A recent Forbes article, Millennials Driving Brands to Practice Socially Responsible Marketing by Sarah Landrum, discussed the buying patterns of the millennial generation. Landrum explains “Millennials prefer to do business with corporations and brands with pro-social messages, sustainable manufacturing methods and ethical business standards.” In result of these key buying patterns, there has been a surge in companies who focus on socially responsible practices. TOMS is one such company.
TOMS, originally a shoe company that has now branched into eyewear and other categories, promises for every shoe purchased, one will be donated to a child in need. The movement is called “One for One” and has won the hearts of millions and with its help has grown TOMS into a highly successful company. Blake Mycoskie, TOMS founder, came up with the company idea while traveling in Argentina and found that a lot of young children didn’t have shoes. A simple idea but an incredibly powerful message.
In addition to “One for One,” TOMS has taken the program a step further by not only donating shoes, but also starting to produce shoes which in turn provides jobs to the communities in need. A total of 60 million shoes have been given in over 70 different countries.
As TOMS has expanded into other categories, they have expanded their reach as well. A similar business model is used for their eyewear program and in 2014 TOMS launched their TOMS Roasting Co. As the TOMS website says “With each purchase of TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee, we work with our Giving Partners to provide 140 liters of safe water (a one week supply) to a person in need.” Furthermore, children are near and dear to this company’s values, so the “One for One” movement took it even further with their bag collection. For every bag that is purchased, TOMS provides a safe birth for a mother and baby in need.
Beyond the donations, TOMS also strives make their products from sustainable ingredients and use recyclable materials whenever possible. Their shoe boxes are made with “80% recycled post-consumer waste and are printed with soy ink.” Obtaining quality responsibly made materials is at the forefront of the business, and TOMS continues to monitor their vendors and farmers to make sure practices meet their values.
It is clear that social responsibility is at the core of TOMS as a company. As for the future of TOMS, Mycoskie says “…we know every day that we’re going to give away one pair of shoes for every one we sell, and that’s that. If we can’t make the business work that way, then the business just doesn’t work.”
“As we reflect on what we’ve done, we know that there is always more to do! In the coming months, we’ll broaden our understanding of our product and their impacts, explore additional sustainable materials and designs, and deepen our conversation with our supply chain partners. As we climb the mountain in front of us, we’ll celebrate our success while eyeing that next peak in the distance.”
— TOMS website
Knowing the buying patterns of Millennials, I think TOMS is in a great position to continue to grow and prosper as a company, and ultimately, help those in need.
Here is a TOMS commercial to check out.