The Business Gay Podcast with Host Calan Breckon
The Business Gay
LGBTQ+ Marketing: Do The WeRQ
LGBTQ+ Marketing: Do The WeRQ with Kate Wolff and Graham Nolan

It’s clear what the LGBTQ+ community wants from marketers and companies targeting them for business: do the work.

We’re over the lip service and once-a-year pinkwashing. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is and hold the line with us all year round and not only when it’s easy or profitable to do so, because when times get tough we don’t have the luxury of being able to retreat from the line. After all, it’s our lives.

In this episode of The Business Gay Podcast, host Calan Breckon speaks with Co-Founders of Do The WeRQ, Kate Wolff and Graham Nolan.

Do the WeRQ brings people across the marketing industry together to foster connections, share experiences and collaborate on cultural transformations that support the advancement of LGBTQ+ creative talent 365 days a year. Because only when queer marketing talent is inspired, mobilized, and celebrated by brands and marketing leaders, will queer cultural creativity translate into meaningful business solutions.

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Key Takeaways for quick navigation:

  • [02:51] LGBTQ+ data gaps are addressed for better representation and workplace dynamics.
  • [05:09] Brands supporting LGBTQ+ amid backlash shape society and consumer behaviour.
  • [11:38] Queer representation positively impacts consumer behaviour and brand loyalty.
  • [14:50] Brands significantly influence culture and politics, with 70% recognizing their impact.
  • [18:39] Brands must stand by values amidst uncertainty, as hate is seen as predictable.
  • [39:35] Tension in LGBTQ+ progress signals visibility and representation, despite challenges.
  • [44:33] Brands should invest long-term, considering generational differences in preferences.
  • [49:03] Consistent support against negativity is crucial, avoiding alienation and hate group incentives.
  • [51:02] Brands prioritizing well-being and authenticity find long-term success.


[00:00:00] Calan Breckon: Today’s episode is sponsored by SparkLoop. SparkLoop is the number one newsletter growth platform. I’m in the SparkLoop partner program, and within the first week I saw my email list grow by over 12,000%. That’s insane. Their newsletter growth strategies and options are the most affordable rates I have ever seen on the market. I’m no longer paying between five and $10 per acquired email through online ads. Now I pay as little as $1 for warm emails that stay on my list and engaged for over 30 days. Everything is customizable in SparkLoop and they will set you up with a team member to help you through the process. Head on over to for more details or just click the link in the show notes. Now let’s get into today’s episode.

Welcome the Business Gay podcast where we talk about all things business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Calan Breckon, and on today’s episode, I have co-founders of Do The WeRQ, Kate Wolff and Graham Nolan. Do The WeRQ brings people across the marketing industry together to foster connections, share experiences, and collaborate on cultural transformations that support the advancement of the LGBTQ+ creative talent 365 days a year. Because only when queer marketing talent is inspired, mobilized, and celebrated by the brands and marketing leaders will queer culture creativity translate into meaningful business solutions. We dive into some of those solutions today in this very lively conversation that I had with the co-founders, where we also covered a lot of stats about the LGBTQ+ marketing world. So with that, let’s jump.

[00:01:48] Calan Breckon: Hello, Graham and Kate. I am so excited to welcome you to the show. How are you both doing?

[00:01:54] Kate Wolff: Doing well. How are you doing?

[00:01:56] Calan Breckon: Doing good. Doing good. Well, how about you, Graham?

[00:01:59] Graham Nolan: The kind of slightly tired that comes from being a 44 year old who went to a drag show on a Monday, and I’m still tired from it. But supporting the community, right? So it’s what must be done.

[00:02:11] Calan Breckon: You know what I love?

[00:02:11] Kate Wolff: I just want to be clear. It’s Wednesday. Yeah, it’s Wednesday.

[00:02:20] Graham Nolan: Yes.

[00:02:21] Calan Breckon: I love that. No, I actually relate in a different way. I play gay dodgeball, and it was gay dodgeball on Monday. And for whatever reason, I was the last player on the court for my team, like four out of the ten games, and I was so exhausted, and I was like, hello. What is everybody doing? That? By the end of it, I was walking around back and forth because I was like, I can’t be bothered to run. I’m so exhausted.

[00:02:45] Graham Nolan: This is the burden of queer athletes, right? We excel. There’s SEO much to contend with, right?

[00:02:51] Calan Breckon: And I just turned 37, so I’m starting to inch up there where my knees don’t feel so great afterwards and my elbow, I’m like, why does that hurt so much today?

Well, I’m really excited to jump into today’s conversation because you two are just full of knowledge and I love knowledge and I love data. So how about we jump right into it? I want to know some insights that you might have when it comes to the LGBTQ community and the marketing industry because I think this is really important stuff and I don’t think we have enough of it. So, kate, I think I’m going to start off with you.

[00:03:29] Kate Wolff: Yeah, well, let me quickly just explain who we are so we can go through the data that we’ve been pulling because it’s a really interesting time for queerness in the world. I think we’re on the main stage. We’ve always been frontline in terms of our performance and our contribution to culture, but right now we are fully in the zeitgeist of political climates and the world at large, truly. And of course, that directly affects marketing. So we’re Do The WeRQ. We are Q because we are queer and we are designed to be an organization that’s going to increase the share of voice, representation and mentorship within marketing subset. So that includes brand work to agencies alike and far reaching beyond that into culture to make sure that we are standing up and getting the information on the community that we represent. And that’s a big one.

