TOMS Building Upon ‘Soleful’ Brand

TOMS. Shoes for Tomorrow.

Who can pass up a good pun, right? I’m probably one of the least fashionable people out there. However, even for the fashion-challenged like me, it’s likely that you’ve heard about TOMS Shoes.

TOMS was formed by entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie in 2006 on the simple concept that by selling these comfortable, Argentinian-style shoes to consumers – a pair could in turn be given to someone who needs them. Mycoskie’s business concept was rooted in the desire to help those (children primarily) who do not have shoes to protect themselves from soil-transmitted diseases prevalent in developing countries. The TOMS mission is also to ensure these people have access to places like schools or hospitals in their respective communities, for education, assistance and healthcare.

The cool thing about TOMS is that this is not a ’cause component’ of their business – it IS their business. TOMS’ advertising isn’t focused on selling you a pair of their shoes, it hopes to inspire you to do good. Below is a video from their “One Day Without Shoes” campaign and is a great example of their overall brand messaging:

Since the company’s inception in 2006, TOMS has been able to give 1,000,000 shoes to children through its One for One Movement. In addition to being able to donate to over 20 countries around the world, TOMS has also been recognized as one of eight revolutionary socially responsible companies making a difference in the world.

TOMS has a great consumer base that has essentially helped make an impact on the world. But as a brand, what do they do if they want to grow or evolve? And does it put their mission of helping those without at risk?

Apparently not. TOMS recently announced they are expanding into eye wear.

Armed with the same simple One for One business model, for every pair of sunglasses they sell, they will work to ensure that one person receives the eye care they need. Providing eye care is far more complex than shoes – so for this program TOMS is partnering with companies to provide the eye care services needed to fulfill their One for One promise.

Perhaps the coolest thing about this expansion it that it allows TOMS as a brand to grow into, as they say, a One for One company. In other words, regardless of what you buy, your purchase directly helps someone in need. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

So if you want your consumer dollars to make a difference in the world, and need a cool new pair of shades check out TOMS new eyeware line. Their site put their company goal right up front so you know your purchase can impact someone’s life – and they offer a cool virtual try-on tool as well. In fact, we started exploring this new initiative partly because we were interested in the technology behind their virtual try-on tool. We weren’t all that impressed with its functionality, but we love TOMS!

For your continued entertainment pleasure, here is what I would look like in a pair of TOMS shades, courtesy of their virtual try-on tool:

  • http://www.brandstrategy.co.za Michael Said

    Very innovative idea and kudos to the founder. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree, Michael. We love Tom’s!

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