MUDRA INSTITUTE OF COMMUNICATION, AHMEDABAD
Scope of LGBT Marketing in India
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) for the wherewithal
to explore ...
Executive Summary
India is undergoing huge social and economical changes at this very moment. The elite corporations
are v...
Table of Contents
Introduction:..............................................................................................
Scope for further research...................................................................................................
Introduction:
No one in the mainstream world remembers why July 1991 is significant. But for the marketers, July
1991 was ...
The above argument leads us to more marketing specific areas of our study. From the analysis, we
know that we are targetin...
understand their consumption patterns, demographics, brand awareness and loyalty, how to talk to
them, which language to s...
 Extreme brand loyalty
Over-indexing in consumption
The consumption of the LGBT market segment in over-indexed in terms o...
(or we can call it whims and fancies). With that being pointed out, we can assume that the affluent
gay customers in India...
likely to spend about $1,300 between May and August 2011 for their leisure or business travel, while
during the same time ...
When it comes to fashion, India is a little behind, but it is surely and steadily catching up. This claim
can be substanti...
Corporate Community Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility can play a major role in
winning the brand loyalty of th...
the heterosexuals, neither will we need to price it differently and we can use the same channels and
touch-points to sell ...
The single-most important factor in the development of this global identity is globalization. Easy and
frequent travel, ex...
appositional urges of gays are fostered easily and it is fortified even more easily in the identity
created in the proposi...
Newspapers and Televisions used to provide the world with the insights regarding homosexual
identity and culture, which it...
Talking about the influence of ‘western’ culture over the multitude of homosexuals around the world,
we must also acknowle...
 Canada providing refuge to victims of anti-gay policy of their nation, thus becoming the first
North American nation to ...
major role to play in creating the global gay identity, it will make sense to understand the lifestyle
and livelihood of g...
The study found that people renting places (39%) are far lesser than number of people with
their own accommodation (54%), ...
The community members, in general, showed a greater tendency to spend big bucks, on an
average on activities like dining o...
mutual funds and other investment instruments. As far as real estate is concerned, only 5%
reported having purchased one a...
5) Media Preferences: When asked about the media consumption habits of the panelists and
what they do the most compared to...
on mainstream blogs and networking sites and on LGBT specific websites, more than the
lesbians, where the numbers are 25%,...
LGBT values and its impact on brands
As multicultural individuals, we understand that culture provides us with a unique le...
Shared Practices
Out of many shared practices, the one that marks a significant milestone in the life of every member
of t...
The imagery content analyses of the advertisements indicate the presence of an average of 2.2 codes
every advertisement (M...
In truth, LGBT marketing is not only more prosperous than traditional mass-marketing, but also a
more challenging one. But...
organization prides on their delectable choice of destinations, personalized service and handpicked
guides, chauffeurs and...
Vital facts that need to be addressed:
1) Online presence and making people aware about India as a LGBT friendly tourist d...
4) Varanasi: Spiritual appeal and no harassment
5) Mcleodgunj, Kasaul : Laid back attitude, minimal policing, hub of recre...
 Over 350,000 votes
 Over 300 couples registered from all over the world
The polish website of the airline received 2300...
2) Uniqueness: Products or services can be unique only when supplies are scarce and limited
and huge influencer in case of...
Online Dating:
Online dating in India has got immense potential to grow, especially among the LGBT segment of
India, due t...
the prime inspiration behind the successful Absolut Rainbow campaign, where the rainbow imagery
has been used to create a ...
Absolut No Labels campaign:
“In an Absolut world, there are No Labels”, this clearly demonstrates the campaign objectives ...
comScore, 75% of Indian people who are present online are youth, within 15 to 34 years. Due to this
demographic, India is ...
business model. But this particular model has got tremendous opportunities to strike a chord with the
members of the commu...
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
Scope of lgbt marketing in india
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An in depth study combining international case studies, economics and cultural aspects of the gays in India. Checking the feasibility of gender specific marketing activities in India.

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Scope of lgbt marketing in india

  1. 1. MUDRA INSTITUTE OF COMMUNICATION, AHMEDABAD Scope of LGBT Marketing in India
  2. 2. Acknowledgements I would like to thank Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad (MICA) for the wherewithal to explore an academic area which I may never have taken up in such detail otherwise. The research project has been an enrichment – both personal and academic, for me. I would like to sincerely thank my guide Prof. Harmony Siganporia for guiding me at all stages, for ensuring that my every doubt and query was adequately resolved, and for being there at all difficult junctures. She has driven me to excel, and is an attribute that will hold me in good stead all my life. Along with Prof. Siganporia, I would like to convey my sincere thanks Prof. A.F. Mathew, for inspiring me to explore such diverse dimension. I would like to express my gratitude to Prof. Anita Basalingappa for the motivation she provided me all along, and for her support during the testing times. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to my parents, for giving me the opportunity to explore my talents, and for their patience and support in all my endeavors. I am both proud and lucky to have a wife, who has been the prime source of support behind me coming to MICA and who has ensured that I make most out of my time here. I am grateful to my friends for being there for me every time I hit a roadblock, and for reassuring me of my talent at times when the going got tough.
  3. 3. Executive Summary India is undergoing huge social and economical changes at this very moment. The elite corporations are vying to expand their business on the Indian shores and Indian consumers are also getting exposed to international brands and their brand communications. Even though the value driven Indian market appears to be a very lucrative decision for businesses to expand their operation, but increasingly brands are finding it extremely difficult to create a foot-hold and then to grow in such a competitive and cluttered scenario, brands need to do something really different in order to make sure they stand out in the crowd. Content has become the new king and to create differentiation, brands are trying to explore the market scenario and come up with ideas which will get them loyal customers. And co-incidentally, a few brands have already started the process. Through the report, I expect to raise a few questions, few debates which will further fine tune the process. But, in order to do that, one must remember that almost all the aspect of traditional market positioning has been tried out and are extremely cluttered. To grow quickly, brands need to tap onto the previously untouched market, that of the lesbians and gays. Through the course of this report, we will try to figure out, using various reports, the estimated market in India driven purely by LGBT consumers; we will try to analyze their purchase drivers and consumer behaviour. Due to the unavailability of India specific data, we will take instance of activities that have happened in other similar countries and try to extrapolate and extend it onto the Indian markets. But in doing so, we can’t discount the role of Indian culture in the consumer decision making process and consumption patterns. Thus we will try to understand whether a certain part of gay cultures can be extrapolated on a global level, in order to fit into the consumer context in the target countries. We will try to understand customer demographics from a very quantitative point of view and try to generate insights from them. Choice of media vehicles and choice of language becomes critical while designing campaigns targeting this community. For that, we will analyze in detail the media consumption pattern of the community members and cultural code and symbols which are intrinsic to the culture of the community. Finally, following the global cues and other local trends, we will try to understand which industries have a prospect to kick-start a revolution as far as marketing is concerned, as this will not only make the brand stand out in the cluttered market, but will also pioneer in creating a entire new segment of customers.
  4. 4. Table of Contents Introduction:...........................................................................................................................................6 Literature Review: .................................................................................................................................7 LGBT as a customer segment................................................................................................................8 Over-indexing in consumption...........................................................................................................9 Entertainment: ................................................................................................................................9 Travel and leisure: ........................................................................................................................10 Lifestyle product:..........................................................................................................................11 Internet usage: ..................................................................................................................................12 Brand loyalty:...................................................................................................................................12 Emergence of the ‘global gay’ identity................................................................................................14 Essentialism vs. Constructionism debate .........................................................................................15 Mass media and identity of global gays...........................................................................................16 Gay movements across the globe.....................................................................................................18 LGBT consumer demographics and lifestyle ......................................................................................19 LGBT values and its impact on brands................................................................................................26 Shared Attitude.................................................................................................................................26 Shared Values...................................................................................................................................26 Shared Goals ....................................................................................................................................26 Shared Practices ...............................................................................................................................27 LGBT codes and symbols....................................................................................................................27 Categories which can spearhead in India.............................................................................................29 Travel and leisure.............................................................................................................................29 Airlines:............................................................................................................................................32 Luxury:.............................................................................................................................................33 Online Dating:..................................................................................................................................35 Beverages: ........................................................................................................................................35 E-commerce .....................................................................................................................................37 Telecom service providers: ..............................................................................................................38 Research Methodology ........................................................................................................................39 Primary Research: ............................................................................................................................40 Primary Research – Brand Perspective:...........................................................................................40 Primary Research – HR perspective: ...............................................................................................41
  5. 5. Scope for further research...................................................................................................................41 Bibliography ........................................................................................................................................42 Appendix..............................................................................................................................................46 Research questions and objectives ...................................................................................................46 Secondary research:......................................................................................................................46 Primary Research:.........................................................................................................................46 Primary Research – Brand Perspective:...........................................................................................47 Primary Research – HR perspective:............................................................................................47
  6. 6. Introduction: No one in the mainstream world remembers why July 1991 is significant. But for the marketers, July 1991 was a time when they found themselves standing in the crossroads of a huge marketing possibility and moral and ethical dilemmas. In July 1991, the ultra conservative “wall-street journal” deemed the worldwide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as a “dream-market”. Today, with only the LGBT market being valued at a whopping $ 2 Trillion worldwide (www.prlog.com, 2011), shows us the immense potential of the erstwhile “Pink Rupee”. The International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (IGLCC) concludes that the average population of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender form around 6% of population in developed and developing countries (IGLCC, 2008). By 2004, 36% of Fortune 100 companies had already started advertising directly to the LGBT market in the United States (Skallerud, 2009). According to a 2006 press report, $223.3 million is spend annually to talk directly to the American Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community members (Skallerud, 2009). The data shown in the report is featured from Prime Access, which tracks around 284 Gay Press Publications in the United States. This also mentions that much more amount has been spent on sponsorships and online advertising, which this survey report does not track (Prime Access, 2006). Following the global cues, the situation is fast changing in India as well. According to OutNowConsulting.com, a London based consulting firm, which has been conducting surveys among the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities around the globe and also provides advice to international giants like Lufthansa, Toyota and Citibank among others on catering to this community, the Indian LGBT market is thriving at around $ 200 Billion (CNBC Business, 2011). This estimation is following the global trend of 6% of GDP (as mentioned earlier as well). This fast expanding purchasing power of the community is prompting the corporations to take keen interest in the Indian market, which is currently dominated by a strong 45 million population (CNBC Business, 2011). If we have to estimate the total buying potential of the Indian urban LGBT population, then we have to further cut-down the population by Indian total urban population which is around 28.4% as of 2007 (expected to reach 40% by 2030) (Hindustan Times, 2007) and further dissect it to the percentage of urban population who belongs to SEC A1, A2 and A3 (according to the new SEC classification), which currently stands at around 18% (Market Research Society of India, 2011). Calculating with the figures cited above, this segment amounts to 200x0.284x0.18 or around $10 Billion. This actually means that we are potentially seating on a $10 Billion virtually un-tapped market opportunity.
