The Worth of Being Gay Friendly: A Qualitative Study to Understand how to Approach a New Valuable Target

Andrea Biolchi & Federico Gadola

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this master thesis is to investigate the attitude of homosexual consumers towards companies who are addressing them, targeting them or deliberately appealing to them, with specific marketing campaigns or strategies that from now on will be referred as gay friendly. Starting from the simple reaction of those specific consumers, our study analyses the changes in brand perception and purchasing intention, aiming to provide a clear understanding of these dynamics. To do so, after a preliminary review of the marketing and business theories related to the concept of minority and a detailed analysis of the literature approaching the gay market and homosexuals as a minority, a series of in depth interviews has been carried out to a sample of Italian gay males. The evidences emerging from the comparison of the findings have been critically examined through a marketing and strategic perspective, in order to highlight on one hand, the brand perception’s implications and, on the other hand, the managerial implications addressed to companies involved in this field. Throughout the evidence of two companies’ cases, the Italian Barilla and the Swedish Ikea, it was found evidence that the gay friendliness is not among the major drivers for consumption. Differences in the sample analysed showed common traits when dealing with specific companies or in predefined circumstances. For example, respondents were found to be more concerned about the core benefit of the product than the perception of a specific brand, even when openly in contrast with their identity.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages248