypes and assumptions and all that kind of stuff. So there’s a lot of ways that you can miscommunicate and not even realize it. But what I want to cover is a case study first. And my number one thing for you here is just keep calm and stand your ground. And I say this in a somewhat playful way, but if you have an opinion and your opinion is against others, don’t be afraid to stand your ground on that opinion. And now, let me just preface with if your opinion happens to have anything to do with being anti-LGBT, number one you are not in the right place even listening to this webinar, and number two, putting together any type of LGBT campaign is going to be drastically unsuccessful for you. So I have a strong hunch, especially since I know a lot of you on the webinar today, that you’re here because you are indeed pro-LGBT. So my point being with the keep calm and stand your ground, is if you have an opinion whether it’s the popular opinion or not, just don’t be afraid to stand your ground on that opinion. And this comes very much into play in just a couple of moments when I share with you the Duck Dynasty versus Cracker Barrel little snafu that happened.

Let’s get interactive…

So I think all of you are probably very familiar with the gentleman on the right, so let’s make this interactive. Who can tell me what this guy’s name is? Okay so we have a couple people who know that this is Phil Robertson of the Duck Dynasty clan. And I don’t know if you remember what happened, so I’ll give you a recap. So basically in- sometime in January, GQ Magazine did an interview with Phil, who is the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty show. So I don’t know if anybody here even watches Duck Dynasty, I personally saw it once prior to the scandal happening when I was just kind of flipping through channels one day. But essentially it’s on A&E Network, and it has a lot of viewers to it, so it’s a significant size of viewers, and it’s one of A&E’s I think top rated shows; or I should say was one of their top rated shows. So GQ Magazine decides to do an interview with Phil, and it came out I want to say it was right towards the end of January. And in the interview, and mind you the guy who did the- kind of did the reporting and kind of met with Phil, he went down there – and if you read the article it’s actually a really interesting article because it really just kind of gives you a taste into the life of what Phil or any of the Duck Dynasty folks might experience just as their daily life. And now a couple of things to note is that Phil is super, super religious and if you have seen the show or you see clips of the show, you can see that he as the patriarch is exceptionally religious. So this should not come as any surprise to anybody. He is also a- like just take a look at him number one. He’s like a, I don’t want to say a swamp person but he’s like- he lives in Louisiana in kind of like in the middle of nowhere, he’s very much in tune with nature, he’s a hunter, his family makes duck calls. So it’s hard to articulate without sounding derogatory or offensive, but my point here is for him to have any of the views that he expressed in GQ, I was not surprised by any of them. And I don’t really know why people were surprised when this came out. So basically the GQ Magazine article ran and in it Phil had made some really disparaging comments about the LGBT community, he made some disparaging comments about slavery in the southern United States, and he really just said some really terrible things. But if we put it into context, it should not be that surprising that he would be saying these things, because he was talking about- he was quoting bible verses as it relates to LGBT people, he was talking about basically his denial of slavery, and so for somebody growing up and living in the southern part of the country in Louisiana, I’m personally not that surprised that Phil would have these beliefs. And I think it’s perfectly acceptable for him to continue to have those beliefs, because me as somebody who educates around LGBT, I’m not going to be able to make an impact on someone like him. He has deep-seeded beliefs around the LGBT community that are very negative and ultimately are not great, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to be able to change that. That’s his personality, he has every right to stand his ground on his beliefs.

But essentially what happened is that A&E decided that after that GQ Magazine article came out, that they were going to suspend Phil from the show. And they did so because they had a huge outcry of LGBT people in addition to not just being offended about the LGBT comments, but they were offended about the slavery comments. A&E basically said, “Let’s pull Phil indefinitely from the show to suspend him essentially for his inappropriate comments in GQ.”

Now there’s so many things, so many things that are wrong with this entire scenario but it strikes me that it seems a little odd that A&E would not have known what GQ was going to run about him prior to it actually running. So I actually think the entire thing was a media- like a media hoax that actually ended up going- not playing out in their favor.