  7. 7. The above argument leads us to more marketing specific areas of our study. From the analysis, we know that we are targeting –  Urban  Middle-to-high income group  Members of the LGBT community So, once we are done zeroing on the Target Group. We will need to know the habits of this community which will help the brands to reach this community in a more relevant way. In the discourse analysis lying ahead, we will try to understand the community in a better and broader way. Also, we need to understand that this particular TG of consumers we are trying to analyze are well read, well travelled, socially connected set of people are not only aware of latest trends and fashions but also like to keep themselves updated to local and global cues. Please note that, the entire context of this discourse analysis has been designed in a way to include ONLY this urban, middle to high income individuals who are members of the LGBT community. Usage of words like LGBT, gay, lesbian, GLBT along the lengths of this analysis will continue to represent this segment of consumers and this segment of consumers ONLY, until otherwise mentioned, specifically. Keeping that in mind, it is safe for us to assume that with growing “westernization” in/of India, the prevailing global cues will also be followed to Indian shores, if not happening already. Thus, we will try to analyze prevailing global cues and will try to understand its fitment in the Indian context. But before proceeding, we must understand that information relevant to the Indian scenario is not available and generating the information is beyond the scope of this analysis, thus we will be taking help of relevant global data and analyze the same under the lens of changing Indian cultural context in this era of rapid globalization. Also, it is extremely important for us to keep in mind that the trends we see today are global, gone are the days when trends used to “latest in the west” and only stands at “latest”, be it in any industry. Greater connectivity, lesser information asymmetry, efficient knowledge and technology transfer processes have not only ensured that trends can be replicated and produced anywhere to cater to consumer demands, but have also accelerated the process of the same happening, thus, standing in the present situation, we can expect similar amount change in terms of consumer behaviour which has happened in last 50 years, to happen in next 5-7 years. Literature Review: By now, we know the financial worth and the buying power of the LGBT community worldwide, in this section; we will go over various international document and publication to understand the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in a more detailed manner. We will try to
  8. 8. understand their consumption patterns, demographics, brand awareness and loyalty, how to talk to them, which language to speak and industry segments which can be largely benefit by talking to this particular community. We have to understand that this approach is fairly new in the Indian context and thus we will require some amount of extrapolation taking cues from the global phenomenon. However, due to de-criminalization of homosexuality in India, more and more members of this community are coming out in the open and are expressing their sexuality. Thus this provides us with the right opportunity to talk to them. Worldwide, the LGBT community is sometime also referred to as DINKs, or Double Income No Kids, this only justifies the claim that the community members have higher disposable income compared to their ‘normal’ counterparts (Commercial Closet, 2008). Even though now more and more gay couples are adopting kids or opting for a natural childbirth (by using IVF, mostly for lesbian couples), the spending power remains high (Commercial Closet, 2008). Also, the community members enjoy more freedom in-terms of buying luxury items and frequent travelling. The US census data shows us that 57% of same-sex couples have both the partners working compared to their heterosexual counterparts, for which the number is 48% (Commercial Closet, 2008). Similar study conducted in the United Kingdom reveals something even more interesting. In a survey done by outnowconsulting.com among 300 gay men in United Kingdom, it was found that 40% of them had a degree, incomes were higher than average (at around £20,000/year) (Skallerud, 2009). They took two international flights every year and the average credit card spending was £424 per month (Skallerud, 2009). The participation in this survey was absolutely voluntary in nature, where they responded to a survey circulated in the December 2003 and January 2004 issues of the Bent magazine, distributed as a free-street publication (Skallerud, 2009). A similar report suggests that average salary levels are much higher, at £30,000/year, compared to the national average of £18,000/year (whitehead, Scanlon, Monk, & Short). The break-up shows that gay men earned an average of £31,000/year compared to lesbians, who earned £26,000/year (whitehead, Scanlon, Monk, & Short). The average monthly disposable income among the community members were found to be £663 per month, where as men earned £743 and women averaged at £493 (whitehead, Scanlon, Monk, & Short). LGBT as a customer segment The major characteristics that set the LGBTs as a customer segment are:  Over-indexing in consumption  Internet usage
  9. 9.  Extreme brand loyalty Over-indexing in consumption The consumption of the LGBT market segment in over-indexed in terms of consumption (Hub- pages, 2009). The segment consumes the major advertising categories of entertainment, travel and leisure and lifestyle product and services at a much higher rate than the national average. The factors that contribute to the fact that members of the LGBT community consume these more than their heterosexual counterparts are higher median income, higher disposable income and more discretionary time. We will now look into these factors one by one (Hub-pages, 2009). Entertainment: According to a 2007 study done by New American dimensions and the asterix group, titled “Real World Lesbians and Gays”, members of the LGBT community are more likely to indulge in entertainment activities which demonstrate the community’s propensity to over-index (Hub-pages, 2009). This study also portrays that gay men and women are more likely to participate in nightlife activities, regardless it being gay themed or not (Hub-pages, 2009). Gay men and women are also more likely to indulge in activities like fine dining, concerts, plays, dances and musical activities (Hub-pages, 2009). This study also reveals that 43% of gay men are regular bar goers and they dine out 2.3 times a week on average and 29% of them actually spend more than $100 per week for doing so (Hub-pages, 2009). One of the fastest growing trends in this particular segment is the market for gay sports bar. In the US alone, there has been a stream of gay sports bar opening across the country. What we believe has happened here is the passion for sport has transcended the gender boundary and a healthy mix of gay and ‘straight’ people are found hanging out in the bars. Adding to that, these bars offer nothing like what a typical gay bar people assume they will. There are no karaoke, no live bands and no drag (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2011). What works in such scenarios is the presence of the niche created based on only SPORTS. And also superior, extra-friendly customer service, in order to break the stereo-types of a typical gay bar (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2011). Talking about the Indian scenario: We have specialised sports bar already opening their doors to Indian consumers, Manchester United Café bar being one of the examples of an international franchisee catering to the Indian masses. This demonstrates a trend of consumers demanding niche, custom made service according to their mood
  10. 10. (or we can call it whims and fancies). With that being pointed out, we can assume that the affluent gay customers in India will also look forward to receiving such custom made lifestyle service, even if it comes at a premium. With the banishment of the social stigma attached with this particular lifestyle, especially in the customer segment we are talking about, have encouraged people to come out in the open about their preferences. Many successful examples like VIP industries Radhika Piramal have also addressed the myth about LGBT people being weak, dumb and even disabled, posing a hindrance to their personal growth. Among all the categories we will be discussing in this piece, entertainment, possess the highest possible growth opportunity as far as India in concerned. And with a constant influx of foreign tourists and business professionals, many of them gays, these establishments will also attain a secondary revenue source through these expats. And it will be relatively easy for such establishments to attain traction, in terms of footfalls as this consumer segment is socially well connected and word- of-mouth spreads faster and penetrates deeper than any conventional mass media commercial. Travel and leisure: Due to the fact that members of the LGBT community love to travel, this particular industry segment has experienced significant amount of growth over past 30 years. The presence of IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) is the biggest fact which can substantiate this claim. IGLTA has over 2000 member businesses worldwide and it is spread over 84 countries (iglta.org). A survey conducted by Harris Interactive and Witeck Combs communication in June 2011, clearly indicates an increase in travel intentions among gay and lesbian Americans (Witeck Combs, 2011). Even during the economic downturn, less number of lesbian and gays cut their vacation plans compared to their heterosexual counterparts. According to the survey, 38% gays and lesbians expressed their intention to take a vacation whereas 34% of heterosexuals expressed the same (Witeck Combs, 2008). Due to this spending power of the American lesbians and gays, Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck Combs Communications quoted that “Though gay customers are not more affluent than others, they appear to budget more discretionary dollars towards travel, even during downturns in the economy such as we face now” (Witeck Combs, 2008). Witeck also added that another similar research conducted after the WTC attack indicated that lesbians and gays had a higher possibility to start travelling compared to their heterosexual counterparts after the 9/11 attack (Witeck Combs, 2008). Not only are gay Americans more likely to travel this summer than last, those who are travelling are planning to spend more money (Witeck Combs, 2011). LGBT adults report on average they are
  11. 11. likely to spend about $1,300 between May and August 2011 for their leisure or business travel, while during the same time period last year (2010), the average planned travel expenditure was $1,058 (Witeck Combs, 2011). This is not only a trend visible in United States alone, the reverberations are echoing in Indian shores as well. According to Sanjay Malhotra, founder of India’s first gay friendly travel business indjapink (www.indjapink.co.in) travel and tourism, as a sector, has immense potential to grow, along with hotel, bars and airlines (CNBC Business, 2011). According to the CEO of outnowconsulting.com, Ian Johnson, the budding trend in start-ups catering to gay and lesbian consumers is only mirroring the patterns of market development elsewhere, specially the west (CNBC Business, 2011). Taking cues from the global foot-prints, it is fair to assume that, in another 5 years, hotels and hotel chains will soon follow suit to gain competitive advantage with the gay and lesbian travellers (CNBC Business, 2011). Lifestyle product: Lifestyle products are another segment which can be largely benefitted by talking to the members of the LGBT community. This might include anything from fashion, beauty products and nightclubs. This is due to the proven fact that gays and lesbians all over the world enjoy a higher disposable income and also due to the fact that these are the sectors where the lines between homosexuality and heterosexuality is already blurring, even in India. Moreover, more number of gays and lesbians prefer to keep them updated with the latest happenings in style and trend world over. According to a 2008 survey conducted by Harris Interactive, nearly half (48%) of gay and lesbian adults keep themselves updated with latest style and trends, compared to only 38% of heterosexual adults (Harris Interactive, 2008). If we decompose the data to further levels of granularity, we will see that 53% of gay men keep themselves updated with latest style and trends compared to only 30% of heterosexual males (Harris Interactive, 2008). This is actually an improvement over 2007 data, where the figures were 39% and 32% respectively (Harris Interactive, 2008). What will encourage marketers further is the fact that 45% gays and lesbians are actually inclined to upgrade to a newer version of a product or fashion, compared to only 33% heterosexual adults (Harris Interactive, 2008). When it comes to men, the figures are even better, around 49% gay men are interested in regular upgrades compared to 35% of heterosexual males (Harris Interactive, 2008). Taking cues from the same, international heavyweights like D&G, Benetton and Kenneth Cole have already started to interact with the members of the community.
