I love the TOMS brand. In fact, I love their entire “One for One” movement. But the truth is this: Even though I think the company is fantastic, I don’t love my TOMS shoes. They’re nice sometimes and I do wear them, but they’re by no means my favorites.
And let me tell you something: If you can love a brand while only liking its product, that brand is doing something right.
What TOMS is doing right is that they’re giving me (and everyone) something to believe in. Because as Hugh MacLeod has aptly stated, “The market for something to believe in is infinite.”
On their website, TOMS shares this story behind the shoe:
TOMS was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, inspired by a trip to Argentina where he saw extreme poverty and health conditions, as well as children walking without shoes. That’s when he recognized the traditional Argentine alpargata shoe as a simple, yet revolutionary solution. He quickly set out to reinvent the alpargata for the U.S. market with a simple goal: to show how together, we can create a better tomorrow by taking compassionate action today.
TOMS could just be a shoe company. And if they were, I probably wouldn’t own multiple pairs. I might not even own one pair.
Instead, they made their product about what they believe in. About what their audience believes in. Everything else – from the introduction of new styles and a sunglasses line, to their annual “One Day With Out Shoes” – supports those ideas.
When choosing how to market ourselves to potential customers, how often do we limit ourselves to our face-value features? And how much more could our brand resonate with our audience if we introduced a new dimension of values?