So what happened is that Phil gets suspended, he’s off the show, everybody is up in arms so it’s basically LGBT people and anybody that is pro-equality for anyone, is kind of like in favor of ‘get Phil off the air, he shouldn’t be on public networks talking about- spewing this hate speech,’ et cetera. Then you have the conservative movement who’s coming in to back Phil’s side of saying he has a right to free speech, et cetera, et cetera.

So now Cracker Barrel plays into this, and this is where we get down to business. So we’re not really- yeah, the whole Duck Dynasty thing, there’s a business component to it of course, because A&E is of course a business, the network is a business, Duck Dynasty itself is a business. But what my point here is, is that Cracker Barrel decides that they’re going to get in on this whole thing. So Cracker Barrel must have been hearing it from God knows who that this was happening, and decides that they’re going to take all of the Duck Dynasty stuff off their shelves. And I don’t know if they took all of it off, but I know I read somewhere that they were taking like bubbleheads off, which is so ridiculous if you just think about it but that’s beside the point.

But so the Duck Dynasty bubbleheads are out of the shelves of Cracker Barrel. So now they were caving to pressure from somewhere. So whether that had been an LGBT group, or whether it was just an equality and a human rights type of group, wherever it came from somebody was badgering Cracker Barrel to make a decision and get the stuff off the shelves. So in a hastily fashion they just literally took the stuff off the shelves, and I don’t think it came from any management because it seemed really haphazard the way it was done. So basically the conservative movement finds out that Cracker Barrel took down all the stuff, and now the conservative movement is really up in arms about it and is demanding that they put it all of the stuff back on the shelves. Which the fact that this is even like the argument that’s happening seems so petty and ridiculous, but ultimately the point here is that Cracker Barrel should have just stayed the hell out of it is my first point here, is I don’t know why they got involved in the scandal to begin with, they should have just kept- they basically should have just kept to themselves and not gotten involved in taking things off the shelves, putting things back on the shelves, et cetera.

So the purpose of bringing up Cracker Barrel is that I was not surprised in the least that Cracker Barrel would continue to publicize and promote the Duck Dynasty products. Because Cracker Barrel happens to score very, very low on what’s called the Corporate Equality Index. And this is something that I think everybody should be aware of; actually I should make that a polling question. Who here knows what the Corporate Equality Index is, or who the Human Rights Campaign is? Can you just put- just throw in and let me know if you know what it is? Just a simple yes or no.

Alright, seeing some hands. Okay so it’s looking like a mixed bag of people who know and who don’t know. Okay. So the Corporate Equality Index is put out by the Human Rights Campaign every year. And the image that’s on your screen, it’s called the Buying for Workplace Equality Guide, and it’s just a small six by nine booklet, that basically has all of the major Fortune 1,000 companies, any publicly traded company that wants to be ranked can be ranked. And the American Lawyers Top 200 List. So there’s a good amount of people who ranked on this. And basically you go through it and at any moment in time, I can flip through and say, “Oh, look, Mobile Station is terrible for LGBT equality. I’m not going to go to Mobile, but maybe I’ll go to Shell instead.” And like I know Valero is bad. So I know that basically all of the companies in this booklet, they’re being ranked on their policies for LGBT; they’re being ranked for whether they have non-discrimination policies, whether they’re actively involved in the community, if they have transgender benefits, if they have domestic partner benefits. They’re being ranked for all of these many, many things. And then they put it in this little booklet that’s red, yellow and green, and you can look at it really easily and I will show you just a snippet of one of the pages. So the pages basically look like this. And you can see that if I were to be debating whether or not I was- what I was going to eat for lunch, for example, based on the page that we have. I can look here and say, “Alright so I can either go to Olive Garden or I can go to Cracker Barrel.” And Olive Garden has a 100% which means they are doing everything right as it relates to being really committed partners in the LGBT community. Then you have a company like Cracker Barrel that has a 35%. And they are notoriously bad for LGBT people; they have really poor discrimination policies, and they have for years. And they really have no desire to change them from what I have seen, and I personally haven’t been into a Cracker Barrel since I can recall the last time, and it was in 1998. So, and that’s been a very intentional effort because there is a Cracker Barrel right down the street from me, and it wouldn’t even occur to me to go in there. And it’s because they just have terrible, terrible policies for their LGBT employees, for the community, they don’t really do anything to enrich the lives of the LGBT community.

