Adam Polaski

Brands Popular with LGBT Owned by Pro-Equality Companies

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 28, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Amazon, Brand index, brands, Corporate Equality Index, Google, Human Rights Campaign, Netflix, public relations

brand_thought_bubble.jpgA new study by YouGov BrandIndex takes a look at whether people perceive brands positively or negatively. The organization, which tracks public perception of brands from around the world, released an LGBT-specific study last week to measure the most popular LGBT brands. YouTube, Google, Netflix, Amazon, and Subway received the highest "buzz scores."

Here's how the study was conducted:

For this study, results were filtered for U.S. citizens who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Margin of error is +/- 6%.All of the more than 1,100 brands that YouGov BrandIndex tracks were measured using the company's Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"

The most positively perceived brands mostly correspond to companies with high marks on the 2010 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. The Top 20 buzzed-about brands among LGBT people represent 17 different companies. 9 of these companies received CEI ratings of 95 or above in 2010. 5 were not rated.

Three of the companies - Mars, Inc., which owns M&M's; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; and Whole Foods Market, Inc. - scored 85 or below on the CEI.

Mars, Inc. scored a 73 due to a lack of diversity training covering gender identity or supportive gender transition guidelines; an absence of an employer-supported employee resource group or firm-wide diversity council, although it would support the resource group if employees expressed interest; and a lack of positive engagement with the external LGBT community. Lowe's Companies, Inc. doesn't have these features either - in addition to failing to provide diversity training covering sexual orientation; not including anti-discrimination rules based on gender identity or expression; and not offering partner dental, vision, COBRA and dependent coverage benefits. Whole Foods Market, Inc. is missing the transgender-inclusive insurance coverage for at least one type of benefit, and the partner dental, vision, COBRA and dependent coverage benefits.

Responsible consumerism continues to be an important issue for the LGBT community, and while LGBT issues shouldn't be the only criterium responsible consumers look at, it's heartening to see that the positive perception of brands in the community largely corresponds with companies with strong records on LGBT equality.

Here is the breakdown of the Top 20 brands with the best perceptions by LGBT people, plus their parent companies and HRC Corporate Equality Index rating:

Rank. Brand (Company): Buzz Score - CEI Rating
1. YouTube (Google): 47.9 - 100
2. Google (Google): 44.8 - 100
3. Netflix (Netflix): 42.4 - NA
4. Amazon (, Inc.): 37.5 -95
5. Subway (Doctor's Associates, Inc.): 32.9 - NA
6. Whole Foods (Whole Foods Market, Inc.): 32.1 - 85
7. Disneyland/Disney World (The Walt Disney Co.): 31.7 - 100
8. iPhone (Apple, Inc.): 31.6 - 100
9. Claritin (Schering-Plough Corp.): 31.3 - 100
10. HBO (Time Warner Cable, Inc.): 30.9 - 95
11. Lowe's (Lowe's Companies, Inc.): 30.8 - 30
12. Cheerios (General Mills): 30.6 - 100
13. Food Network (Scripps Network Interactive & The Tribune Company): 30.5 - NA
14. Ford (Ford Motor Co.): 29.6 - NA
15. M&M's (Mars, Inc.): 29.4 - 73
16. Nike (Nike, Inc.): 29.2 - 100
17. Apple (Apple, Inc.): 29.2 - 100
18. Trader Joe's (Trader Joe's): 28.6 - NA
19. Bose (Bose Corporation): 28.6 - NA
20. iPod (Apple, Inc.): 28.5 - 100

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Given Lowe's abysmal performance, and the outspoken support of Home Depot for the LGBT community, I've been making my tool and lumber purchases at Home Depot whenever possible. Home Depot got an 85 in the 2011 HRC report.

I did the same. Step ladder and I drove out specifically to Home Depot instead of Target or Walmart. Purchasing power!

I shop where the company has a proven LGBTQA positive reputation and program. I believe the dollar is almighty for companies. And I talk to my friends or any gender identification about my choices and why. Most have changed due to their support for our community and the power of the dollar. I hope more people do the same until companies change.