  12. 12. When it comes to fashion, India is a little behind, but it is surely and steadily catching up. This claim can be substantiated by the fact that India’s first Multi-Designer gay store, D’Kloset has opened up in Mumbai (Pink Pages, 2011) and it has been in operation since Christmas 2010. Also, with designers like Wendell Rodricks coming out of the closet, hope is that the Indian Gay and Lesbian fashion scene will only move northwards. Even though the gay and lesbian nightlife in India is far behind by international standards, but with more and more gay and lesbian tourists coming to India and quite a few places are tagging themselves as ‘gay friendly’ (Times Of India, 2012), this situation is bound to change very soon. But for the time being Voodoo club (Colaba. Mumbai), GayBombay, Pause (Bandra, Mumbai), Ginger (Russel St., Calcutta), Pegs and Pints (Chanakyapuri, Delhi), Club GoPink (Goa) etc continues to be the happening gay and lesbian clubbing destination (Indiadost.com). The only gay and lesbian lifestyle product that is at par with the international standards is online dating. This is because 1) Gays and lesbians use internet more than heterosexuals and 2) Internet assures their identity to be kept secret (Witeck Combs, 2010). All Indian dating sites today comes with a dedicated section for gays and lesbians and because sex is not a taboo in gay and lesbian community, such sites are mostly used for searching potential partners. Internet usage: Gay and lesbians use more internet than their heterosexual counterparts. This fact can very easily be justified using the Witeck combs 2010 report on internet usage. According to this report 54% gays and lesbians regularly read blogs, compared to 40% heterosexuals (Witeck Combs, 2010). And also, these people are more politically and culturally aware, as 25% of them (as compared to 16%) read culture and entertainment blogs and 22% of them (as compared to 16%) read political blogs (Witeck Combs, 2010). They are also more active on social networking, as 55% of gays and lesbians visit social networking site daily compared to 41% heterosexuals. Among internet users, lesbians however outnumber (63%) gays (52%) (Witeck Combs, 2010). Brand loyalty: Members of the LGBT community happens to be extremely loyal to certain category of brands, for example, alcohol, study shows that 60% of gays and lesbian ask for a specific brand of alcohol compared to 42% heterosexuals (witeck combs, 2007). The same research further indicates that gays and lesbians take their rights very seriously, and they might even shun or adopt products depending how they treat their employees. For example, 88% of gays and lesbians say that they will consider a brand if it is known to provide equal workplace benefits to its gay and lesbian employees and also make sure that they are not discriminated upon (witeck combs, 2007).
  13. 13. Corporate Community Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility can play a major role in winning the brand loyalty of the community members, as 77% gays and lesbians will be interested to consider a brand who supports non-profit and other causes which are important to a gay or lesbian person (witeck combs, 2007). These programs might include AIDS education and research, support of Gay Rights Initiatives, associating with a pride parade or film festival etc. The brand loyalty demonstrated by the gays and lesbians can be hugely beneficial for a brand, this is well proven in the case of Philadelphia Tourism, their LGBT specific marketing efforts gave them a return of $153 for EVERY marketing dollar spent (MSNBC, 2007). However, some marketers believe that in case of travel and tourism, there is nothing as ‘LGBT Specific marketing’, for example, Thomas Roth, President of Community Marketing Inc. believes that gays and lesbians, like any other mainstream community, wants to be addressed specifically and they also look for more personalization (MSNBC, 2007). With the rationale provided till now, we can safely conclude that LGBT, as a customer segment, is extremely lucrative. But the question remains whether communicating to them from a brand perspective will be feasible or not. We will try to answer these questions now. Quantity: World-wide, 6% (on average) of the population falls under this category (IGLCC, 2008). Moreover, they are a part of every culture and nation. Accessibility: 50% of gays and lesbians worldwide live as they are, as we call it, OUT (Homoeconomics). Even though the other 50% is merged in the mainstream, we can communicate to them using mediums, like the internet (as described above), using community specific language and codes (Homoeconomics). How can we possibly achieve that, we will see in the coming lines. Pride parades and other such events are also an effective way to reach the community. Economic feasibility: Communicating to the LGBT community is rather cost-effective. Mainly due to the fact that they are present online, in the blogs and the social networks, and they prefer online medium because they can keep their identities safe, they provide the marketers a cost-effective medium to reach them. Also, using the online medium, it will be a possibility to customize the communication in order to address specific concerns, which will increase the chances of a conversion (Homoeconomics). Even though the marketers have barely started to speak directly to this community, the segment displays an extraordinary loyalty towards brands who speak to them (witeck combs, 2007). If we have to analyze the customer segment from the aspect of the 5 P’s, we will realise that we need to change anything in the first 3 P’s. We will not require a different product than what we market to
  14. 14. the heterosexuals, neither will we need to price it differently and we can use the same channels and touch-points to sell the same. However, in case of services, we will need to modify the product/service offering to suit the need of the community, for example, travel destinations. But otherwise, there is absolutely no product change required whatsoever. In case of pricing, adopting and talking about a charity model, where a part of the price is donated to causes which are of interest to the community, will help the brand to move up the loyalty scale (Homoeconomics). But in case of people, we have to make sure either we employ a healthy mix of homosexual and heterosexual stuff in the workplace and talk about zero discrimination or do not portray any sort of aversion towards the homosexual employees. And to talk about these things, we will require promotional strategies which convey the message to the community members. For this, we need to realise and remember that mainstream advertisements do not work for gays and lesbians, to approach them, we can use 1) Specific gay and lesbian ads which will be tailor made to be put up in gay and lesbian media using targeted approach 2) Neutral advertisements that conveys a message which is of concern to the LGBT community (AIDS awareness, for example) 3) Use coded messages/symbols in mainstream ads (rainbow or pink ribbon, for example, details have been provided in section 4 of this article) Emergence of the ‘global gay’ identity Anthropological studies over the ages have emphasized on variations in homosexual identity creation in different cultures. However, recent evidences do point out that the emerging trend of the global gay identity, which is bridging the gap of cultural barriers. If we have to figure out the primary reasons behind this shift, then we have to talk about intensification of the ‘essentialism’ vs. ‘constructionist’ debate, the impact of growing mass media consumption and the development of international gay movements, all of which has a significant role to play in the solidification of the global gay identity. As we examine these social and cultural factors, we will realize that the complexities of globalization are an integral part of homosexual identity creation. Cultures around the world contain unique norms, traditions and values regarding sexuality. These sexual norms have changed over human history and as a recent phenomena, homosexuality is emerging as in international development. Anthropologists, over the years, have attempted to classify sexual relationships of different cultures based on gender and sex acts, among others. Despite having such taut classifications, it is becoming increasingly important to acknowledge the international identity of gays.
