TOMS Shoes is the sweetheart of the corporate philanthropy world. The business is the brainchild of Blake Mycoskie, a young entrepreneur that has successfully married his vision for a business, with one for greater good. The concept is very simple:
Every time you buy a pair of TOMS shoes, they will give a pair away to a child in need.
The model provides a few good lessons for those wanting to combine business with doing good:
Give employees something to be more proud of: Mycoskie says that employee morale is phenomenal in his business; ‘how could you be down when you know that everything you do makes children happier?’ he says.
Ride a trend: The recession made a lot of people consider the importance of where their money was going. This led to a huge increase in cause-related marketing, from brands that openly promoted ‘goodness’ in their corporate image.
Sustainable goodness: If TOMS had taken £1m and donated shoes to children, it would have been very good, but a one-time impact fades. The TOMS cause is so intrinsically linked to their business’ purpose, that everything that they do has a bigger meaning and greater good.
Attach a story to your product: Stories spread. Give customers a story that they can tell again and again. People have bought into the TOMS story with their hearts, not just their purse strings.