Random Acts of Brand Kindness – TOMS Shoes

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The Amazing Power of Brands With Heart
It is amazing at a time when en-mass we seem so disenfranchised by big, corporate, self serving brands, how a ray of kindness can make such an impact.

TOMS Shoes is a brand with so many rays of kindness that it literally outshines the competition, made up of many of the world’s biggest shoe brands with their mountainous marketing budgets. TOMS shoes (the name is a creative acronym for Shoes for Tomorrow) were inspired by the local alpargata shoes Blake discovered when traveling through Argentina as a contestant on reality TV show; The Amazing Race. The shoes were so comfortable that he began wearing them regularly.

graphic designers MelbourneIn 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers.

TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we’re all about. The TOMS mission transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support.

Recently the TOMS Shoes One for One Movement has given away its one millionth pair of shoes. That’s a big, bold gesture in any-ones language – and all this with virtually no marketing spend.

The TOMS mission of giving shoes has attracted other brands, resulting in unique and successful collaborations. Ralph Lauren sold co-branded Polo Rugby TOMS, giving a matched pair with every pair sold. Element Skateboards has issued limited edition TOMS + Element shoes as well as a One for One skateboard. With every skateboard purchased, one will be given to a child at the Indigo Skate Camp in Durban, South Africa. It is TOMS’ hope that as our One for One movement continues to grow, more and more companies will look to incorporate giving into what they do.



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The benefits brands like TOMS derive from having kindness at their heart shouldn’t be underestimated. For me this is the really rich frontier for brands where the act of kindness is wired into their reason for being – not tacked-on as a brand communication campaign. As with all things brand, authenticity is the key, and when it comes to random acts of kindness, authenticity is what it’s all about.







Dave Ansett, Brandamentalist
Lover of Brands with Heart.
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  1. Dave, awesome blog. Great reminder of inspiration all round. Firstly, being open to the shoe concept and secondly the needs of the kids…and then the big inspiration bringing the two thoughts together. Ripper idea.

  2. What a great act of kindness and what a smart brand acumen this fella has. Your point Dave about authenticity being the key to brands, and when it comes to random acts of kindness, authenticity is what it’s all about is so spot on.

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