08/20/2012 05:18 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

How Nielsen Puts Its Research and Insights to Work to Foster Awareness, Diversity and Respect

While I was volunteering for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), it occurred to me that my company, Nielsen, could leverage knowledge and technology to make a unique impact on this organization. Nielsen is a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. In 2010, I worked with them to provide GLAAD cost-free services and software licenses through Nielsen Cares, Nielsen's global corporate social responsibility program. GLAAD received NM Incite My BuzzMetrics, a research solution that helps GLAAD monitor and measure the effectiveness of its social media campaigns and collect incident reports of defamation and bullying. This initiative laid the foundation for a stronger collaborative effort between Nielsen and GLAAD.

In 2011, with the support and advice of GLAAD, Nielsen published its first report on TV audiences for LGBT-Inclusive programs and on the ad dollars that back these programs. With this report, "The New Mainstream: 28% of TV Watching Spent on LGBT-Inclusive Shows," Nielsen determined that almost one-third of all primetime TV watching is spent on LGBT-Inclusive programs -- a fact that GLAAD was able to share at the GLAAD Media Awards held earlier this year. With this report, the company demonstrated to clients, non-profits and the community in general that Nielsen could monitor the extent to which Americans are exposed to fair and accurate LGBT stories in the media from both a social and a marketing point of view.

This year, Nielsen returned the favor by providing ratings statistics to help shape GLAAD's own annual television report, the Network Responsibility Index. The data helped GLAAD determine which new networks to target for analysis, resulting in some surprising findings which will be released soon, and helping the organization better focus its own advocacy efforts in the industry.

Nielsen supports many diverse local and national groups and ethnic organizations to ensure it is providing its clients with a thorough understanding of what consumers watch and buy. Nielsen will continue to improve its reporting on LGBT representation in its research products, and this research will help inform the work of LGBT community leaders.

I would encourage any company to check Nielsen's policy on community involvement and figure out how Nielsen's research and resources can benefit the company.