So one of the big things that we’re seeing is the absence of data in general around who we are as a community, how we spend our money, the representation that we make in terms of marketing and advertising, how many people are employed where, how comfortable they are with code switching and covering. And so in the last year, we’ve seen a ton of new data come out, which is very exciting for us around how people see queerness in the world, queer straight alike, how they see us and how we’re represented.

72% of people, they believe that we need to have more queer marketing because we are underrepresented. And one of the things that Do The WeRQ has been doing is we’ve been partnering with disco for the last two years and we run these, I mean, we try to make them quarterly reports at this point around what’s happening in the world. So in terms of the way we look at how we are advertised or how we present ourselves at the forefront of any message from a brand perspective, we’re seeing huge ticks.

Huge ticks.

Wow. Sorry. My brain just totally stopped. I’m so sorry. That never happened to me.

[00:05:54] Calan Breckon: She’s tired.

[00:05:56] Kate Wolff: It literally just stopped.

[00:05:58] Calan Breckon: It’s okay. That’s perfect. Because I wanted to say there’s been a huge polarization happening in the world, at least in North America, that I’m noticing, and I’m happy we’re seeing this data. But on the flip side of that, I’m also seeing the pushback that’s coming from us being able to gather and see the data for ourselves. And there was this interesting comparison. I saw that somebody talked about left handedness and when left handedness was outlawed or not outlawed, but it was like, you can’t write with the left hand. That’s like the devil’s work.

[00:06:35] Graham Nolan: The word for sinister is basically the word for left handed people.

The origins of that word, yes.

[00:06:42] Kate Wolff: Yeah.

[00:06:42] Calan Breckon: And so they went and they showed how once that kind of got abolished, left handedness, using your left hand did grow to a certain point and then it leveled out and they compared it to what we’re seeing now, that it’s like we’re people have always been here, we’ve always been around, but we’re still going up to that curve of where we’ve naturally always been. It’s just safer and easier for us to come out. And so I thought that that was really interesting to see where data might be taking us in that regard. But then with that, we get the pushback of all the crazies out there because I know, know, just started pushing back on things. And Alberta is kind of our redneck canadian area up here compared to the US. It’s like the Texas of SEO.

[00:07:31] Graham Nolan: I’d be nervous there too. That’s great.

[00:07:34] Calan Breckon: Yeah, exactly.

[00:07:37] Graham Nolan: So one of the interesting, sort of like, again, the timing of when we launched. So as Kate mentions, we are in the zeitgeist of all this right now. And if you look at all these major news stories that either happened with target or Anheuser Bush in the last year, we were clearly at the center of those discussions. But also things just in general about who is allowed to talk on social media platforms and who’s getting censored and who’s getting shadow banned. That’s us as well. Starting to give the actor strike thing wasn’t us. But it was also like the core of that was, why are you trying to cut humans out of human stories? And that’s something that we’re at the heart of as well. So we’re in the middle of all these conversations right now, when we started about three and a half years ago, we were talking about how we would show up in the world, and we were talking about how we saw other organizations for multicultural progress in advertising and marketing, and who wanted, if it was a campaign for hispanic people, wanted hispanic people making that campaign.

And some of those organizations issued guidelines, and they said, you should increase your casting by this percent, or you should increase this by this percent, and you should start doing this with pronouns in your workplace. And asking Kate, one of our first conversations, what do we do in terms of our guidelines like that? And Kate’s like, we don’t have the luxury of issuing those guidelines because all of those groups have numbers.

You were allowed to ask over the last few decades, what percentage of your workforce in advertising was women. That’s how the 3% movement started. There’s an organization for women in advertising. The stat comes from the fact that at the time of their founding, 3% of creative leaders were women. You were allowed to ask that. You’re allowed to ask race data. There’s visibility elements to those communities as well. Until a couple of years ago, you could not ask those questions of our community without risk of liability. For if you fire a queer person afterwards, then is it because you knew that they were. There’s. There was all this stuff. So we’re only just now in the position where we’re protected enough to start asking these questions at all. And I think that’s an interesting sort of fundamental premise for all the stuff Kate’s showing, where it’s like, in three years, we’ve gone from, like, it’s hard to even ask about this stuff to now we have annual reports where we’re able to say we can jump into the heart of all these big social conversations.

[00:10:08] Calan Breckon: But even then, you still have to be conscious that that is still self reporting, because not everybody’s going to self report that they are of the community.

[00:10:19] Kate Wolff: Yeah. And we are the fastest growing minority group or subset in the world because we’re growing from all sides.

Unlike other marginalized communities that are born into immediately that subset of group, we see growth of much later on growth of people coming out now, especially in the Boomer and Gen X space, which is really exciting, because while they’re always going to go back and forth on born this way vibes, and I fully subscribe to that on a personal level. I also feel like there is so much code switch and covering, especially with previous generations, that now they’re self identifying much later on in life, and you’re seeing these waves of younger generations, which is really exciting.

Self identifying, two to three.

So you’re looking at Alpha and Gen Z, where the blend of queerness is becoming more of the majority and probably will persist in that trend for lack of better term that we’re seeing in that data. And it’s very exciting because we’re talking about a huge demographic, one of the largest ever. So if you consider population, you’re looking at a rapid growth of self identifying folks within the queer space who are coming to power with their vote. They’re coming to age in this space. Know, I like to say sometimes we look at what’s happening in our political climate, and there is a loud microphone on the Miami beach, and they own the lifeguard tower. But that progress and community in volume is a tidal wave, and it is eminent.

