Britney, One More Time
Last week, I entered the arena floor beside 16,500 people, all waiting in anticipation for one pop princess. Through the crowd of pink feather boas and home-made t-shirts stating “Britney changed my life,” and the infamous, “It’s Britney B*tch,” I kept asking myself, aside from Britney’s gay male fan-base, could Jeanne and I be the only lesbians here? Surely, I must be wrong. Oh and was I, I was very wrong.
Roughly 85 percent of the attendees that evening were women – straight, bisexual and lesbian alike. All arrived with one interest in mind – to be entertained. So, what is it about this genre of music that appeals to the gay and lesbian community? What does it take to connect with us and how does an artist, an icon or a brand target an audience without alienating him/herself from other audiences?
As Samantha Jones once said in Sex and the City, “First come the gays, then come the girls.” Though this is a slight condescending exaggeration, it does have some truth. The influence and buying power of the LGBT community has been highlighted for years now. We’ve discussed it in our blogs and stress it in our client work each day. With an average annual household income of $80,000 (according to Community Marketing) a year and continued spending despite the economic downturn, it’s no wonder the LGBT buying power remains top of mind .
As we’ve learned from GayWheels.com’s recent survey, it takes more than being perceived as gay-friendly to win our vote. Ben’s statement about the diversity of the community is true here too. Not every gay man is a Britney fan, and not every lesbian likes Melissa Etheridge, so it’s time to set the stereotypes aside.
For artists and companies, reaching out to the gay audience means establishing a strong voice in a loud market. Once you’ve found your beat, be sure to engage and interact with us in an authentic way that truly leverages messages of inclusion. With the continued evolution of social media, it’s also important to remember to reach audiences where they already are. As gays and lesbians spend roughly 10-12 hours per week online, it’s a perfect opportunity to join the conversation and share your commitment to the community.
Though only Britney and a handful of other artists have experienced the ecstatic screams of fans, companies traditionally have to work a little harder. However, the reward of establishing a strong gay and lesbian consumer fan-base means not only record sales, but devout loyalty. As one concert go-er said, “This was never a comeback. For true fans, Britney never left.” Talk about brand loyalty.