STUDY: What's the Most Gay-Friendly Brand?

By Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

Originally published on Advocate.com June 23 2014 6:27 PM ET

After surveying thousands of LGBT consumers around the country, brand-tracking company BrandIndex has announced the most gay-friendly brand, according to how customers perceive the company: This year's top honor goes to discount warehouse store Costco. Last year Costco was on the list at number 14.

YouGov's BrandIndex tracks real-time feedback, discussion, and social media buzz for individual brands and once a year compiles a top 100 ranking of the best brands, broken down by audience and market sector. Other top-ranking brands for LGBT consumers include Netflix, Panera Bread, Trader Joe’s, and YouTube rounding out the top five.

According to BrandIndex, companies were scored based on how LGBT people responded to the question, “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”

Based on the positive and negative reviews, each company was then scored between 100 and -100, allowing BrandIndex to account for substantial shifts in public perception.

Costco is no stranger to accolades from the LGBT Americans, as the company also received a score of 90 (out of 100) in the Human Rights Campaign's most recent Corporate Equality Index. The HRC's CEI scores companies based on LGBT-inclusive policies as well as benefits and the companies' overall treatment of its employees.

Several companies did see improvement in the perception of their brand with LGBT buyers, though they didn't make the top 20. Walmart, ExxonMobil, BP, and Abercrombie + Fitch all saw improvements in their rankings, as did cruise line Carnival, which went from a score of -30.4 in 2013, but earned a -6.9 this year.

Target, Kindle, HBO, and M&Ms did not make the top 20 list this year after being listed among top-ranking brands last year. Voting takes place between April 1 and June 10.