[00:12:11] Graham Nolan: The left handedness analogy that you bring up works for.

What we’re all talking about here is versus, again, some groups that you’re inherently born to. And it’s very obvious to the world, there’s a nature nurture element, right? Like a degree to which you come out as LGBTQ, the degree to which you’re allowed to be left handed because someone puts the crown in your right hand. The other thing is that what are left handed people? Like 12% of the world or something like that? I should know more about my other community of sinister people. However, it’s also, you would never, as a marketer, and marketers always say, beer is for everyone. This is for everyone. You would never inherently cut out 10% of your market. Why would you cut out if you’re so next gen obsessed?

30% of your.

We’re going to choose very consciously to alienate them by not standing up for them and not giving them a face and all this stuff. And by the way, we have countless studies from before we were even founded. The first stuff that got researched was, if we were to show queer people in ads, would it make you buy more?

Yes, absolutely. Okay. Allies, if we were to show queer people in ads, would you want to buy more? Absolutely. Okay, great. How much more would you spend? And then you get all, as we discussed in our sort of preface, like the pink dollar and all that stuff. And one of the funny, vexing things I was just talking about the other day is, in marketing and advertising, everyone says they may not love the DEI conversation, and they may not love pride and the rainbow flags, but if you talk to them about money, then they buy in, and it’s like, sure, but also now, in the last ten decades, we have 50 fucking studies that say, if you spend on the community and you stick with us, when things get hard, you will get dividends. This has been researched, like, many a time, and yet still, that’s not enough. So there’s conversations that we still need to have that I think will take different forms.

[00:14:09] Kate Wolff: Yeah, go ahead, Kate. I was going to say that kind of brings us to money is power. Right. And we’re seeing in. Right. I mean, everybody remembers Bud light. What was that, like, six months ago? And everybody.

It forever feels like tattooed on my brain and I’m sorry.

Yeah. Yes, me too.

Nobody thought that Bud light would follow me after college.

But it’s really interesting because prior to 2023, let’s say summer of 2023, summer of 2022, it’s all about representation and looking at the data of how we’re being represented and how many ads we’re making in June. And what is the echo chamber that is the single month of celebration, and why are we not celebrating queer people outside of June? Like Graham and I always say I’m queer in December. So come talk to me then where you’re not hitting the same concentration of noise and saturation of noise. So last year, in terms of data, we went out and we looked at what does it mean to boycott? What does it mean to take your money? And what is taking your money away from brands? What is the power that brands have with addressing the community and making representation? Because advertising at Lupine, we like to say advertising and art are the same things, except one of them needs to work. SEO this. Art needs to work. It needs to sell product. And if that’s what you’re trying to do, you should understand the power you have. In that survey, we found that 70% of people surveyed, across the 10,000 people we did, 70% of them think that brands absolutely have impact on society. They can change, they have that level of power. They can drive purchase consideration. Not just purchase consideration from an lgbt standpoint, but across the board. But they can move culture, they can move political choices. 62% pulled down from that. 72 say they can directly affect the political game, especially in the US, which is there’s some rest in power there and understanding. So if you’re looking at a community that’s being continuously slammed, let’s look at summer of 2023.

It is important that you keep trying from a brand perspective, because you have that power. And the enemy of progress is not backlash and it’s not boycott. The enemy of progress is insecurity in inaction. And so we see that a lot. That’s just something we’re always looking at different ways to look at our community based on what’s happening to it at any given moment. And that’s always what we’re trying to uncover with our surveys and data.

[00:16:55] Calan Breckon: Yeah, and it’s really important. I’m glad that you brought that up. I want to trace back a little bit and say how I thought millennials, we were really open. I was like, wow. Growing up as a millennial, I wasn’t out in high school, there was one out kid in 2500 kids. But then right after me, the two grades right after me, there was a bunch. And then it keeps growing. And as you were saying, the younger generations are more is the word amalgamated into it’s cool, like, whatever, it’s fine. And I personally believe, and look at it, the reason that the political polarizations are happening in today’s world is because the people who are in charge, who are in those places of power, are of an older generation, different mindsets, and they’re seeing these changes happening and they’re fearful of it. And what happens to a dog when it’s afraid and it’s cornered? It’s going to bark the loudest and bite the hardest. And that’s why I feel we are seeing so much of this turmoil happening. Even though it’s a very small percentage of the actual population that has the very far believing, hardcore beliefs. Most people, I would think, are moderate to very open and kind of like, hey, you, do you? As long as everybody’s having a good time and people are making money, how does that then play into the brands and the data for that competitive advantage? What you were talking about, if brands stick with us.

[00:18:26] Graham Nolan: Oh man, this brings up so many thoughts. And by the way, the guesses about how many people are sort of like unwind, gelax and chill about things. Sorry, I just watched the 30 rock unwind Julax episode, the amount of people about wokeness specifically. So wokeness was something that got discussed in the media all the time and disco again. A research partner of ours who did the study with us helped us. We just formulated the questions, what does woke mean to people and how do they feel about it? And if I recall properly, about a third of people were just like, I don’t like it. About a third of people were like, I’m cool with it. And about a third of people were like, I don’t like wokeness is such a polarizing thing. Was just all over the place, but then the middle sort of didn’t care and it’s very weird.