But you have companies that you can see on here, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, TGI Fridays, Starbucks; all sorts of good brands. So this booklet basically kind of explained to me why I shouldn’t be surprised that Cracker Barrel would do something and kind of cave to the pressure of the conservative groups to put all this stuff back on the shelves. But basically as I said in the get-go, if you have an opinion it’s fine; I think that there’s a certain level of responsibility that you should have as like a CEO of a company or somebody that’s a visible spokesperson for a company that maybe you should keep your opinions to yourself if it relates to something that’s going to be controversial. But in this case it seemed very haphazard that Cracker Barrel decided they were going to just get in on this action, and they ended up getting themselves in trouble from both directions because basically they ended up alienating the LGBT group, the Human Rights types of groups, and they also alienated the conservative groups because they tried to tow the line in between, and really they should have just picked a stance and stayed with it. And in my opinion they should have just stayed out of it altogether.

The outcome with Duck Dynasty is that their ratings tanked, so they tanked significantly and I have a podcast where I cover this is really great detail and I site statistics and some of the research that I found during this whole fiasco. So I will provide you with a link to the full recap of the Cracker Barrel story if you’re interested. But the moral of the story is basically social media spreads like wildfire, the media these days, it just moves so fast. So you have to really be careful with what you’re saying. So with Phil he made a couple of disparaging comments about the LGBT community, and because of it the show’s ratings just tanked into the ground.

So while A&E might have thought it was a good idea and a good publicity stunt to do this, it completely and utterly backfired. So if you’re a company that has any type of standing in the community, just try to make sure that the ways that you’re communicating are not going to get you into deep, deep trouble; because it’s really easy to do just by simple, simple either nonverbal communication or verbal communication that’s just going to be the kiss of death as I said in the beginning.

The Seven Deadly Sins…

So now I’m just going to cover really briefly because we are just about at the top of the hour, but the Seven Deadly Sins. So in my opinion, and again everything that I’m talking about is really just- it’s my take on things based on conversations, based on research, et cetera. But in my opinion, I truly feel that 98% of LGBT marketing and communication failures occur for one of seven- for the most part – simple reasons to fix. And what I did just recently, is I put out a blog series called the Seven Deadly Sins of Ineffective Communications, and I’m going to be turning this whole series into a book, hopefully in the not-so-distant future, it will be my second book. And basically, I’m going to be using a lot of the information that I’ve already written that’s on the website. So I just want to cover the top Seven Deadly Sins, and I have the list of the blog posts that I’ve already written on the screen which I can send that to you as well in an email.

First sin: Making assumptions..

But basically the first one is around making assumptions. So why making assumptions is a critical mistake in your LGBT marketing efforts. And just assuming anything is usually going to get you in trouble, there’s no really two ways about that. So when you’re working with the LGBT community, be careful of what you’re assuming, and if you want more details about exactly what I mean by that you might be able to click on that link on the screen, probably not. But as I said I’ll make sure that I get that information over to you.

Stereotyping in your LGBT marketing efforts.. a huge NO.

And then are you stereotyping in your LGBT marketing efforts; and if so, stop. There’s a lot of ways that you can stereotype and get yourself into some serious trouble. So stereotypes in general are bad news, so again avoid them if possible.

Making and asking LGBT inappropriate questions? Stop right there..

And are you making, are you asking LGBT people inappropriate questions. My guess is yes, and it’s because I’ve seen many, many people do this; but there are a lot of inappropriate questions that shouldn’t be asked that people don’t really think about how offensive they might come across. So for the first one that’s most obvious that I can just throw out is asking a lesbian couple which one of them is the man. And I’ve written about this a couple of times, and I talk about it almost all the time when I’m speaking, because it’s just completely inappropriate. And if you’re trying to actually market to the LGBT community and get more lesbian clients, asking a question like that while you think it’s harmless is actually doing detriment to your business. And then are you nonverbally stereotyping in your marketing? So there’s definitely some nonverbal cues that can happen that are kind of red flags that you’re kind of patronizing, you’re- yeah, you’re patronizing the community and not in a positive way.