  15. 15. The single-most important factor in the development of this global identity is globalization. Easy and frequent travel, expanding networks and faster communication and the privilege of information have exposed different homosexual ideologies and lifestyle practices. In order to confirm the inception of a global gay identity, we have to explore different aspects of globalization that harnesses, or deters, the creation of the international identity. We do understand that some patterns indicate the presence of cultural specificity, but other patterns suggest this to be a universal phenomenon. The way we consume media is also a major area of study to understand the global gay identity. The western media, in many cases, has been alleged to create the global gay identity, by onslaught of media precipitation. The development of international organizations, movements and communities has also become an icon of brotherhood among gays across cultural and geographic boundaries. These factors, despite the cultural diversity and prevailing intolerance, contribute to the formation of the global gay identity. However, we need to understand that the homosexuality still being in a way “illegal” in India, the struggle of homosexuals in India is quite different than their western counterparts, where the boundary of legality does not traumatize the members of the community. Also, we do understand that assuming the Indian gay lifestyle will be identical to the western culture, will be wrong. Every culture always will have their own influences on creating a unique social identity for gays and lesbians. Taking that into account, we will try to analyze how globalization and mass media have contributed to create a global gay identity, which is subscribed by gays and lesbians across different cultures, including the ones in India. The identity is spread across the universe by the mass media vehicles, which is also highly westernized, as we will see in coming sections. Essentialism vs. Constructionism debate According to J. Schippers, as described in his 1989 work “Sexual Identity: Essentialism vs Constructionism”, this issue is mainly the concern over the process, through which a gay identity is formed. Essentialism believes that this identity is a universal phenomenon, which develops intrinsically in human characteristics. On the other hand, constructionists argue that that homosexuality is an invention, to explain certain sexual behavior in a cultural context. Both theories posses their own merits and demerits, while Essentialism does not take into account the cultural differences that have emerged in homosexual behavior, Constructionism fails to explain the ‘premature’ feelings, expressed by many, before learning about the concept of homosexuality. Thanks to advance psychoanalytical research performed by Jan Schippers (1989), we are now aware of the presence of appositional consciousness, in which sexual and other emotional feelings develop, and the propositional consciousness, which allows for the cognitive recognition of actions and identity (Schippers, 1989). And according to Shipper, with increasing global exposure, the
  16. 16. appositional urges of gays are fostered easily and it is fortified even more easily in the identity created in the propositional consciousness. In an individual level, identity creation is a collective set of processes experienced by the homosexuals, identifying them with the community at large. According to Dennis Altman (1971), “the very concept of homosexuality is a social one, and one cannot understand the homosexual experience without recognizing the extent to which we have developed a certain identity and behavior derived from social norms.” In his series of efforts to identify the construction of homosexual identity, Altman acknowledges the impact of community particular and society in general, in the process of formation of homosexual identity across the globe. In his work, Altman recognizes the fact that the global gay identity is constructed on the foundation of oppression, and according to him, without the oppression and intolerance, homosexuals would not require sticking to their identity, which is an effort to protect their rights and gain societal acceptance. If the divide between sexual orientations reduces across the globe, homosexuality will remain just as a behavior and will no longer describe an identity (Sutton, 2007). It is of extreme importance to understand that despite their global scale, cultural significance of homosexual acts vary globally. To cite an instance, in latin America, a person who essentially disregards the dominant gender role, is known to be a homosexual. So, if a man is sexually attracted to another man, but conforms to the male gender role, will not be called as a homosexual (Altman, Global Sex, 2001). According to Peter A. Jackson (1998), even though latin American homosexual culture appears to be quite similar to its North American counterpart, local specificity varies widely between cultures. But, the western gay culture is fast changing the perception of and about homosexuality the world over, and unfortunately, the global gay identity is bending more and more towards the western gay identity. Mass media and identity of global gays Homosexuality is evolved to be one of the most distinct and contemporary socio-cultural identity in today’s world. Thanks to globalization, billions of people across the globe are being exposed to the evolving western lifestyle of the homosexuals. Although the difference in identity, lifestyle and behavior of homosexuals within western countries is significant, an emerging trend of concreting the homosexual identity stereotype is not only pervading the western discourse, but also saturating different cultures in different parts of the globe. Some of the typical stereotypes include a taste for fashion, beauty and luxury, an active and enviable sex life and an existence of femininity within the inner self. Formation of this stereotypical identity has its root in the western culture, which Altman describes as “it is as impossible to prevent identities and categories from travelling as it is to prevent pornography from travelling across the internet”. Before the internet arrived, it used to be the
  17. 17. Newspapers and Televisions used to provide the world with the insights regarding homosexual identity and culture, which it derived from the west. These mediums were instrumental in conveying messages of achievements, failures, lifestyles and stereotypes of a handful of homosexuals based in the west, to the entire world. Thus, it was not late before certain ‘stereotypical’ attributes of the western homosexuals became the basis of creation of the global gay identity (Sutton, 2007). Some of the stereotypical identity markers that were used in the western culture, when related to homosexuals, are hairdressing, acting, decoration and housekeeping, a taste for opera and public nudity. Here, we also have to mention that creativity and individualism is also a product of such stereotypes regarding the homosexuals. This set of values and characteristics, even though accurate for a substantial number of homosexuals in the west, was an offshoot of mainstream, commercialized and middle class gay identity, and not necessarily with the poor gays or with the closeted business executive. Regardless of such incompatibilities, homosexuals around the world, when exploring their sexuality, more often than not tend to identify themselves with the gay identity provided to them by the mainstream media (Sutton, 2007). One cannot ignore the role played by Television and video in broadcasting the homosexuality of the western culture to the rest of the world. While describing the effect of pornography on gays of Thailand, Neil Miller (1992) explains that self-identified gays, who had rigid gender roles between sexual partners, have started to experiment as both ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ in sexual relationships (Miller, 1992). The video tapes gay seminars and meetings in New York and San Francisco have paved the way for homosexuals of Tokyo to use them as a model to develop their own organizations. In one of the most compelling cases of effect of mass media on homosexual identity formation, across cultures and geographies, Tom Boellstroff (2001) stated that over 90% of his LGBT respondents in Indonesia came to know themselves as Lesbians and Gays through mainstream media (Boellstroff, 2001). Even if we assume that these people became aware of the homosexual categories through their friends, it is most likely that these friends first heard about the categories from mainstream, mass media sources. And unfortunately, these mass media sources are more often than not provide an incomplete picture, negative in nature and based on gossips of western celebrities. This phenomenon is well described by the fact that Indonesians LGBTs, for some time, used to use the terms gay and lesbians interchangeably, as they were unaware of the distinct identities of the two. It will be fairly accurate for us to conclude that the media connection between the gays of the west and that of the rest of the world is full of faults and distortions. But, what we need to understand is the fact that globalization have made the rest of the world to come really close to the western gay culture.
  18. 18. Talking about the influence of ‘western’ culture over the multitude of homosexuals around the world, we must also acknowledge the fact that countries like Australia and Canada, along with several European nations, have also contributed towards the transmission of homosexual culture codes, but America have produced the most resilient model towards forming a global gay identity, as described by Altman (Altman, Homosexualization of America, 1983). This is ironic in a way because America does not provide that conducive an eco-system of tolerance and a liberal viewpoint where homosexuality may thrive. But, due to its economic hegemony on globalization, its homosexual culture has been able to penetrate into various cultural markets all over the world and Americanize the global gay identity (Altman, Homosexualization of America, 1983). The dichotomy of gender and the idea of being part of a distinct identity have motivated several cultures around the globe to embrace this model. This is despite the fact that the European model, which allows for lesser separation thus reduces the minority status, blurs the line between homosexuals and heterosexuals and provides for better social integration. The American model has been able to create a global gay identity, which feeds from the passion to be different, the quest for personal rights and the allegiance towards gay solidarity (Altman, Homosexualization of America, 1983). And it is likely that in near future the American model of self-conscious gay movement will be established across cultures. The tunes of American gay theme “In the navy”, blasting from the speakers across every gay bar in the world, only reminds us that it will be sooner than we might think (Altman, Homosexualization of America, 1983). Gay movements across the globe The role different global movement have played in the formation of a global gay identity have been beyond the confines of media and saturation of American popular culture (Altman, Homosexualization of America, 1983). Particularly, political movements have shaped the global gay identity and allowed for its growth in certain parts of the world. Similar to any other movement, LGBT movements across the world also learn from and influence each other. The similarity in such movements across the world includes mass demonstration, AIDS awareness, pride parades etc. Despite the similarities, there exist differences as well, but they are more to do with the role of national politics, presence of religious hegemony, lack of ‘sibling movements’ and impact and awareness of AIDS among the general population. Despite all these differences, number of people across the globe is subscribing to this global gay identity, and the global gay movements have got a major role to play in this transformation. This is primarily because of the achievements of gay movements across the world. A few examples will include,  Amnesty International agreeing to look into the situation of gay prisoners in 1991