This also harkens back to research I did back in the day, and I’m not even sure, Kate, how much I’ve ever talked to you about this. When I worked at a prior agency, we did a study about togetherness. And it was when things know, because of the election, were starting to get really contentious. And we were just like, well, if we’re going to advertise like mass advertising campaigns, we need to understand the dynamics of togetherness. And one of the most terrifying things about the desk research for that, like how we were going to formulate our questions. And just with the foundations of this, is a bunch of really brilliant strategists looking for all these different definitions of what together meant. Togetherness meant in the world, and they could not find one that did not include the otherness of some other people, that they had to rally against something else.

So it’s like, oh, wow. So is there no community without any of this? It’s kind of weird to me, Kate, we’ve talked many. So one thing we have talked about a ton that you just said was the whole thing about how, and I love when you say it is that uncertainty is the enemy. Hate is not the primary enemy. Uncertainty is the enemy, and lack of confidence in making action. And it was the first time just now that you ever said it where I thought hate is almost like, dependable at this point, which is a terrible word for that, but it’s just a constant. Like if in this society, if you look at the nature of humanity, I want good things as much as anyone else. But society gets. Communities often get built in reaction to things they don’t like, and we will not always be liked by everyone.

[00:20:45] Kate Wolff: Yeah. Communities are built against opposition or commonality. And normally commonality is a joint in a collective thought, and that thought tends to have an adversary. So everybody knows the survival of the fittest. That is true for us, which means you need to be more fit than something else. And that is how we operate.

Even in the most elaborate and complex society, we always are looking to be more fit than others. And that’s a tough.

I mean, look at Florida, look at the drag ban. There’s just this huge uptick, know, more anti lgbt laws in history past this year than collective years before. I mean, that is a horrific fact. And we look at that and say, okay, to be a really big person, you take a major step back and you say, okay, the hate is volume. People do not hate. I am a true believer that people do not hate queer people. They are mad at the world that is constantly changing around them. And it’s a displaced anger because of survival of the fittest. I don’t think any person really reasonably and rationally cares who somebody’s fucking or like, who they love.

It is an irrational behavior. And so it is a place you park things, and that’s why you don’t engage, because they’re not looking for solutions.

They’re looking to expound anger and energy around something they cannot do anything about. And so feeling helpless has a fight or flight.


The hateful. Right. They’re feeling helpless.

[00:22:48] Graham Nolan: That’s a big sociological sort of framework for which to look at it. And one of the things that I think we’re sort of recognizing over time is that it’s not even like people against people, necessarily. If you’re feminist, it’s not because you hate men. It’s because you hate the ideology of.

Hatred of women.

[00:23:11] Kate Wolff: Patriarchal. Patriarchal society.

[00:23:13] Graham Nolan: Thank you. Yeah, patriarchal society, which, by the way, men and women and all people participate in somehow, right?

There’s all of these larger ideas. And the good news is that we are in the business of ideas. I think we are in advertising and marketing, and I think that alongside entertainment and just entertainment storytelling, we are the ones who are in the position of telling stories about ideas. And so it’s like, okay, if it’s a battle of ideologies, not a battle of people, if what’s being rallied against is not like us as human beings and who we’re fucking, but just the idea of us and where we fit in the world, then good news, we have a great advantage. Like, creativity is ours. And we talked about this in our plan for the year, that we have a great advantage in this industry, in this world. That me being gay is not about me liking guys. Me being gay is about me loving whoever I want and representing that however I want. That’s creativity. And if you look at the opposition, it’s like they found new ways to do book bands, but it’s book bands. They find new ways to ban us on the Internet, but it’s still Internet bans. All of the tactics for opposition are still the cessation of creativity. Meanwhile, like left handed people, it’s like, that doesn’t make us go away. So we as an industry and we as a very specific community that Do The WeRQ have a great advantage. We feel very heartened. I think the vibe for our meeting this year was like, well, another fucking tough year for us. But also we’re the people that know how to tell stories better than anyone else and represent ideas. So let’s make some good things happen.

[00:24:59] Calan Breckon: Yeah, I want to take it back. I used to work for this corporation, and their training was, it’s not you, it’s the uniform. They’re not angry at you. They’re angry at the uniform, they’re angry at what you represent, and they don’t.

It’s the same for the community. I feel. It’s like you were saying, it’s not us, it’s not who we’re sleeping with, it’s not those things. It’s the anger and frustration. We are wearing the uniform that they’re getting angry at because that’s where they’re being told to direct their anger at. But my true belief is it is uncertainty and poverty and the fear of not being able to just get by and survive, which is not from queerness. We didn’t do that. It is from multiple factors and laws that should be changed and tax structures that should be changed, but we don’t have the power to change that. And then people get angry and frustrated, and that’s where that anger should really be directed. And then that anger is deflected back to us so that people don’t actually have to make those changes because it is serving them, it is not serving us.

[00:26:15] Kate Wolff: Yeah, I fully subscribe to that. I actually think I can get it even more narrow.

Again, this is my own personal belief, but I think a lot of the anger that’s pointed at the queer community is manifested from the Internet. Not living on the Internet, manifesting because of the Internet. I think a long time ago, the greatest generation bootstrapped their way into american history in terms of capitalism and built the empire of which we all feed from now. Right? In some way or another, the boomer generation was made a promise by their parents that when they were done, when they were 60, they got to sit in a chair and stare forward the way their parents did and they had worked their time. It’s like being told that at the end of working for the rest of your life, you actually get a vacation. But when the Internet came out in the said no. And what has happened is it’s created a point of ease, access and information in a way, as it’s built over time that has demanded every living person, especially in the US, every living being needs to know and continue to be educated and the changing landscape around them. Because language is iterative, it is changing every day. We just put Riz in the dictionary.

