Toms Shoes Inc is a company that was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie. It is based in Santa Monica, California and has a profit making subsidiary and another non-profit one called Friends of Tom (Binkley, 2010). The company majors in designing shoes and eyewear. The non-profit subsidiary is operated on the basis that for every shoe that the company sells another shoe is given to an impoverished child while a part of the proceeds from the sale of eyewear goes to eyesight treatments for people in third world countries (Lerman, 2011). This paper examines the presence of Toms on social media, their public relations and how they can influence Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies.
Toms Shoes Inc has a strong presence on social media sites. On their facebook page they have the following positioning statement, “With every purchase, TOMS will help a person in need. One for One” (toms.com, 2012). On facebook and twitter, TOMS presents the company’s overview which states several issues about the company. The description states, the dates the company was founded and the company‘s founder are mentioned. The description also states that for every pair of shoes or spectacles sold the company gives another free of charge and hence the slogan “One for One”.
Vision, mission and values of Toms Shoes Inc.
The mission statement of TOMS shoes Inc is “For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair to a child in need. One for one” (Binkley, 2010). The vision for the company is “to provide children in need with shoes” (Binkley, 2010). The Company is founded on the values of selflessness, charity, integrity and professionalism.
The positioning strategy of the company is to provide a product for charity for each that is produced for commercial purposes. The company chooses to forego the expenditure over advertisements costs so that it can produce for charity purposes. The strategy of the company is thus to present itself largely as a philanthropic organization so as to help unfortunate people around the world (Lerman, 2011). On social media, Toms Shoes presents itself using the One on One mission to present itself as a philanthropic organization.
They offer shoes with sustainable and vegan materials and are working to expand these offerings. These shoes include natural hemp, organic cotton, and/or recycled polyester and these materials are used on the upper, liner and/or the insole cover (instead of our standard suede insole). All of our shoe boxes are made from 80% recycled post-consumer waste and are printed with soy ink (Binkley, 2010). It also offers spectacles.
Toms Shoes Inc was started in 2006 after company founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed Argentinean girls collecting shoes for a shoe drive. Mycoskie got inspired and decided to the current model of charity by creating a profitable organization which would spend its profits on charity rather than on advertising (Binkley, 2010). To date the company has given shoes and spectacles in more than 60 countries. The company has given more than 10 million pairs of shoes and more than 150,000 people have had their eyesight restored through purchase of eyewear since 2011! (tom.com)
Social Media involvement
Toms Shoes Inc has a heavy presence on social media. On twitter the company’s twitter handle @TOMSshoes has 6,976 followers (twitter.com), on facebook the company’s page has 2,123,514 likes (facebook.com), while on Instagram people have shown their love for Toms by sharing thousands of photos of the company’s products and events.
Social media posts and its influence on their market
Toms Shoes posts about how its supply chains, events such as the ones where it goes to donate shoes in different places, about its special offers for different seasons and festivities such as Christmas among many other posts addressing different sales, production or charitable events. Notably the facebook and twitter pages of the company bear photos of models clad in Tom’s shoes and this is a special way to reach out and effortlessly advertise its products (facebook.com). The posts on social media present the company as one dedicated to keep up the charitable work and also to provide quality products.
Toms Shoes does well in advertising their product through an avenue that is cheap and has minimal expenditure if any. Posting pictures of models in the company’s products has a very huge and positive effect if the pictures appeals to the more than 2 million people who are fans of the company. The company can improve on the acquisition of a charitable brand ambassador who becomes the face of the company both for commercial and charitable purposes.
At the moment there is no other company that offers shoe san spectacles to deserving persons on the same model of “one for one”. However, there are other charitable organizations that give shoes such as soles4souls which collects shoes and distributes t deserving persons around the world. As such, Toms Shoes Inc, does not have a co-proprietor per se but has the organization dubbed Friends of Tom-a non-profit organization which supports the charitable organization by the non-profit subsidiary of Toms Shoes Inc.
Toms Shoes Inc. Public relations
During public events, the company makes plenty of press releases to inform people of charitable shoes of eye care donations. According to Binkley, (2010) the events are popularized in local media and this helps draw huge crowds to the events for greater publicity and effective cost-free advertising. The CSR activities of eye care and shoes donations are adequate public relations campaigns that he steered the company into stardom when it comes to merging charity with business. The company also features in corporate events and has gained massive accolades and appreciation. At the Clinton Global Initiative University plenary session, former President Clinton introduced Blake to the audience as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs (I’ve) ever met.” People Magazine featured Blake in its “Heroes Among Us” section, and TOMS Shoes was featured in the Bill Gates Time Magazine article “How to Fix Capitalism.” In 2011, Blake was named on Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list, recognizing him as one of the top young businessmen in the world.
The fact that Toms Shoes gives back a half of its production to the society is testimony of its dedication to giving back to the society. Blake started by giving shoes to his native Argentina and this is an excellent gift to the society which nurtured him. More information about the company can be found on their website http://www.toms.com.
While Toms Shoes Inc has achieved I terms f charity it needs to find a popular brand ambassador who will serve as the charitable ambassador for the company. Commercially, the company stands to benefit from undue advertising from the ambassador (Binkley, 2010). The organization can also support a worthy cause such as a cancer awareness programme. AS Toms Shoes, Beauty For Cancer does Buy Light, Give Light. To make the general public feel a part of our cause, we have what we call “Buy Light, Give Light.” “Hands with Light” is an original design, Beauty for Cancer pendant necklace for women. “My Fight, My Light” is an original design, Beauty for Cancer Military “Dog Tags” for men. For every necklace / or dog tag we sell, we donate one to a cancer Fighter who is in stage three or four of cancer. In all, people can learn from Toms Shoes that it s possible for a business to invest heavily in charitable organizations and yet remain profitable and effective in its industry.
Binkley, Christina. "Charity Gives Toms Shoes Extra Shine." Business News & Financial News. The Wall Street Journal, 1 Apr. 2010. Web. 14 Mar. 2011.
Lerman, Emily. "TOMS Shoes Founder Blake Mycoskie Plans to Give Away 300,000 Pairs."PhiLAnthropist Interview. LAist: Los Angeles News, 15 Apr. 2009. Web. 14 Mar. 2011.