  19. 19.  Canada providing refuge to victims of anti-gay policy of their nation, thus becoming the first North American nation to do so, in 1992 The gay movement in South Africa is one of the most prominent and powerful examples of international movements for gay identity and emergence of gay culture. The pressure exerted by the politicians and international governmental lobbyists provided the much needed help to bring down the prevailing apartheid system, and with the monumental change in the social system, came along the revolutionary gay culture. 1980 marked the inception of South Africa’s first multiracial gay rights organization, GLOW, and the prides parades started. We need to take note of the fact that these parades were modeled around similar parades in New York and San Francisco (Sutton, 2007). With the collapse of the apartheid system, the exile South African leaders, returned home with international ideologies, including liberal western system of gender diversity and legitimization of gay rights. Due to this, while re-building the nation, gays of South Africa, just like any other South African citizen, developed a strong passion for nationalism and liberalism. And the gay identity in South Africa since prevailed with a sense of a proud national identity, unlike that in the America. From the discussion above, it is safe for us to say that globalization is among the most significant forces in today’s world. The cultural divide among people, which kept the people in different parts of the world separated once, is breaking down, allowing new global identities to evolve. It is understandable that the global gay identity is a culmination of contributions made by various complex socio-cultural processes, which includes perception of identity, exposure to expanding media vehicles and socio-political movements, and all of these are combining to create a global identity that gays and lesbian around the world can relate to (Sutton, 2007). However, we must admit that this global identity lacks certain amount of diversity, owing to the domination of western gay philosophy, particularly the American gay discourse, which is instrumental in creating the global gay identity and gays around the world, belonging to different cultures, must choose to accept or reject it. However, despite the differences and obstacles, a global community is emerging, whose primary concern is to fight to control AIDS, secure human rights and obtain the identity that they have been ignored, rejected, persecuted and denied. However, it will be interesting to see whether the future belongs to a unified, global gay cultural code, or a harmonious existence between the global identity and individual cultural codes and system. LGBT consumer demographics and lifestyle Globalization has ensured that in today’s world, there is no such thing as “Latest trend in US”, social media, increased brand footprint in different geographies have made sure that trends always end up becoming a global trend. And as we have demonstrated the fact that the western gay identity has a
  20. 20. major role to play in creating the global gay identity, it will make sense to understand the lifestyle and livelihood of gays and lesbians in America and other western countries. This will help us to understand the segment in a better and deeper way. The following is the result of a study conducted by Community Marketing Inc. (CMI) over 30,000 gay and lesbian participants across the globe. Before we proceed any further, it is of utmost importance to clarify the fact that this is NOT an effort to quantify or provide a definition to the LGBT population. Instead, the objective of this report and subsequent findings is to provide guidance to different brands, in order to understand the community in a better way and for being able to reach out to the community using their media vehicles, events and organizations. Before we begin analyzing, we must understand that we will be talking about a highly connected and well-informed group of people. This is evident from the fact that 26% of gay men and lesbians are said to be aware of latest trends, new products, concepts or services, compared to only 18% of the general population. This proves that members of the LGBT community are Early Adopters (Prime Access, 2010). Not only they are Early Adopters, members of the LGBT community also happens to be great influencers as well, which can be substantiated by the fact that 60% of gays and lesbians claim that people often come up to them to seek advice (both gay and straight) whereas only 34% of the general population could make such a claim (Prime Access, 2010). In light of these facts, we will not further dissect and analyze the members of the LGBT community. The following information is referred from Community Marketing Inc.’s Annual LGBT consumer Index study (http://www.greenbook.org/Content/CMI/GayLesbianConsumerIndex2010.pdf). Where more than 30,000 respondents have been questioned about demographics, psychographics, purchase pattern etc., this report will help us take a closer look into the psyche of the segment. 1) Living Environment: One area where gays and lesbians showed major differences was the household they belonged to. Lesbians were found to be more likely when staying with a partner and with children and often with a pet. Lesbians, also, showed a higher tendency of reporting living outside cities and often owned a home and/or a car. Contrastingly, most gay men reported living with a roommate or mostly, alone. Lesbians were found to be more open about relationship choices, 75% of them indicating a possibility of getting into a relationship, compared to ‘straight’ women, whereas, gays were found to be only 63% likely to get into a serious relationship. Even though 40% of the total population reported living a big city and 21% reported living in a medium sized city, it was found that more gays (42%) stay in big cities compared to lesbians (32%). Almost 1/3rd lesbians reported that they were living in a place (suburb, rural area etc.) which is not a big city, compared to only 27% men.
  21. 21. The study found that people renting places (39%) are far lesser than number of people with their own accommodation (54%), and gays were they one doing most of the renting (41%) compared to their lesbian counterparts (35%). In terms of type of accommodation occupied by the members, it was found that lesbians were occupying more of urban stand alone homes (24% and 20%), suburban stand alone homes (27% and 22%) and rural homes (12% compared to 9%). But the gays were found to more comfortable in urban condos or townhouses (17% and 9%) and apartments (23% and 18%). 46% of the total participants said they were living with their partner, lover or spouse where as a little more than 1/4th confessed stayng alone. The community members are also fond of pets, evident from the fact that 23% of them own a cat and 27% of them own a dog. For the rest, 12% stayed with their roommate, 9% with their children (in case of 7%, children are under 18) and only 7% stay with their parents. Lesbians are found to be more likely to be staying with a child (19% and 5%), a partner (59% and 42%), 39% had a dog (only 23% men have dogs) and 38% had a cat (18% for gays). Whereas, gay men were found to be leaving alone (33% as to 19%), or with roommates (14% as to 8%) or with parents (7% compared to 6%). 2) Participation in Entertainment: As mentioned earlier as well, the community members have displayed a higher tendency compared to their ‘straight’ counterparts to dine out, especially with friends or prospective partners, atleast monthly, if not on a weekly basis. As gay men showed a higher tendency to stay alone, they also reported higher propensity to dine out compared to their lesbian counterparts (37% as to 27%). Whereas, consistent with their propensity to stay outside big cities, 41% lesbians reported enjoying the outdoors on a weekly basis, compared to 33% of gay men. Gays seem to be more sociable than lesbians, as they seem to enjoy their time at the bars and clubs on a regular basis (49% compared to 31% lesbians) and other activities like going out for a movie (40% as to 29%) and attending a live musical performance (21% as to 14%). The panel displayed a lower propensity towards other activities, even though almost 26% lesbian and 38% gays reported visiting the gym or a sports club once a week. Only 48% of the community reported visiting such establishments. Almost equal number of gays (33%) and lesbians (37%) expressed their interest about attending a community fundraiser. Among other seasonal activities, the most visited where political fundraisers, going for a spa or yoga sessions, where lesbians showed more enthusiasm compared to gays.
  22. 22. The community members, in general, showed a greater tendency to spend big bucks, on an average on activities like dining out with friends in restaurants, clubs and bars and on alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea. Restaurant goers reported an average spending of $60/week, whereas spending on bars and alcohol was averaged at $30 per week, which ironically, is more than the average spending on clothing at $26. Spending on coffee and tea averaged at $14 per week and bottled water at about $10 per week. 3) Beverage Consumption: Beer, wine and vodka were found to be the beverages of choice for the community members. In terms of beer and wine consumption, gays and lesbians were found to be equally likely to consume the same, but gays demonstrated a higher tendency to drink vodka, compared to the lesbians. Among beers, participant showed fondness towards different brand of light beers, such as miller lite, coors lite and bud light and the average consumption were about 5-6 units every week. Apart from coors, miller and bud, the participants also reported consuming brands like stella and corona. About their choice of places to have a drink, 69% reported enjoying their drinks at a bar or a restaurant and 16% among them reported an average consumption of 2-3 drinks per week at their favorite bar and restaurant. Not taking into consideration the number of people who mentioned they don’t drink in bars and restaurants, the average weekly consumption were found to be about 5 drinks. 4) Purchase Influencers: when asked about the purchases the panelists have made, most of them talked about purchasing sports equipments, especially running shoes, which 33% of total respondents said to have purchased. Apart from shoes, the segment demonstrated a tendency of buying bi-cycles (13%) which included different types of bikes including city bikes (4%), road bikes (4%) and mountain bikes (5%). Other sporting equipments in the list included camping gear (13%) and hiking boots (8%). Lesbians, consistent with their accommodation habit of staying outside big cities, bought more sports equipments than gays, which included running shoes (36% as to 32%), camping gear (20% as to 10%) and hiking gear (11% as to 7%). Talking about other purchases, the panel displayed an affinity towards electronic equipments and stated that 29% have bought a laptop and 28% have got a new PDA or a smartphone. HD television was the next hot buy at 26% followed by standard feature phones at 24%. They community showed signs of financial maturity as well, demonstrated by 21% buying stocks,
  23. 23. mutual funds and other investment instruments. As far as real estate is concerned, only 5% reported having purchased one and 17% stated to have purchased a car. In terms of shopping for electronic gadgets, gays have outnumbered lesbians, this is well demonstrated the facts that 30% of gays have purchased PDA or smartphones compared to 24% of lesbians buying the same. The trend continues in terms of HD television where gays out run the lesbians by 27% to 22%, desktop computers (14% to 10%). But in the case of standard feature phones, the table is heavier for lesbians (29% as to 23%). In terms of financial instruments gays have demonstrated a higher likelihood to have invested in stocks and bonds than the lesbians (23% as to 18%). But in case of laptops, cars and real estate, the group did not differ much in terms of likelihood. The community members sounded equivocal when asked about whether company policies or brand values have an impact on the purchase decision or not, 45% of them mentioned being influenced by fair employment practice of the company, which included points like non- discrimination in recruitment practice, recognition of employees and other LGBT sensitive policies. Panelists also mentioned getting influenced by companies supporting gay political causes (marriage rights), where 37% admitted being influenced by such a company, other influencers included gay organization charities (34%) and participation in different gay events by the company (29%). As mentioned earlier, the community showed high loyalty towards the brands, even though 53% respondents mentioned that they are loyal towards one particular brand, but might want to try out another brand depending on the factors mentioned above, about 25% stated that they prefer certain brands but have tried new brands in regular intervals, and about 12% stated absolute brand loyalty. High level of awareness among the community members enabled them to identify the marketing mission behind supporting a cause. Almost 53% respondents viewed them as pure marketing campaigns despite it actually helping a cause. Gays were more dominant in voicing their opinion compared to lesbians (55% to 50%). 42% respondents praised cause related marketing as a good avenue to raise money and create awareness, and lesbians led the ranks here with 47% share of voice compared to a gay share of voice of 40%. This leads us to the marketing terms the community members are most likely to accept. The preferred marketing term to address the community were found out to be “Gay and Lesbian” (mean of 4.3) and not “Lesbian and Gay” (Mean, 4.0). Other terms which were tried out were “LGBT” (Mean 4.0) and “Gay friendly” (Mean 4.0). if we try to compare the terms LGBT and GLBT, women were found strongly in favor of LGBT whereas men were found to accept both the terms with equal favor.
