Today, I want to take a look at a company that teaches us an important lesson about how we can improve our marketing efforts and create more buzz for our products and services. The lesson is about the combination of charity and marketing.
The best example of this is the shoe company TOMS…
TOMS is a shoe company that gives a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased from them. And they became a huge success story. They have accrued 38,000 Twitter followers and 17,000 Facebook fans. It’s also estimated that they gave away 1,000,000 shoes from 2006-2010 and sold equally as many. This adds up to a significant financial benefit even accounting for the donated shoes.
TOMS was created around the idea of incorporating charity into their business plan. For every pair of TOMS shoes that is purchased, another is made and provided to someone in need. That was always the plan. This is the philanthropic promise that their company is built around. It’s their charitable mission and it really drives their success. They don’t design the newest styles of shoes with the highest quality materials. They make very basic cloth shoes, but it is what the shoe represents that makes them attractive to consumers.
People love to buy from companies that are doing good in the world. We see in many companies that “doing good” does a lot of good for the bottom line as well. The business model TOMS uses is commonly referred to as the “Buy One, Give One” (B1G1) model. Another company who uses this is Warby Parker, which does the same thing with corrective eye-glasses and sunglasses. These companies have received wide popularity, because of their philanthropic approach, tying their business to a specific social cause.
Consumers find this attractive for three reasons:
1.) It makes them feel like their purchase is making a difference in someone’s life or improving society in some way.
2.) It allows people to promote social issues and causes simply by wearing a pair of shoes or glasses.
3.) It is a simple way to make a difference and support social causes by buying things you need anyway.
Every small business can benefit from the idea of marrying business with charity. It is great press for your company and will attract organic interest in your company. Maybe you aren’t a B1G1 business, but you can still tie your company to a specific cause. You could get involved with a global cause by giving a percentage of your revenue to something like cancer research. You can also find a cause that is somehow related to your industry to create a cohesive narrative between your charitable and business efforts. For example, a plumbing company can find an organization who works to build wells in third-world countries. Customers hire them to keep their water clean and safe, and at the same time help the less fortunate get clean water as well.
So look at your mission as a company, and see if there is a way your company can join with a social cause. You can help improve the world, while also improving your business!
What do you think about charitable and socially-minded businesses? Are you more likely to buy from a company if your purchase is doing some good in the world? Let’s discuss in the comments below…
Do good and grow,