One for One | TOMS Shoes, Social Responsibility and Branding Success

By: Logan Sweet — Contributor

It’s pretty simple.

You purchase a pair of shoes for yourself, and a pair of shoes goes to a child in need. A pair of tortoise shell sunglasses could provide sight saving surgery for the visually impaired. You purchase a product that you want, and you may give something so needed that it changes the life of its recipient forever.

 Buy one. Give one. That’s the TOMS mission.

Blake Mycoskie and his socially good company TOMS are no strangers to giving. Founded in 2006, TOMS has been devoted to helping the global community by providing much desired footwear to children in need.  Aware that many children in third world countries lack the proper footwear for healthy living; the company personally delivers a pair of shoes to a less fortunate child for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased. One for One.

Customers, especially young, socially conscious consumers, are drawn to the idea that TOMS is providing a quality product as well as a service that helps those less fortunate. The One for One movement allows customers to feel that they themselves are making a difference. Rather than donating 10% of sales, like many “socially responsible” brands, TOMS goes the extra mile. Putting a foot ahead of the others (see what I did there), TOMS is giving the very same thing that you are buying.

For every purchase you make, you are providing a brand new pair of shoes to a child in Guatemala, or outfitting an orphanage in Haiti. The giving aspect of TOMS has become such an essential part of their brand that the company recently held a contest for their customers to take part in an upcoming Giving Trip; a contest that this blogger regrets not entering.

When it comes to branding the One for One movement, TOMS marketing clearly targets forward thinking customers. Specialty fashion shows, clubs on university campuses, social media campaigns and global events like One Day Without Shoes (a day set aside where TOMS supporters go shoeless in an attempt to better connect with, and bring light to the problem they’re addressing) attract a kind of young audience that fuels corporate and social responsibility and lives to make a change. To meet the needs of their consumers, TOMS products have even been created to fit different environmental ideals and adhere to vegan restrictions. This, however, never outshines the brand’s true mission: One for One.

The brand’s strong marketing of One for One has gained the attention of millions of devoted followers. Since 2012, TOMS has sold over one million pairs of shoes, and as promised, delivered one million pairs to 40 countries across the globe. These numbers follow 140,000 shoes sold in 2009 and just 50,000 in 2007.

The increase in sales figures show that the success of TOMS has increased exponentially as more and more socially responsible consumers join the One for One movement. Stylish products and a knack for helping out are earning TOMS the branding spotlight that it deserves. Besides, who doesn’t want to support an awesome brand and make a difference too?

Having gone strong for nearly seven years, TOMS is showing no signs of slowing down their efforts to leave the world a better place than before. Joining the success of TOMS shoes, the brand has recently introduced a line of summer eyewear.  In typical TOMS fashion, each purchase will provide a pair of prescription glasses or sight saving surgery to a person suffering with visual impairment.

The success of TOMS has also opened the door for an array of other One for One oriented businesses. Companies along the likes of FIGS, a recent startup that prides itself on providing clean scrubs to international medical providers for every set of FIGS scrubs purchased; and KUTOA Health Bars, a brand of granola bars giving vital nutrition packs to children in third world countries. TOMS has painstakingly carved a market niche for these, and future, givers to enjoy.

 To become a part of the One for One movement and help the global community, join TOMS on Facebook or follow the #OneForOne trend on Twitter.

Logan Sweet is your average college senior with the not so average soul of an old man. A media junkie, he writes on fresh Marketing and Social Media techniques for those who’ll listen 

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