Editor's note: Curt Fedder is managing director of Chicago-based LGBT Research Insights.

Marketing and advertising to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) consumers continues to rise. An extremely desirable niche target for marketing organizations, LGBT purchasing power is estimated to be in excess of $835 billion, according to a 2013 American Marketing Association report. It’s critical that marketing organizations communicate with LGBT consumers in a manner that acknowledges their unique characteristics but also reflects effective marketing strategy and communications so that brands can create affinity and loyalty among this powerful segment.

Our firm, a Chicago-based market research consultancy, recently completed a qualitative research study with the objective of developing suggestions on how to create effective marketing communications with LGBT consumers.

Twenty LGBT consumers were exposed to a variety of LGBT ads in a series of in-depth interviews conducted in Chicago in July 2014. Through discussion, several elements were identified as being particularly effective when trying to engage, motivate and communicate with LGBT consumers.

There’s genuine excitement about the presence of LGBT ads. LGBT participants admire the fact that national brands are taking note of the role LGBT consumers play. Comments to this effect included:

“We buy their products … we use their brands … they should notice us!”

 “I feel good when seeing myself in ads … I’m a bit older and this never happened when I was first coming out. But now I see myself in a lot of places and it just feels good.”

“With all the negative attention gays tend to get, it’s nice to see us shown in everyday situations, like real people with jobs and responsibilities.”

Some brands were recognized as being longtime advertisers, while others were “new to the party.” LGBT consumers identified several advertiser...