Toms Giving Shoes to Under-Privileged Children

May 10th 2016 saw TOMS’ annual campaign, a day #withoutshoes, which raises awareness for children’s health and education. Many companies struggle to balance self-promotion with their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) commitments. The companies that do it really well are those that have no visible gap between their brand and their CSR. The heart of brand is articulated naturally and easily through social commitments, with no hint of ‘greenwash’.

The success of the 2016 campaign, promoted across social media and through community initiatives, will allow 27,435 children to receive a new pair of shoes. Whilst this alone sounds fairly impressive, it is nothing when compared to the overall success of the business model …

TOMS is a tremendously successful social enterprise – the strength of their culture, personality and identity has resulted in a strong business model. Over the years they have given away about 60 million pairs of shoes. The company estimates that through cataract and other surgical procedures, they’ve helped restore sight to around 400,000 people, along with providing more than 335,000 weeks of safe drinking water and supporting safe birth services to about 25,000 mothers.

The company was founded by American entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, and the business model demonstrates that brands driven by social responsibility can make a global difference as well as being profitable. With social ethos at the heart of their brand and business model, in 2014 TOMS was estimated to be worth $625 million. For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, the company donates a pair of shoes to a child in need. The premise is a simple and practical response to help children to stay safe and get an education. Their brand is clearly and concisely articulated through everything they do – the integrity of their business is second-to-none and they clearly walk the walk.

The TOMS’ model has been applauded by many, and has demonstrated to entrepreneurs all over the world that there is another way – a better way – an entirely ethical way … to do well in business.