We are changing everything all the time. And so you have a generation who is tired, who has been made empty promises and they do not want to engage with this anymore. But younger generations, because of the access point and the visibility and the ease of information, have required everybody to stay locked in and in tune.

So you talk about fatigue, talk about frustration.

It feels like something has been taken away from older generations.

And to be clear, it has.

And it has because we are a growing society that is hyper connected in a way that we’ve never been before. And it continues to grow over and over and over again.

We used to say from a queer, everybody knows this queer thing. See it be it. That’s why we want to make representation. We want to make stories and we want to make content and we want to make messaging that young people who are finding out internally who they are as they’re growing up and becoming their full self can see the options that are in the world. So they know that they are options. So for older generations who had to manifest what queerness was from nothing and talk about creativity from nothing because they felt it in their bones and their brains and their heart and their blood, these new generations don’t have to do that as much. They can see it in the world. And that is why we are constantly connected. It does more help than harm, in my opinion, for people that are other because you can actually see things and not feel so lonely. So that’s so important.

But it also has created this crazy system of exhaustion, especially for people that don’t want to keep up. And that was a huge thing with our last disco report. Graham touched on it for a second there, but we started with wokeness, backlash and boycott. And we started with just a simple question of what do you think they mean? And it’s like not even just do you care about them? But what does woke mean? Which is great.

And the breakdown was alarming.

You have people think it’s like leftist language that’s weaponized leftist language. Some people say it’s being awakened to the inequities of our society and platforms for other communities. That is the correct definition, by the way. And the other side is know. 3rd, 3rd, 3rd which is what Graham was kind of touching on. The other side is saying. It’s a weaponized term by the is.

This is problematic in right. And because you’re saying the word and you’re saying different things, so everybody’s fighting and using the word everywhere and they’re all saying different things. So the communication is all broken down. And then you look at Boycott and how people boycott in action is different for every person. So the way they consider boycott. Older generations think boycotting is just opting out or considering sometimes opting out of a product for a duration of time. Some people think that opting out is not enough. Younger generations are saying no. For me, boycott is opting out and taking to social and using my active voice. And then some are saying no. It’s just I just turned off their social or I stopped following. So there’s all these different definitions that we’re seeing. So even when the response is, how do you feel about wokenism? Oh, I’m boycotting this or that. Everything is so one person is saying the exact same words and they’re saying totally different things than the person sitting next to them.

[00:31:29] Calan Breckon: The definition matching up.

[00:31:32] Kate Wolff: No, because language is iterative and we’ve democratized know. I am glad they added riz to know Webster’s dictionary. It’s important. I personally think I have it.

[00:31:46] Calan Breckon: You definitely got rid?

[00:31:48] Kate Wolff: Yeah. Thank you. At least that’s why I tell my wife and she says, what are you saying, old woman?

Yeah, I just feel like that’s a real thing that we don’t talk about enough, which is the world is changing around us and that is creating the turmoil of which we’re all surviving.

[00:32:05] Calan Breckon: Yeah.

[00:32:10] Graham Nolan: People always say that things are harder for us than ever. SEO now, if you’re going into these social media feeds and you’re seeing how much we’re being boycotted against and how much our existence is being rallied against, I still pull a lot of optimism from the fact that you see our pain now. Great. You see our suffering now, because 30 years ago it was to the point where our stories weren’t being told, violence against us wasn’t being reported. We’re able to see it now. That’s another thing that without social media wouldn’t be possible. And everyone says that actually in regards to a lot of conflicts, like, we wouldn’t be seeing these specific, terrible things happening if this wasn’t the thing.

One other sort of related point, Kate, you sent me a Twitter, sort of like someone’s series of tweets. You sent me this like two years ago. Yes, thread. Can you tell that I’m not on there because the platform makes me nervous.

[00:33:00] Kate Wolff: I deleted my x. I deleted, it’s called x now.

[00:33:05] Calan Breckon: For those who are listening. We did those in quotations with our fingers.

[00:33:09] Graham Nolan: Yes.

I don’t still think of X as a drug that people were doing in 2001. So there was this thread that Kate had sent me that was someone who really articulated well, and I wish I could credit them now with the fact that there’s also no compromise sought by the people who are opposed to us. So we’ve talked about the fear that comes from it, and it’s just like, we just want lgbtq people to tone it down, and we want them to. No, because once you get target to get rid of their pride collection, then you want us out of the ads. Then they will continue to rally against something. It’ll always be something. And as we’ve discussed, that’s misplaced anger. That’s misplaced fear or whatever. But there’s no compromise to be sought in this. They want us disappeared. So the fact is that. And they want that scapegoat. So, yeah, the fact that we’re talking about the unfortunate suffering of new LGBTQ communities is actually weirdly evolution for the fact that our plights are being visualized. And, again, we are an industry that not only is in a position to do that, but we always talk about how if brands love problems and brands should love problems, like, that’s what they’re solving for people in the world.

They should love queer people. We’ve got tons of them. And by the way, our number one problem is not that we needed one more go go dancer with abs at the Pride parade. It’s that LGBTq people are disproportionately homeless. What’s your campaign for that? If you want to fix sex trafficked.

