Pink is the Warmest Color…for your Profit Margin

Disclaimer: Not another rosé blog

At Charles Communications Associates, we enjoy having guest bloggers contribute to All the Swirl and in this case, welcome our friend and colleague Tracey Rose, of JJ Buckley Fine Wines, who has recently launched her blog, winebutch.com.  In commemoration of Pride Week upcoming in San Francisco June 25-26, and given the national spotlight on LGBTQ issues in light of the horrific Orlando tragedy, we honor this community. #WeAreOrlando  

 Photo courtesy of MoMA.org

Photo courtesy of MoMA.org

With over 20 years in the wine and food biz, I am constantly surprised by how few of my clients are queer like me. When I worked in high end restaurants and even with the premium wines I sell today, the majority demographic was - and is - white, straight, older and almost 100% men. I know I have a few queer clients, but honestly, I’d like to have a bigger market share of my own community. And if I am searching for the ‘pink dollar’ as a direct to consumer sales representative in the high end wine business, I know there is a niche market who’s thirsty for knowledge in the greater wine industry as well.

 Photo courtesy of SF FunCheap

Photo courtesy of SF FunCheap

When I first came out in the late 80s, there weren’t any mainstream marketing efforts aimed at my community. There was a lot of taboo preventing it, and while companies that were inclusive might have experienced some mainstream backlash, the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) folks ultimately rewarded them amply. In case you don’t know, the queers are fiercely brand loyal, especially when a company makes an effort to support the community.

Check out these figures from Community Marketing, Inc & Harris Interactive:

•       55% of LGBT consumers will choose to do business with companies that are committed to the diversity/equal treatment of the LGBT community.

•       70% of LGBT adults stated they would pay a premium for a product from a company that supports the LGBT community.

•       78% of LGBT adults and their friends, family and relatives would switch to brands that are known to be LGBT-friendly.

Maybe you’ve heard of these two companies that found their niche in the LGBTQ family – Absolut Vodka and Subaru? Without even knowing the statistics, these companies went in full force, supporting the LGBTQ community in meaningful yet transparent ways, spend advertising dollars in gay owned, gay run and gay themed media as well as sponsoring LOGO (queer cable network) shows, film festivals, Pride events and charities.

 Photo courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Photo courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Absolut Vodka is basically the house vodka in most any gay bar across the country due to their sponsorship of RuPaul’s Drag Race – a show that has crossed over to mainstream as cult favorite for the millennial crowd. Subaru’s long-standing and forthright support of the lesbian community had paid dividends with a stunning statistic – lesbians are four times as likely as straight people to buy a Subaru.

Let’s relate this concept to the wine industry - statistically, gay people like to drink wine and have money to spend on it! Specifically, the Daily Beast says that gays drink 16% more than straight people – that’s a lot of Chardonnay! And when you look at buying power, the LGBTQ community is a viable marketing minority with almost a trillion dollars in buying power – $884 Billion in 2014 - numerically right up there with Hispanics ($1.3 trillion), African Americans ($1.1 trillion) and Asians ($770 Billion).

There are all kinds of metrics to entice luxury wine and beverage brands to spend their marketing dollars with the gay community. Simmons Market Research reports high household incomes (28% over $50K & 21% over 100K), frequency of dining out (80% 5x per month), frequency of drinking (18% consume 8+ glasses of wine per month) and quality level of purchases (60% drink premium wine) - all are excellent data points to consider supporting the LGBTQ community with your marketing dollars.

 Photo courtesy of CityTV

Photo courtesy of CityTV

Current media showcases queer life in TV, film, news and stage - Glee, Modern Family and Rachel Maddow come to mind - it seems American culture is on board and accepting. In turn, many large companies have started being more inclusive in their advertising like recent ads for Chevy Volt, Ikea, Kaiser Permanente, Cheerios and others. A wink and a nod to the queer community may boost goodwill or brand awareness temporarily, but spending your marketing dollars supporting queer media, sponsoring gay events or getting involved in your local community will go a long way in establishing your company as a meaningful partner with integrity.

With the recent tragedies in Orlando, the LGBTQ community finds itself again looking for allies and support as homophobia rears its ugly head. Giving back to the gays and supporting community causes is no doubt the right thing to do and will prove to be key in creating long lasting relationships that will return a ‘pink dollar’ win for everyone involved.

Like this article? Read more from Tracey Rose at winebutch.com

Tracey Rose, aka The Wine Butch, has been happily selling wine through importers, brokers, and retailers for more than 15 years, pen in hand, taking copious notes whenever a new wine crosses her path.  She is currently a Senior Fine Wine Specialist at JJ Buckley Fine Wines in Oakland, CA. With her background in education and advertising, along with a WSET certification, Tracey brings her clients the best of what they like and introduces them to what they might not know they like!


All the Swirl is a collections of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting www.charlescomm.com.