Top 3 LGBTQ+ allied companies according to social listening
by Infegy Research Team on June 15, 2023
As public awareness and support of the LGBTQ+ community continue to rise, many companies have begun championing LGBTQ+ causes. From marketing initiatives, to sponsoring Pride parades, these companies engage in a wide range of initiatives, all of which are aimed at encouraging LGBTQ+ inclusiveness.
However, this corporate show of support didn’t spring up overnight. A handful of pioneering forces forged the way to how LGBTQ+ support is manifested today.
We used our historical dataset – over 16 years of social media intelligence – to identify companies with a particularly long history of serving as advocates for LGBTQ+ issues. Our data led us to three specific brands that have been champions for the LGBTQ+ community, long before the current wave of support.
In honor of Pride Month, we highlight these three companies and the long-term impact they’ve had on improving the lives of those in the LGBTQ+ community.
1. Social media intelligence into Microsoft
Microsoft has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusion since 1989 when it introduced sexual orientation into its non-discrimination policies. In 1993, the tech company was one of the first in the world to offer employee benefits for same-sex domestic partners, and it has been a long-time advocate of marriage equality.
As a result of its efforts, the company has scored 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for 17 years.
Let’s take a look at a recent hashtag analysis, which shows that people continue to talk about Microsoft’s LGBTQ+ advocacy efforts on social media.
Figure 1: Hashtags associated with Microsoft and LGBTQ+ issues; Infegy Atlas data, 2013-2023.
As you can see in Figure 1, social listening data shows us that hashtags such as #Pride, #LGBTQ, #PrideMonth, and #LoveIsLove are frequently associated with Microsoft.
Digging deeper, we used social listening insights to help us understand the Emotions linked to conversations surrounding Microsoft and LGBTQ+ issues.
Figure 2: Emotions associated with Microsoft and LGBTQ issues; Infegy Atlas data, 2013-2023.
Notice in Figure 2 that positive Emotions such as Love, Joy, and Trust far outweigh negative Emotions such as Anger.
Figure 2 also shows us that trust surged in 2016, likely due to a combination of election-related topics, as well as an LGBTQ+-focused advertisement that Microsoft launched around Christmas of that year. It’s also interesting to note a sharp uptick in Trust in 2023 surrounding Microsoft’s recent support of Pride Month events.
Figure 3: Hashtags and Sentiment associated with Microsoft and LBGTQ+ issues: Infegy Atlas, 2022-2023.
A hashtag analysis of Trust and Microsoft shows overwhelmingly positive Sentiment related to LGBTQ+ issues and gaming-related topics, such as #GearsofWar, #Minecraft, and #XBoxSeriesX. This may be due to Microsoft’s focus on curating and promoting games from the LGBTQ+ community.
2. Social media intelligence into American Airlines
Social listening around American Airlines and LGBTQ+ issues shows us that it’s possible to learn from past mistakes and implement a more inclusive company culture.
American Airlines’ LGBTQ+ support efforts started off strong more than 30 years ago with the launch of a PRIDE (LGBTQ+ and Allies) Employee Resource Group in 1990, long before most airlines had even considered incorporating diversity inclusion into their company cultures.
However, the company faced several high-profile LGBTQ+ controversies in the early 1990s. One of the most notable is referred to as the “pillows and blankets incident.”
In 1993, a flight crew changed out all pillows and blankets on a plane that carried a large number of passengers from a gay-rights rally in Washington, D.C. A flight-crew memo leaked out about the incident, drawing angry reactions from gay and lesbian activists.
Also in 1993, a man with AIDS was forcibly removed from an American Airlines flight in Chicago and arrested for refusing to leave the plane.
In response to these incidents, American Airlines made drastic changes to its policies and announced a long-term commitment to becoming the official airline of gay events and organizations.
Over the last 30 years, the airline has made good on this promise.
It was the first major airline to implement same-sex domestic partner benefits (2000), the first to endorse the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (2008) and the Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act (2009). It has earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index every year since 2002.
Figure 4: Post volume associated with American Airlines and LGBTQ+ issues; Infegy Atlas data, 2013-2023.
Post volume shows support for the airline’s LGBTQ+ initiatives. Most notable is the June 2019 post-volume spike, which coincides with American Airlines operating the first-ever flight to feature an entirely LGBTQ+-identifying crew (Figure 4).
Figure 5: Hashtags and Sentiment associated with American Airlines and LBGTQ+ issues: Infegy Atlas, March-May 2023.
A hashtag analysis of American Airlines and LGBTQ+ issues shows how the brand continues to generate conversation among supporters of LGBTQ+ rights. And, social media Sentiment related to these hashtags shows us that people are overwhelmingly positive about LGBTQ+ issues related to American Airlines (Figure 5).
3. Social media intelligence into Levi Strauss & Co.
Since its inception in 1853, Levi Strauss & Co. has been a champion of inclusiveness, equality and progress. The company began offering domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples in 1992, and in 2008, it filed an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage.
More recently, the company joined the Human Rights Campaign in urging the U.S. Senate to allow a vote on legislation that would outlaw LGBTQ+ discrimination. The company’s chairman emeritus and former CEO, Bob Hass, was recently honored with the San Francisco Pride Freedom Award for his long commitment to LGBTQ+ activism. Levi Strauss & Co. also scored a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
Social media intelligence reveals overwhelmingly positive sentiment on hashtags related to both Levi Strauss and LGBTQ+ issues (Figure 6), including #LevisPride, #InstaGay, and #GayPride.
Figure 6: Sentiment analysis of top hashtags associated with Levi Strauss and LGBTQ issues; Infegy Atlas data, 2013-2023.
Figure 7: Top emojis associated with Levi Strauss and LGBTQ+ issues; Infegy Atlas data, 2013-2023
An emoji analysis of social media posts related to Levi Strauss and LGBTQ+ issues shows that common emojis include those that stand for love, strength, applause, and celebration, to name a few (Figure 7).
Digging deeper, we conducted an Entities analysis of Levi Strauss and LGBTQ+ topics.
Infegy Atlas’ Entities analysis is a state-of-the-art analytic capability that offers insight into the brands, companies, media, people, products, sports teams, etc. that are being discussed in the same conversations where posters discuss a specific search topic.
Figure 8: Top Entities associated with Levi Strauss and LGBTQ issues; Infegy Atlas, 2013-2023.
Our analysis revealed several Entities that occurred regularly within social media posts related to Levi Strauss and LGBTQ+ issues.
As you can see in Figure 8, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold public office in California, is the top-mentioned Entity in conversations related to Levi Strauss and LGBTQ+ issues. This hints at another intersection between the two – San Francisco! Milk was the city supervisor of San Francisco, which is also the location of Levi Strauss’ long-time headquarters. Levi’s built its original business selling jeans to gold miners, so the company is inextricably linked to San Francisco and California at large. Finally, Instagram, Calvin Klein, Gay Life and Gay Love are other top entities in conversations surrounding Levi Strauss and LGBTQ+ issues.
This Entities analysis provides us with insight into common brands associated with our target company and LGBTQ+-related issues. By understanding the shared interests of these Entities, we can not only better target Levi Strauss’ key demographic, but also look at the other LGBTQ+ friendly brands that operate in the apparel space
Social listening for DEI and more!
As you can see, social media listening offers powerful insights into a wide range of topics and interests. These insights can be used in countless ways, including helping you decide what brands and companies share your common values and are worthy of your support.
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