[00:34:37] Kate Wolff: And sex trafficked truly youth? Highest.

Highest rate of sex trafficked youth are LGBT.

[00:34:44] Graham Nolan: And also, we saw a stat. We put together the queer truly report. If you go to and you go to our newsletter every quarter, we have all the stats that define queer marketing, and one of them recently just sort of showed queer young people don’t sleep well. Mattress companies jump in. Every pillow company that’s hitting me up on Instagram, target queer people. Honestly, it’s not to say that you should capitalize on suffering, necessarily, but good campaigns provide solutions to a subculture’s issues.

Again, we should be your best friend. Also, marketers always say they want data and they want to understand things. And then it’s like, okay, well, why don’t you do any sort of surveys that allow us to put on our pronouns or how we identify? Well, that’s too much, really. I’ve never known a marketer, a smart marketer who didn’t want more data and more intricacy of data so they can cross reference. This is my target market, and this is all the aspects of them. We are a data marketer’s dream. There’s so many things that if you start with queer people and you make them the focus for your marketing, you will be better at every other kind of marketing.

[00:35:51] Calan Breckon: There is so much that was just said here that I want to unpack so much of it. I want to start off with the younger generations of.

No, first off, the hate. Yes, it exists. My YouTube channel, the only comments I ever get is hate. I rarely, rarely see. Like, this is great, this is awesome, this is amazing. On my YouTube, it’s always hatred. And that’s what drives the algorithm. And that’s one side of it that I’m not even going to dive into it. We would talk for hours about that kind of stuff, but I want to.

[00:36:27] Graham Nolan: Want to hear you talk about that, though. Your gay water episode touched on that, right? And how much that brand got and how it was dealt with. Masterclass.

[00:36:35] Calan Breckon: Yeah, Masterclass. But I’m really curious about this boycotting idea of not just brands, but when you were talking about it, Kate, I was thinking of it from a youth perspective to a older generation perspective of youth boycotting the status quo of how life was. And that that is what is driving the fear for the older generation, which is then causing them to point the fingers at the queer community being like, you’re the problem. And it’s like, no, it’s the whole of everything that is the problem. And the younger generation is seeing it because of the ease of access to information that they are now pushing back and quiet quitting and doing all of that and boycotting the status quo because they see through the bullshit and they can’t wait to change it, but they’re not willing to wait to start changing it.

[00:37:29] Kate Wolff: Yeah, there’s a level of impatience that comes with anybody that is young, millennial, and down. And the reason why is DNA. The D stands for digital. It’s in their blood, their brain. They were fully mapped.

The brain mapping of a child that was born in the wildly different than a brain now of the same cul de sac in Ohio.

They physically look different because of the level of digital screens and information of which we consume on an everyday basis. So we are evolving. We are animals. We are evolving across the board.

I’ll roll out some of the stats, like, actually from boycott because it’s really interesting. 20% of those folks surveyed in our last run with disco said that they’d immediately stop using a product and tell people in social circles that I do not support it, but not take to social media. 20%. That’s how they define boycotting. 22 said they would immediately stop buying it, but keep their thoughts to themselves. Right? And 23% said they’d just continue buying as usual and maybe call it a boycott, which was interesting. They’d say it. So there’s a little bit of performative there. Like, I’m boycotting it, but I still drink a bud light if I’m at a stadium, which, by the way, is a real thing. Like, if you’re at Sofa Stadium, you’re going to drink bud light if you want a beer, because that is what’s offered to you. So there’s some truth to that. But those numbers are dramatically skewed. The 20% is almost entirely the younger generations that say, I talk about it like I take action, and that is that level of impatience that you’re talking about.

They immediately say, I don’t want to do this, and then I need to tell everybody because I don’t want to have a discussion about it. It’s a full stop decision, and I think that’s a really interesting thing. It’s very powerful, and it also can be really harmful. It’s both. It depends on how it’s applied.

It’s a good marker of cancel culture, and I do believe in cancel culture in some ways because it’s the overcorrection that’s required for a broken system. Right. So you’re looking at things like that, but on an individual level, it feels hard. There are always going to be any case by case, you’re going to look at stuff and you’re going to be able to make excuses because the world is built in gray boundaries. How we look and perceive information is not always how it’s intended.

Even at lupine, when we get into any kind of tension in the office between individuals, one thing I always say is perception and intention are different sides of the exact same coin, and they don’t always mirror each other. So you can do something and be perceived as doing it wrong. And then wherever that perception as feelings are real, like, how somebody perceives a situation is as real as how. As it was intended. So you have to meet in the middle anyway. It just feels like we are at this place where we have a really active, mobilized younger group that is going to force changes, and it’s going to be painful, and it’s going to be, hopefully, for the betterment, but it is going to happen.

[00:40:50] Calan Breckon: I want to take everything we’ve all just said collectively here and what you’ve just said here, and how do we take that and reframe the conversation around LGBTQ marketing to transform our current polarizing landscape, because I think that’s a lot of the work you two are doing, is reframing the data and information to construct that future outcome.

[00:41:17] Kate Wolff: Yeah, I will say, yes. One, we talk a lot about the pain that we’re feeling and the things you can see in culture right now, the topics at hand, the different legislation that’s being passed on and on and on and on. It feels heavy and all encompassing.

