Posted by: viksav | May 20, 2017

The Power of Stories: Success of the TOMS Company and the cult of Conscious Consumerism

Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, has redefined social consumerism. His organization has donated seventy million pair of shoes, has helped 450,000 people in restoring their eyesight, has provided 400,000 weeks of safe water to the needy and extended support to other social causes around the world.

According to Ty Montague, Los Angeles social entrepreneur Mycoskie has been engaged in not just story telling but in story doing. TOMS is referred to as a “storydoing” company owing its success owing its success partly to what has been described as conscious consumers, who want to be involved in giving back to the society.

Often companies spend huge amounts of money in advertising to create brand awareness and recognition but storydoing companies rely on their consumers and employees to be their advertisers. Montague coined the word “Metastory”, a story told with action. He says that consumers are the biggest storytellers and company should strive to connect with a Metastory.

One for one shoes

Blake Mycoskie started TOMS in 2006 with a powerful story, support children in need, and with a radically different business model – “One-for-One”. Mycoskie’s model is based on a simple concept – provide a pair of brand new shoes to children in need for every pair of shoes sold. Mycoskie says that people who support TOMS are more than customers, they’re supporters. Mycoskie attributes the company’s meteoric rise to supporters’ belief in his story and their passion to be part of it.

One for one product and social cause expansion

TOMS extended their business model to sunglasses, coffee, bags and backpacks; with sale of every product TOMS helps one person in need. One for One! For each pair of sunglasses sold TOMS supports a person’s medical treatment for eyes (prescription glasses, &cataract surgery if needed). For each coffee bag sold TOMS supplies one week’s supply of safe water to a person in need and for bags/backpacks sold TOMS supports the giving partners in delivering gift of safe birth (for mothers in need) and gift of kindness (for young ones fighting bullying) 

FEED Projects, a company with commitment to feed the poor, is another great example with a similar business model to TOMS. Lauren Bush started FEED Projects in 2007 with a promise to feed 1 child for a year for each bag sold. FEED Projects and the foundation have donated more than 60 million school meals to children around the world.

Businesses that had not incorporated “giving back” in their strategy model joined the new age movement and embraced social responsibility. Figs Scrubs (donates a set of scrubs to health professionals in need for every set of scrubs sold), Two Degrees (donates a natural health bar to a hungry child for every one sold), One world Futbol (donates a soccer ball to disadvantaged communities for every soccer ball sold), Bobs By Skechers (donates a pair of shoes for every pair sold).

Businesses have realized that given a choice between two brands, consumers tend to support and want associate with the one that is committed to a social cause. Recent studies also revealed that businesses tend to retain or attract talented employees based on their commitment toward social responsibility.


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