  24. 24. 5) Media Preferences: When asked about the media consumption habits of the panelists and what they do the most compared to a 45 hour workweek, participants reported spending a mean of 37 hours per week in activities that included using the internet for personal work (13.1 hours/week), watching TV (12.2 hrs), listening to music in various online and offline channels (10.5 hrs), listening to radio (6.7 hrs), reading (5.8 hrs) and working out (4 hrs). Gays were found to be spending more time with their computers and watching TV, compared to the lesbians, they spent an average of 14 and 13 hours respectively while lesbians spent around 11 hours on each activity, every week. Gays and lesbian were found to be hooked onto blogs and other social discussion forums, which they read atleast once a month and the most visited blog sites were found to be the Huffington Post (18%), Towerload (9%) and perez Hilton (8%). Gays and lesbians displayed different tendencies while consuming this blogs. Gays were found to be hooked on Towerload (11.2% to 2.1%) and Perez Hilton (8.6% to 6%), averaged monthly, lesbians were dominating visits to sites like Queerty (13.7% to 6.2%) and Pam’s House Blend (6.1% to 3.7%), averaged monthly. Facebook was unanimously voted the best social networking site for both gays and lesbians and 66% reported using it atleast once a month. MySpace was a distance second with only 25% respondents having visited it atleast once a month, followed by linkedin at 19% and twitter at 18%. No specific preferences were found among lesbian and gays in this numbers, both were equally likely to consume this social media platforms. Even though there are no differences in social media consumption habits, there exists some differences as to why it’s being consumed, in general, the prime usage drivers remain as staying in touch with friends and family (63%), looking to meet old friends (45%), finding new entertainment sources (43%). Apart from this, the other influencers are finding information about upcoming events (32%), the state of the community in general (30%), new tourist destinations (25%). As the community is socially very active, motivations like dating (23%) and hooking up (22%) were also found to be prime motivators behind the consumption habits. If we have to look into further detail as to who consume what more, we will see that gays use the social networking platform more than the lesbians for entertainment (46% to 36%), finding new destinations (27% to 21%), dating opportunities (28% to 9%) and hooking up opportunities (30% to 3%), whereas, lesbians used social networking more for staying in touch with family (38% to 32%). Gays were found to be prone to respond to advertisements
  25. 25. on mainstream blogs and networking sites and on LGBT specific websites, more than the lesbians, where the numbers are 25%, 39% and 14% respectively. Ergo, the media most used the panellists on a daily basis were found to be TV (72%), Radio (59%), mainstream websites (51%) and daily newspapers (Non-LGBT) (39%). Our tech-savvy group of panellists were found to check their emails multiple times a day (46%), use text messaging multiple times a day (31%) and visit facebook multiple times a day (28%). Gays displayed higher tendency (45%) towards checking their emails all day long than lesbians (38%). The motivations mentioned above keeps the lesbians hooked onto facebook more than the gays and only 23% lesbians reported to NOT have a facebook profile, compared to 27% gays. Despite the differences in consumption motivations, gays and lesbians didn’t differ in the overall frequency at which they used text messaging, facebook etc. 6) Religion: When asked about their views on religion, 47% of panellists expressed that they belonged to a moderate to somewhat religious family background, 31% of them found to be very religious and 22% not very religious. Even though participants expressed belonging from a religious family, 45% responded by mentioning that they were not religious currently, 37% mentioned that they were somewhat religious but not a regular attendee at the service. Only 17% mentioned that they were part of a church or a faith community. The findings tell us quite a few things about the members of the community, such as:  Gays are more sociable compared to lesbians. They do enjoy meeting new people and hooking up. Also, they spend more on hanging out and alcohol.  Lesbians are more family oriented compared to gays.  Both gays and lesbians are heavy consumers of entertainment and wellness products and services  Lesbians prefer the outdoors more than the gays  Gays are bigger subscribers of financial products compared to lesbians  Both gays and lesbians are active participant and consumers of social media  Gays love to travel more than the lesbians  Facebook is the choice of social media platform for both gays and lesbians  Gays have more affinity towards electronic gadgets compared to lesbians  Both gays and lesbians trust blogs and other social discussion forums as their source of choice for obtaining different sort of information  Lesbians find it easier to relate to the term LGBT rather than the term GLBT
  26. 26. LGBT values and its impact on brands As multicultural individuals, we understand that culture provides us with a unique lens to observe the world, which includes brands as well. The prime objective of marketers should be to create a connect among the consumer and the brand, keeping in mind the presence of this unique cultural lens. LGBT customers also view brands and communications through a unique cultural lens. The distinct gay culture has to be considered while to strategize to expose them to marketing communications which in turn will motivate this untapped customer segment. Even though we understand that LGBT culture is not a single monolith, but there lies significant reward in being able to tap into the gay consumers’ shared values and experiences. The reward we are talking about here is mainly higher revenue and increased return on marketing investment. According to Wikipedia, culture is a collective set of shared value, goal, practices and attitudes which are the characteristics of any organization, institution or group. If we try to break this definition into granular pieces and analyze the cultural insights, it will lead us to measurable marketing results. Shared Attitude Members of the LGBT community share the outsider status, which constantly reminds them of the fact that they are not part of the mainstream culture. This motivates many lesbians and gays to create their own roadmap in life. This spirit of independence is a great way to tap into this market. Also, as gender roles are more fluid in nature for gays and lesbians, they are less likely to resound to the stereotypical portrayal of the masculine and the feminine. Shared Values This particular customer segment values diversity and the sense of inclusion, to a great extent. This insight leads us to use our marketing tools to devise communication strategies to portray that brands are also follower of equality, and it treats its entire customer equally, whether they are gay or straight. This compelling message, when delivered artfully, can go a long way in winning the brand loyalty of LGBT consumers. Also, with the presence of highly targeted media channels in today’s world, such communications and easily and efficiently delivered to the LGBT consumers. Shared Goals Members of the LGBT community share a common goal, that of health, happiness, love and prosperity. But due to the sexual orientation, these goals imply different meanings. For example, publicly recognizing the presence of true love in the face of detrimental social standpoints, make the celebration of true love even more special. The goal of the brands should also be to help LGBT community member to achieve their goals and make their lives a celebration.
  27. 27. Shared Practices Out of many shared practices, the one that marks a significant milestone in the life of every member of the LGBT community is to come out in open and reveal one’s true sexual identity to their family and friends. This leads us to the concept of creation of a “chosen family”, which is nothing but a group of close friends from the LGBT community, who provide constant and relentless support and love, which, in a traditional scenario, is usually provided by one’s own family. This happens to be one of the landmark moments in the journey called life of any member of the LGBT community and brands need to find out a way to not only be a part of this journey, but also to be present in milestones like this. But, the point that needs to kept in consideration the fact that this has to be done in an unexpected or a totally innovative way. These insights should be called upon and taken into serious consideration while devising a communication strategy targeted towards the audience. These insights also help the brands to create compelling programs to keep the target group engaged with the brand. Putting an effort to understand the lesbian and gay community in a better way and then create communication strategies using the insights developed, marketers can create successful marketing campaigns, which will not only create brand loyalty, but it will also help to convert this loyalty and awareness to find success in the form of increased sales figures and greater customer satisfaction. LGBT codes and symbols In a study done by Dr. Al Marshall of Australian Catholic University, 12 gay and lesbian publications across 6 different cities were studied and the advertisements were analyzed to understand the codes and symbols used in there (Marshal, 2009). These publications were: Paris: Tribu, Sensitif Los Angeles: Frontiers, Odyssey Barcelona: Shangay, Gay Barcelona London: One80London, 3Sixty Sydney: SSO, SX Munich: Leo, Blu This study of 347 Advertisements belonged to different product categories. The product category that featured most number of times were clubs and bars, followed by online and off-line retail, movies and theatre and travel and rental (Marshal, 2009).
