If you were able to get out and about last Tuesday, you may have noticed a surplus of barefoot walkers ranging from business people to retail workers. It was quite a peculiar site to see a business professional walking the streets of NYC in a full suit with no shoes. This was all due to the movement “One Day Without Shoes” started by the shoe company TOMS.
At TOMS, they don’t consider themselves to be a business but rather a movement. Their philosophy is to help people in need — one shoe purchase at a time. For every pair of shoes purchased from TOMS, they donate a pair to someone in need in a foreign country. The company started when founder Blake Mycoskie, was inspired by a trip to Argentina. “I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little,” Mycoskie said. “And I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.”
Since it’s inception, TOMS has successfully turned a business into a movement by engaging their young consumers via social media and the web. They have taken a trendy design and marketed it to the right people, using the right platforms. Through the viral support of their young customers, “One Day Without Shoes” was started in 2008. TOMS helped their follower’s idea become a reality.
With word of mouth spreading so fast, TOMS has created tremendous brand recognition for themselves in a matter of a short time. “One Day Without Shoes” has almost worked as a guerilla-marketing tactic for the company. If you saw several people walking around in the rain without shoes on, wouldn’t you eventually ask what was going on? Even Hollywood has jumped on the ban-wagon; last Tuesday’s episode of GLEE featured occasional bare-footed cast members.
Being trendy, social, outrageous yet generous has caught the attention of today’s youth. TOMS has created a relationship with their customer base making them a huge asset as the driving force behind their business. Essentially their customers have become a part of their marketing team.
What is your marketing plan for getting your business where you want it to be?