That is the tension and pain of true progress. We are real believers in that. The bigger the target, the more to hit. So that means we are seen more than ever. And there’s a direct correlation with representation and visibility and hate. That is how that works. So that is not a bad thing. It is just painful, but it is not necessarily a bad thing. We can move through it because we’re being seen more than ever.

No press is bad press kind of thing. And there’s some truth to that. When it comes to representation and being seen, whether or not know, inciting negativity or hate, it’s still a topic of a conversation. We’re being talked about more than ever. So we need to just mobilize and get in front of it.

Bentley University and Gallup last quarter, like late fall, came out with this great study around brands. They actually said 88% of people believe the business gay. Really, that businesses and brands have an incredible power to change impact on the individual’s lives. Like, the things that brands can do because they control the economy, can really step forward and actually make a huge difference on an individual level for every person. So that clearly directly affects LGBT when you’re under attack. But a really interesting thing about that is they found that only 8% of the 88 people, I mean, the 88% of people that believe they have power, only 8% of that grouping thought they’re doing it well, that they’re at all helpful. They think they’re extremely ineffective, which is crazy.

[00:43:18] Graham Nolan: And it’s why you’re.

It’s why you’re seeing these studies pop up. So, like, two years ago, there was all this, Gen Z wants you to talk about this. Gen Z wants you to talk about this. And lately we’ve seen a couple more studies that were like, Gen Z doesn’t want you talking about all of this. Actually, we’re less comfortable with a lot of companies talking about issues of race or issues of gender and things like that. And we actually want you to focus on sustainability and things like that. There’s this shift in conversations that the consumers are willing to let you have, and you could really easily take that mistakenly as the reason to go like, oh, they don’t care about that shit anymore. It’s not that they don’t care about that shit anymore. It’s they don’t think you’re doing it, and they’re tired of you talking about your willingness to do it when you’re not delivering on it, because most of you companies are not in that 8% who’s actually doing things when 88% of us think you could be doing things.

[00:44:16] Calan Breckon: Taking a pig and putting lipstick on it and saying, we’re doing the things.

[00:44:19] Graham Nolan: Yeah, don’t even say it. Now is the point that the younger generations are at, because they’re calling the bullshit.

[00:44:25] Calan Breckon: They can see it.

[00:44:26] Graham Nolan: I think that there was something interesting about how you framed the question about the language and the discussion that we should be having for this progress, because, Kate, yes, absolutely.

These pains are the signs of change, and this is what you see. I do think the discussion itself is going to change, though.

I’ve talked to an ethics class this week, and they basically, the point of this is, how are these students going to use ethics in the world? And I’m talking to them about my experience with it, and I talk about how I Do The WeRQ. We are constantly having ethical conversations. However, I don’t think that in the average call Kate or I ever says ethics. I think it is a word that when people hear it, they’re just immediately they go into a place of, do you think I’m a good person or a bad person? Do you think I’m unethical? Like, they take it personally, the same way people do this all the time. They take one aspect of their identity, and they use it as proof of whether they’re a good person or a bad person. Of course I voted for so and so. I’m not a bad person. Of course, I did vote for so and so. I’m not a bad. It’s all about whether or not you’re bad. And there’s this very personal thing about it. I think Dei has become a conversation that is about how you feel. Of course I’m not a bad person. I want everyone to have equality. So then it’s like, okay, well, if that’s become a discussion of emotion, then maybe we have the money discussion. But as I mentioned earlier, we have 50 reports that say, you will make the money. So finance isn’t the language either. I think that the next couple of years, and again, we are in a great position as communications professionals to do this, is finding the conversation where people won’t inherently make it about whether or not you’re good or bad. And it’s not just about money because that seems too far away for people to tap into. What’s the thing to talk about in this that will lead people to action that doesn’t motivate them by guilt?

[00:46:13] Kate Wolff: Yeah, I mean, my thing is like, patience. Iago brands need to slow down on the KPI report quarter to quarter and look at long term investment in audiences.

I think the age of immediacy has really, if you’re looking at cmos, they’re looking at their.

Nobody’s giving grace. Cmos are being judged quarter to quarter on performance and so they need to see immediate results.

I’m not going to say something totally shocking.

What Gen Z wants is different than what boomers want.

[00:47:02] Calan Breckon: Yeah, big time.

[00:47:04] Kate Wolff: Oh my God. So if you deliver to Gen Z, is a different generation not going to like it.

Oh my God. And they have money right now. They have money right now. So you see maybe a dip in something or you get a lot of like turn up the volume on the media and you get a lot of negative attention all of a sudden. For, by the way, negative attention is like, wait out the storm. It’s a storm. It’s not a platform, it’s not long term planning. It’s a hiccup and it goes away. Everything is so ephemeral, like your memory. We have less of attention span than a goldfish.

I’m sure people listening to this, I’ve mentioned Bud light before. I was going to go Bud light. What happened with Bud light? Because it’s always so. It’s crazy to think that you need immediate results. And if something bad happens, if there’s noise that immediately outweighs the long term growth and audience retention you can build over time for younger generations that will future proof your product or service.

[00:48:12] Calan Breckon: Yeah, sorry. Right now we are kind of the products of the systems we SEO up to this point and it’s created this or thatness. It’s either you’re with me or against meness. There is no middle, there’s no gray in the middle anymore. And that is where humanity is. Humanity at its best, I feel, is when we can come and sit at the table. Do I like certain people, especially certain political people? Yeah. But would I still sit at a table with them and have an open conversation to better understand them and hope that they do the same for me? Yeah. Because that’s how things change. That’s how minds change and that’s how we progress into the future. But that’s not profitable.

