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Engaging the LGBTQ Community: Unconventional channels and multi-channel outreach

Insights from Grindr, CMI Media Group, and Atlanta’s Response to the Monkeypox Outbreak.


The LGBTQ community is a diverse and influential audience, necessitating thoughtful strategies to reach and engage them authentically. In this session, Andy Kraut of Grindr, Amy Litt of CMI Media Group and Malik Brown from the city of Atlanta explore the approaches employed during an outbreak of monkeypox in the gay and bisexual community, highlighting both historical and current examples in LGBTQ advertising and providing tips for brands to connect with this audience.

Swift and collaborative response: Mobilizing partnerships for effective outreach

Atlanta’s mayoral office responded swiftly to the monkeypox outbreak, recognizing the need to address health inequities prevalent in the LGBTQ community. Leveraging collaborative partnerships with county, federal and state entities, the response effort gained momentum through collective expertise and resources. Inclusive decision-making ensured the voices of affected communities were heard, with active involvement from nightlife leaders. Strategies were tailored to address disparities amongst black and brown LGBTQ individuals.

Embracing unconventional channels: Engaging platforms and multi-channel outreach

Understanding the significance of gay spaces, Atlanta’s response included advertising on Grindr, a popular dating app for the LGBTQ community. Non-stigmatizing messaging was designed to provide information without perpetuating stereotypes or adding to existing stigmas. Alongside Grindr, the campaign utilized billboards and bus shelters across Atlanta, including high-traffic areas like the city’s airport, maximizing exposure and engagement. This comprehensive multi-channel approach successfully reached over 10 million individuals within and passing through Atlanta.

Historical and current examples: Navigating LGBTQ advertising landscape

Brands have experienced both successes and setbacks in reaching the LGBTQ community. Positive engagement, such as Absolut’s support and advertising in gay spaces, demonstrates inclusivity and generates community support. However, challenges and controversies exist, with brands like Guinness facing protests for certain LGBTQ-focused ads. Sensitivity and a nuanced understanding of the community are crucial as expectations evolve beyond superficial gestures like logo changes during Pride Month.

Authentic marketing to the LGBTQ community: Tips for success

To engage the LGBTQ community authentically, brands should critically evaluate their motives, ensuring their desire to connect aligns genuinely with core values and resonates with community needs. Incorporating LGBTQ voices in decision-making processes and promoting diversity within organizations fosters authenticity and helps build trust. Companies should assess policies, benefits, and practices to ensure they are inclusive, supportive, and reflective of LGBTQ values. Recognizing the diversity within the LGBTQ community, brands should avoid relying on stereotypes in messaging and tackle sensitive topics such as sex with an open and factual approach.

Reaching and engaging the LGBTQ community requires an intentional and genuine approach that respects their diverse identities and experiences. By embracing collaboration, leveraging unconventional channels and aligning with core values, brands can create impactful campaigns that resonate with the LGBTQ audience. Through thoughtful strategies and authentic engagement, organizations can foster meaningful connections, contribute to inclusivity and make a positive impact within the community.

– Katherine Scarrow

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