  28. 28. The imagery content analyses of the advertisements indicate the presence of an average of 2.2 codes every advertisement (Marshal, 2009). Among the common images found, the one single image or icon that features as the dominant imagery is that of the youthful, shirtless, hairless and Caucasian male (Marshal, 2009). The other dominant theme is having no gay imagery at all. These ads can be presented as the mainstream advertisements (Marshal, 2009). But the most interesting thing is the fact that there were not many differences in the advertisements among these 6 metropolitan markets (Marshal, 2009). 21.9 2.9 9.8 7.8 11.8 9.8 18.7 17.2 % of Total Clubs and bars Finance/insurance/legal/tax/business DVD/CD/Theatre/Concert Saunas/Sex clubs/Sex lines Health Products/HIV prevention/Self development Travel and events (parties, film festivals, pride parades) Retail(online/offline)/Café/Restaurants Other(online dating, alcohol, personal and beauty products)
  29. 29. In truth, LGBT marketing is not only more prosperous than traditional mass-marketing, but also a more challenging one. But, when strategically planned, it is less risky and with vastly more profit potential. Truth-telling by members of the LGBT community, news reporting, research and time have opened up the complex and once mysterious and threatening lives of modern LGBT consumers. Corporations that have demonstrated they value diversity and brands that have engaged in consumer dialogue that builds equity have succeeded with both the gay and lesbian consumer segment and the increasingly diverse general marketplace. The challenge for a brand should be to break into the market, generate a reputation by creating product/service differentiation, cachet or fad, then hold on to the loyalty of its LGBT customers when the next fad or quality competition comes along (Independent Gay Forum, 2001). Categories which can spearhead in India Travel and leisure Apart from Indjapink, there have been a flurry of speciality LGBT tour operators in India, GoPink Asia (www.gopink.asia) is a tour operator who specialises in custom making tours only for gay men and India features as a premium destination in their website. Even though most of their business come from Europe (especially France) and US, but they are considering opening their India business very soon. Out Journeys is a travel agent who caters both to gay men and women. They specialise in offering a diverse range of services, including independent and group-tours, at a very reasonable rate (Go India, 2012). This group also felicitates interaction between members of the community by the means of parties and get-togethers and visits to gay only bars in major cities in India (Go India, 2012). The 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 Youthful (appears under 30) Shirtless (bare chest and stomach) Hairless (upper body) Sexually aggressive to other men Touching/Embracing other men Gay symbols (rainbow, pink traingle etc) Muscular (muscle tone, low body fat) Caucasian Other (fetish clothing, accessories etc) No visual gay elements 31.7 35.4 29.1 2.3 6.3 13.5 30.8 30.5 4.8 41.7 % of occurrence % of occurrence
  30. 30. organization prides on their delectable choice of destinations, personalized service and handpicked guides, chauffeurs and escorts (Go India, 2012). Pink vibgyor, is an offshoot of an established travel agency named Vibgyor, which has been in business for more than 10 years and offers inexpensive and eco-friendly packages to gay and lesbian travellers (Go India, 2012). Sita tours and travel is the only player from the established Indian tourism player to foray into the LGBT tourism space. They specialize in unique and authentic travel experience for individuals and small groups (Go India, 2012). Current position of Gay tourism in India: 1) International gay travellers recognise India as a popular travel destination, but 45% of them have very low expectations from India. 2) The perception of India being a gay unfriendly country still looms large in the minds of the travellers. This may or may not be intentional, for example: a. Asking 2 men travellers what kind of bed they will prefer, twin or double, when they are occupying only one room, this embarrasses the gay travellers, but the reception agent might not be asking this to embarrass them. b. Question and inquisitiveness by local drivers, taxi about their family, especially when asked about their wives/husbands. c. Lack of gay tourism companies in the country makes it difficult for the travellers to make tour companies understand the kind of service they are looking for. 3) Even though all the top-end hotels are gay-friendly, the mid and budget range hotels do not provide the essence of gay friendliness. This is a huge deterrent in this business. Why Indian tourism market can change for better: 1) These travellers spent long period of time in India. 70% of travellers to India have spent atleast a month in the country and 80% of them have visited India more than once. Thus the customer lifetime value of travellers to India is potentially very high (Gay Tourism India, 2012). 2) With proper positioning, friendly and sensitive hotel partners and courteous stuff, it is safe to assume that more international travellers will prefer India as their choice of destination along with increasing domestic travellers.
  31. 31. Vital facts that need to be addressed: 1) Online presence and making people aware about India as a LGBT friendly tourist destination. 2) Most LGBT travellers express a disinterest in regular packaged tour, in the pretext of CONVENEINCE, which includes but not limited to embarrassing situations and circumstantial discomforts (Gay Tourism India, 2012). This provides an opportunity for new tour operators to come up and create custom made packages for the community members. 3) Quality is the prime reason LGBT travellers shell out a premium for. Thus, features like bigger accommodation, nicer designs and better services will be the key to attract and retain this segment (Gay Tourism India, 2012). 4) Cruise liners in India, specifically for gay people might sound a little distant, but a survey response says otherwise. According to the survey, about 70% of domestic gay travellers have actually expressed interest about having such a service available only for them (Gay Tourism India, 2012). On the wake of new business opportunity, Indjapink have successfully conducted the PINKPERFECT training programme in a lot of hotel chains on “How to treat an LGBT traveller right.” It covers key areas of gay travel concerns such as appropriate terminology, debunking stereotypes and provides practical tips on how staff can make their lesbian and gay customers feel comfortable being themselves,” according to Indjapink founder and director Sanjay Malhotra (Gay Tourism India, 2012) Chicago based Zoom vacation is another travel agency which operates custom made tours for LGBT travellers. According to them, to build on reliable brand equity and to ensure customer retention, operators need to provide high-quality of service and convinces the travellers to trust their services time and again. These travellers typically seek a deeper physical, cultural and emotional bond with the people, places, sights and entertainment choices of the featured destinations, yet demand the highest level of comfort, serice and value (Gay Tourism India, 2012). The key here is to be able to provide an opportunity to experience fascinating cultures and meet interesting people in a thoroughly modern, fun, luxurious and valued way (Gay Tourism India, 2012). Even though India as a country delivers a lot of promise in terms of tourism, but there are certain parts of the country which are more relevant in terms of the kind of lifestyle tourism we are talking about here. The places which have the highest potential of attracting the bulk of LGBT customer are: 1) Goa: an all time favourite hangout. Famous for its parties, nightlife and beverages. 2) Agra: Romantic destination. A new favourite among newlywed LGBT travellers. 3) Khajuraho: Images of the same gender attraction on the temple walls
  32. 32. 4) Varanasi: Spiritual appeal and no harassment 5) Mcleodgunj, Kasaul : Laid back attitude, minimal policing, hub of recreational drugs It is of utmost important for the tour operators to show the better aspects of life to the travellers, which will provide a better insight and deeper understanding of the country to the travellers. Airlines: Worldwide, estimating the purchase potential of the LGBT customers, airlines have started to talk to the LGBT customers. American Airlines (http://www.jaunted.com/files/admin/AA_LGBT_Ad_Nov_2007.jpg) was the first airline to actually reach out to this particular segment. Since then, all major airlines have tried to gain the loyalty of this segment. Communigayte (www.communigayte.com) is a full service solution provider based in Germany who specialises in LGBT marketing strategies and boasts an enviable clientele of leading airlines across the world (Communigayte). To set an example, Royal Dutch Airlines had launched a campaign where one can choose their seat mate. Where passengers on a specific flight can connect with other passengers in different social networking sites like facebook and twitter and decide on their seat-mates, especially on long haul flights. The service, which is called “meet and seat”, will enable travellers checking in online to access the social networking sites and pick their ideal neighbour (Daily Mail, 2011). Malaysia Airlines also tried to explore the possibilities by using social media. Their facebook application allowed passengers to check whether they have any friends travelling on the same flight or visiting the same destination around the same time as they are (Daily Mail, 2011). If we have to re-iterate the success stories airlines had while interacting with the LGBT community, we can take the example American Airlines with their ‘Rainbow’ club, which has constantly experienced an increase in revenues through its newsletters (FastCompany, 2009). Another such success story is that of the ‘Love is in the air’ campaign by Scandinavian Air Services (SAS) where they carried out World’s first gay marriage on-board their airplane with an entirely gay friendly crew (SAS, 2009). Where interested couples needed to create a profile of them and spread the word to their friends by asking for votes. The couple with the most votes received the full service wedding that took place in one of their dream liners. This campaign was received with immense enthusiasm and had generated huge PR for the company, in the form of:  Over 2 million tweets, in an hour  Over 100,000 unique visitors to their facebook site  540,000 unique visitors on the website
  33. 33.  Over 350,000 votes  Over 300 couples registered from all over the world The polish website of the airline received 2300 visits, which used to receive an average visit of 800 Luxury: Individuals derive association towards certain brands from the use of such brands in their social groups. As the brands get attached with the symbolic codes of the group itself, such associations tend to get transferred to consumers at an individual level. The acceptance of such interpersonal influences, however, depends on the extent of dependence, both intra and inter, in the construction of the “self” in any individual. The characteristic of independence usually varies culturally and from individual to individual. According to Chaplin and John, “Individuals use brands to create and communicate their self concept, thereby creating connections between the self and the brand” (Chaplin & John, 2005). Appropriation of the association consumers share with brands is a common phenomenon; such are the appropriation of personality traits which are more often than not, gets incorporated into the concept of self. While this is happening, consumers tend to grow a connection between brands and individual concept of self, which is known as self-brand connection (Chaplin & John, 2005). And this self-brand connection comes to life when consumers take part in the process of identifying and grouping the brands which are consistent with the image of the self. People tend to select brands which possess maximum similarity to their individual self concept, whether actual or desired, thereby further strengthening the self-brand connection. This shows how brand choices are often a result of congruence between the brand image in the user’s mind and the consumer’s image of the self. When it comes to luxury brands, consumer expectations and the decision making process becomes even more complex. In case of luxury, the products are not expected to provide only a functional and an aesthetic benefit, but also require providing a symbolic dimension. Such items are seldom bought for what they are and more due to the fact that what they mean. And such products are expected to perform four very different kind of functions, namely, functional, social, cultural and symbolic. In order to garner a deeper understanding of consumer motivations behind the purchase of luxury products, we will try to understand the meaning of ‘luxury’ in five different dimensions (Vigneron & Johnson, 2004). 1) Conspicuousness: Reflecting a quest for social positions and representations through extensive consumption and exhibitionism. Many consumers like to feel special, self-fulfilled, famous and sometimes even rich, and they require products which communicate their sense of affluence among their social group apart from being appreciated (Solomon, 1983).