[00:48:59] Kate Wolff: We did that together immediately.

[00:49:01] Calan Breckon: Immediately profitable.

[00:49:04] Graham Nolan: When we did that togetherness research, we wanted to make the methodology in itself a reflection of the topic. One of the things that we did was we went down, I think we were in Dallas and Denver, and we picked these people who were from politically opposed positions or whatever, and we put them in a room together with a camera and to just sort of see what it would take to sort of bring them together on certain subjects. And asking the team who ran the research in the field, they said when someone would get there first, they’d be like, all right, who’s my opponent? Was the thing. And then they had very civil conversations and the camera held them accountable. And afterwards, many of the participants thanked us for the opportunity to talk to someone in a forum where it was expected that there would be some degree of respect for each other. It was like they were grateful for this, but there’s no space for it. And in that space anytime soon, I feel like people have made the experiment in social media where it’s like, what if we have the algorithm that isn’t based on contentious stuff rising to the top and that hasn’t quite worked here, but people want these spaces. And again, if that is something that is a problem where people have a deficit of that, marketers can step in and fix that problem somehow.

[00:50:13] Kate Wolff: Yep. And I’m very optimistic that that can happen. And I mean it. When I say patience, Yago, it’s like the worst thing a brand can do is make an initiative or attempt to engage and then leave you stranded when something negative happens.

That is the worst, because what it’s actually doing is it’s rewarding and incentivizing hate speech. That’s the problem. You are showing action based on noise. So hold the line is what we say at Do The WeRQ. Hold the line, because the line you’re standing on, that front line, is a line that the community lives on. We can’t get off of it. And so just standing there with us, we say allyship feels passive. Accomplice is the term I like to use. Like accomplice takes action, stands and bears the brunt. And if you do that, media storms again. They’re ephemeral and short lived. So hold the line and build the respect with the audience because they’re not looking for solutions. The people that are getting really upset, that are blowing up cases of bud light, looking at you, kid rock, that are taking to social media and doing something violent and showing hate in violence, firing your cmo is not going to help that it’s incentivizing it.

[00:51:41] Graham Nolan: Yeah.

[00:51:42] Kate Wolff: So now you’re doing two negative things. You, one, are alienating the audience you set out to support, and two, you are incentivizing the hate groups that come from marginalized communities.

So I think there’s hope, but hope is designed from let’s get that 88% of power back and apply it and then stand with it when it gets know, honestly it’s turning your phone off. That’s what you do. Just wait it.

[00:52:19] Calan Breckon: And I also, I want to wrap things up with this. I think a large portion of that also comes with earlier. I think maybe before we started recording, Kate, you were sharing that Lupin is owned and operated by you. There is no shareholders or like investors you have to answer to. And your focus isn’t about making them money, it’s about what’s good for your people. And I think that if people and brands focused more on that of their best asset, which is their people, the money would come and grow. But it’s that in between period of we’re not patient enough to get there that is screwing everybody up.

[00:53:01] Kate Wolff: That is exactly the, it’s not waiting out the storm like, this is a terrible analogy, but we’re having a lot of rain in Los Angeles right now. And this would be the equivalent, yeah, this would be the equivalent of like, oh, it’s raining for three days, I better know. It is really about, we talk about the fatigue that younger generations are having because they’re saying, I’m tired of the performative nature. It feels performative when it’s either not acted on or reneged. SEO I think we just need to do a better job of being humans and showing our humanity and saying, there’s so much power in, we made a mistake.

There’s so much power in that. And so I want it. Bud light, come talk to me. I’m here for you.

[00:53:59] Graham Nolan: You have to remember one of the most exciting things is that we are the first part of society that can have ever experienced cancel culture, and then we are the first generation that can ever see what comes after and we get to decide what that is and how much grace we show and how much patience we show and how virtuous we can be for the sake of building a better world.

[00:54:20] Calan Breckon: Yeah. People don’t have the opportunity to grow if you cancel them, and that’s why you’re canceling them, because you want them to grow. So you have to give them the grace to grow. This has been an absolute riveting conversation. We went way longer than I thought we were going to go, but I just couldn’t help it because you two are just such a vast well of knowledge. I want to thank you both for being guests on the podcast, and I would welcome you back any day.

[00:54:48] Graham Nolan: We’ll be back next week.

Thank you, everyone.

[00:54:53] Kate Wolff: It’s been great. Thank you so much, y’all.

[00:54:55] Calan Breckon: Thank you.

[00:54:55] Graham Nolan: Thank you so much.

[00:54:57] Calan Breckon: Wow. What an absolute lively conversation that I had with Kate and Graham. I did not want to end that episode, I could have gone on forever. Thank you so much for tuning in today. And also, happy Valentine’s Day. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and if you really like today’s episode. I would love a star rating from you and also share the podcast with your friends. The Business Gay podcast is written, produced, and edited by me, Calan Breckon. And if you’re looking to get some SEO advice or get an SEO audit, you can head on over to and set one up with me. Or just click the link in the show notes. That’s it for today. Peace, love, rainbows.

Calan Breckon
Calan Breckon

Calan Breckon is an SEO Specialist and host of "The Business Gay" podcast. He has worked with companies such as Cohere and Canada Life and has been a guest on the "Online Marketing Made Easy" podcast with Amy Porterfield as well as featured in publications like Authority Magazine and CourseMethod.

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