Recently I came across the latest issue of Inc. and was inspired to read about the founder of Toms, Blake Mycoskie, and his plans for the popular philanthropic brand since he started the company 10 years ago. As a marketer, millennial, and owner of Toms products, I certainly fit the mold of the target demographic that feels the need to purchase morally driven products and was curious to learn more.
As a marketer who has access to powerful PR analytics software, I also became curious about how well Toms' marketing and messaging is working to convey their core business values. I know, I'm a nerd.
So we created a Toms interactive PR report and below are my big takeaways after diving into the vast media landscape data and getting a small glimpse into Toms' brand positioning.
1). Giving Is At The Root
When you read about Toms in the press, it's almost guaranteed you will notice a theme that revolves around giving or charity. In fact, giving is the brand's top performing key message that is driving more brand awareness. Not a surprising discovery since giving is aligned with the brands one-for-one business model and culture.
As marketers or communication professionals we have to remember there is a reason why it's called earned media. Journalists and writers are obliged to report facts and observations, not marketing materials. It's reassuring to view the validation and get greater context for each placement of the giving theme.
2). Shoes Are Major Driving Force
The media appears to think that Toms is a shoe company, and while they aren't entirely wrong, they aren't right either. Shoes are certainly a driving force to the companies success, but the brand is evolving into much more and adding a more diverse one-for-one product lineup.
Consumers can now purchase eyewear, bags, and coffee that will help different causes or those in need. Eyewear purchases help give sight to a person in need. Money for bags helps provide a safe birth for a mother and baby in need. Every coffee product helps provide safe water to a person in need.
The philanthropic brand may need to focus more time and effort to educate the media so that more great causes and products can steal some of the limelight away from shoes.
3). Diverse Consumer & Professional Fan Bases
When you're a B2C based company, it's easy to focus simply on your consumers, but Toms has a couple of target demographics. On Facebook, the brand has a strong consumer fan base that shares content related to products or listicles that share top products based on style, price, or comfort.
Toms has also pioneered a business model that others are studying and learning. Across LinkedIn, more educational or inspirational articles are shared based on the companies secrets to success, culture, business model, social entrepreneurship and more. If imitation is the ultimate form of flattery, then TOMs has a lot of people wanting to learn more from them and create similar businesses with products of their own.
It's a unique opportunity to have the influence Toms shares with professionals and consumers. Increasing focus in both these areas can help the marketing team boost greater influence and consideration as they continue to scale.
Take a deeper dive into the data and check out more great insight into the Toms brand positioning by viewing the full PR interactive report here.