Refrain from having an insulting and derogatory attitude

And then the fifth sin is are your LGBT communications unknowingly insulting and derogatory? And again, so it’s just a matter of thinking about the phrases that you’re saying and every one of these blog posts has really deep details on exactly what this is about. So in the sake of time I won’t go into the details, but you can check out any of them; they’re all on the website, they’re all free, et cetera.

Avoid hidden implications of LGBT terms…

And then the hidden implications of LGBT terms and why you might want to avoid them. So for this I know we talk about GLBT and how that kind of just shows that you’re a little bit behind in the times. There’s a lot of implications around the term queer, and that’s covered as well. So when you can use it, when you shouldn’t use it.

Being aggressively assertive won’t help either…

And then why being aggressively assertive is not going to get you new LGBT customers. So there’s a lot of ways that you can offend people, and this is kind of a generality; you can offend people in so many different ways and not realize it.

So one of the things that I try to do for everybody that I work with and everybody who is a follower of mine, a subscriber to the podcast or to the blog, I want to make sure that I’m giving you as much information as I can so you don’t make those mistakes. So- or if you do make them you know how to bounce back from them; and that’s a really important thing to understand.

So part three, a quick recap is just better understanding how communicating is going to poorly impact your bottom line. The Duck Dynasty snafu and Cracker Barrel needing to kind of mind their own business. And I just gave you a little bit of an idea of what the Seven Deadly Sins of poor communications look like. But those blog posts do go into greater detail of not only what do they look like, but how to avoid them.

And now, there’s some time for Q&A, so if anyone has any specific questions, please feel free to make a note in the box here. Let’s see. Yeah I’d love to keep in touch with all of you so please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you want. I actually think I have- there’s my contact information so if we’re not already connected on LinkedIn, please feel free to find me there. There’s my phone number, my email address, whatever means it takes to get in touch with me, please do because I really, really love doing these webinars because I get to meet a lot of awesome new people. So thank you all so much for your time today, and we will be in touch soon, I’m sure. Thank you and we’ll talk soon.

Thank you for tuning in!

Alright, thank you so much for tuning into this week’s podcast that also happened to be the webinar that was done. So I hope you enjoyed the webinar, and of course if you’re interested certainly check out the next one on April 15th and if you actually sign up for the webinar you’ll get to see all the fun visuals that go with it and all that great stuff.

But before I let you go I do want to share with you the new commercial I have for Teazled. Every week for the last handful of podcasts I’ve been sharing with you a little bit of why Teazled is pretty amazing, but I actually now have a commercial to play for you instead. So listen to this and let me know what you think.

Teazled is a company who’s driving motivation is to pioneer traditional greeting cards for the non-traditional families; so that they’re also able to celebrate those meaningful moments, express their inner most thoughts, and communicate with those they cherish. Greeting cards help keep lines of communication open when we just can’t find the right words to ask for understanding, support and love. When you can’t find the words, we can. We also offer a line of business-to-business custom cards for you to serve your LGBT customers. Teazled, a greeting card for every occasion. For more information visit *www.jenntgrace.com/cards*.

Wonderful, I hope you enjoyed that new commercial for Teazled, and yeah so I hope you enjoyed this episode of the podcast; as I said it was a little bit different than usual but I hope you enjoyed it, and as always if you care to reach out to me, feel free to do so in whatever means makes sense for you. So whether that’s LinkedIn, sending me an email, putting a carrier pigeon in route my way, whatever it is just please, please feel free to reach out to me because I really appreciate your listenership and of course I’m always looking to build new relationships that are beneficial to everybody.

So thanks again and I will talk to you in just a couple of weeks.

About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

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