  34. 34. 2) Uniqueness: Products or services can be unique only when supplies are scarce and limited and huge influencer in case of a brand choice as exclusivity is highly demanded by the luxury customers (Vigneron & Johnson, 2004). When consumers associate with a luxury product, it is always from a personal drive to stand out among others, by using the brand uniqueness as an impetus. And following the characteristics of Veblen goods, the uniqueness and thus the demand for products increase as it becomes more expensive (Vigneron & Johnson, 2004). And this helps to bring out the sense of exclusivity a person carries with him or her, which, otherwise is socially rare and is seen as a factor that differentiates individuals. 3) Quality: Even though this is considered to be a hygiene factor in case of a luxury purchase, this continues to be a factor. Luxury products are required to be of superior quality, or atleast have an aura about it which makes it seem like a product of superior quality (Vigneron & Johnson, 2004). The sense of quality is is often perceived based on features like functional superiority, sophisticated engineering, finest craftsmanship, differentiated design and use of advanced technology. 4) Hedonism: hedonism is associated with luxury products because luxury products are meant to provide users with a sense of pleasure and personal fulfilment. And such feelings are stimulated more by the emotional benefit, which is subjective in nature, rather than the functional benefits, which are objective in nature. 5) Extended Self: In the world of luxury consumption, the construction of an individual’s identity based on the consumption pattern is a truth. It is seen that, in order to be able to be a part of the elite upper class, it is of utmost importance to subscribe to a purchase behaviour that resembles the upper class and denounce anything that bears any resemblance with the lower class (Vigneron & Johnson, 2004). Gay customers, as mentioned above, usually enjoy a higher amount of disposable income owing to the factors discussed in previous sections. This income differential drives gay buyers to seek for quality and exclusive service and products, something that provides superior lifestyle value. In spite of presence of social class, members of the LGBT community care much more about their image, fashion statement and appearance, when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Despite differences in their clothing style, some prefer to dress up classy while the others prefer to put on an extravagant look. Here, we would like to re-emphasize the fact that members of the LGBT community tends to spend more than their heterosexual counterparts in categories such as travel, restaurants, clothing, perfume etc. (Lukenbill, 1999). And when compared to the general population, it turns out that this segment of consumers is usually are more sociable, younger in age, more knowledgeable, fashion and style conscious and loyal to brands which fulfil their needs.
  35. 35. Online Dating: Online dating in India has got immense potential to grow, especially among the LGBT segment of India, due to the following reasons,  Secrecy and confidentiality  For closet gays, it will provide an opportunity to seek a partner without revealing his/her sexual identity to his family, therefore avoiding the stigma  No requirement of divulging specific details like address and contacts, first level of introduction happens over video/voice chats  Scope not limited to your own network, one can always find new people to meet in different cities and states Off late, following the global cues, we have seen a flurry of LGBT dating websites in recent times, a few of them being,  Indusgay.com  Gaydia.in  Desiboys.in  Lovetime.com  Datinggaynow.com Apart from this websites, different online classifieds also carry posts regarding gay dating under their personals section. Estimates suggest that there are currently about 6 million active users of online dating services in India, which according to stepOut.com, will touch 115 million by 2015. In the same time-span, the current online dating market, which is valued at about $130 million, is likely to touch $206 million (Times Of India, 2012). The rapid growth of dating services in India can be attributed to the fact that the youth have started to perceive dating as a healthy and friendly option to build close companionship and knowing someone well before an actual relationship can be planned. Beverages: We have seen in the previous section that socializing and hanging out with friends, dating an hooking up are integral part of the LGBT lifestyle, especially in an urban context which we are interested about. It has also been revealed through the study that gay men specifically prefer Vodka, this was
  36. 36. the prime inspiration behind the successful Absolut Rainbow campaign, where the rainbow imagery has been used to create a connect with the community. Absolut Rainbow campaign: This was the first campaign launched by Absolut to talk to this particular segment of customer. The rainbow striped bottle, promoted the message of gay pride and InterPride, an organization which is fighting for gay rights, creating awareness about a distinct sexual identity and empowering the gay community, received a donation from this campaign. Absolut OUTrageous campaign: This campaign was primarily launched to tap onto the growing popularity of vodka among gays. The goal of this campaign was to directly market to the gay community. Details like rainbow and presence of the word “OUT” hinted towards the liberal, tolerant, gay friendly stand of the brand. The primarily objective of this campaign was to convince the gay consumers about Absolut vodka’s intention of advocating and sponsoring the LGBT community. And this was conveyed by the use of artistic details such as rainbows and other eye-catching full colour advertisements. The message was to come out with pride and to be out with pride and also that of placing no labels on things, which paved way for the successful ‘No Labels’ campaign. This was the first even communication done by Absolut, back in 1981, and the impact, in 1981, sales increased by almost 100% (Verikov, 2012) and Absolut became the one of the first brands to embrace the community. This campaign went onto become the 7th most successful marketing campaigns of the 20th century, as per advertising age (Verikov, 2012).
  37. 37. Absolut No Labels campaign: “In an Absolut world, there are No Labels”, this clearly demonstrates the campaign objectives of challenging labels and other prejudices related to sexual identity. The campaign icon was a naked bottle of Absolut, without any name or logo. This is the first time Absolut confronted the world totally bare, without even a name, to promote the idea of what matters is the inside. The visuals of the bottle manifested the belief of diversity and the brand’s standpoint on sexual identities. Globally, the vodka market is getting congested and India is opening up as more and more youngsters are getting interested in Vodka (Economic Times, 2012), the Indian Vodka market is definitely open for new experiments in terms of trying to talk to the LGBT consumers. We have already attempts made by Smirnoff to win the loyalty of the Indian youth by including India in their globally acclaimed “Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project”, and different gay events and gay parties provides ample opportunities for brands to connect with the community in better way, understand their social needs and customize an offering for the Indian LGBT community. E-commerce E-commerce, as an industry segment, has immense potential for growth, given only 10% of India’s population is online and the traffic is mostly concentrated in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. According to
  38. 38. comScore, 75% of Indian people who are present online are youth, within 15 to 34 years. Due to this demographic, India is one of the youngest demographic online. This is expected to remain the same coning years as well, the age distribution has also proportionally contributed towards distribution of consumption, proven by the growth in youth focused categories have achieved in last 12-18 months. Among different e-commerce ventures, travel and retail are the fastest growing segments in ecommerce, this is an opportunity to tap onto the Indian LGBT market for the following reasons, 1) Confidentiality: Online transactions are confidential in nature. If travel and retails portals create and deliver custom made options for the LGBT segment, it will be easier for the ‘Closeted’ gays to subscribe to these offerings as they won’t have to worry about their identity being disclosed to public. 2) Travel and retail portals can create custom made offerings for customer belonging to the LGBT segment, and such offers will only be targeted to the members of the community, by te means of LGBT publications and websites, which is consumed by the community members. So, the company need not be afraid of a backlash (if any) from its customers belonging to other segments of the society. 3) Wider reach: Nuances of LGBT culture (parades, bars, publications) are present only in Metros and Tier-1 cities, as of today. But the power of ecommerce can break such geographical boundaries, spreading the reach beyond the Tier-1 cities, in such a scenario, we can include more number of people to expose the communication to, than the 28.4% urban population we have mentioned in the introduction, while the other factors mentioned remain unchanged. 4) Online communities: Brands will be better equipped to build presence among the community members present online by the means of forums and apps, which will further strengthen the presence of the brand in the mind of the LGBT consumers. In an Indian scenario, where the acceptance of LGBT identity is still a controversy, but catching up fast, using online mediums will prove to be an effective and efficient way of targeting the LGBT consumers, targeting can be done via the means of LGBT websites, facebook forums, dating websites etc. Overall, this will provide brands with a medium which is consumed on a regular basis, to connect with the community, spread the brand ethos and to create the awareness of the friendly attitude the brands hold towards the members of the community. Telecom service providers: Even though the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) model has not been able to make inroads into the country in a big way, with virgin mobile being the only company with such a
  39. 39. business model. But this particular model has got tremendous opportunities to strike a chord with the members of the community. The service providers can provide unmatched service to the community members by bundling data content with voice, where the content will be customized for the community members. Along with facilities like closed user group calling, the service provider can introduce services like data calls and unlimited internet access to certain apps and websites. The biggest advantage of such a model is that it will be extremely easy to track the customer base and provide offers based on usage patterns, free calling etc. The MVNO can also operate on a contract model, where certain handsets will be available as part of the package which will be preloaded with content relevant for the community, which will be updated periodically. Apart from that, the service provider might consider creating user forums where users can interact with each other, free use of chatrooms etc. the service provider can also include services like dating services, health and wellness tips, product information and shopping deals. Research Methodology Due to the lack of research and available India specific insights in this particular field of study, and conducting which is beyond the scope of this report, parallels have been drawn on and from western methodologies. Also, attempt has been made to understand the change in behaviour that might occur due to cultural differences in both markets. But, with increasing number of global brands landing on Indian shores and some desperately waiting for government regulations to relax, it is a possibility that people will be more and more aware of different brands and thus brands will need to differentiate themselves in terms of their marketing and communication strategy. This article attempts to introduce the idea of sexuality based marketing up for a debate, where the merits and demerits will be questioned, dissected and enriched. This will expose us to new marketing avenues and newer media vehicles. During the inception of a new category, or when brands attempt to create a different category in a new or existing market, it’s a common practice for them to set the benchmarks by metrices used by brands playing the same category in some other similar geography. So, we studied aspects of LGBT marketing practices that happen around the world, looked into brands who have successfully ran campaigns targeting this community, tried to analyze how globalization plays a role in shaping up the global gay identity and how cultures have played a part in creating the ‘Glocalized gay Identity’. We tried to understand the prevailing scenario in regard to the LGBT segment in India and tried to analyze what are their purchase drivers and consumption patterns. We talked about the changing scenario in industries such as travel and leisure and how ecommerce can leverage the benefit of confidentiality. And the source of such information has been journal articles, periodicals, news

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