TOMS Rebrands in Next Giant Step for Good

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TOMS Shoes is ready to kick off the “Shoes” in its brand identity, rebranding with a campaign (which we previewed in March) dubbed “What’s Your Next Chapter?” that will be unveiled in a series of events with its partners across the US tomorrow.

The company, founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006, changed the game of social activism with its “one for one” business model — a pair of shoes is donated for every pair purchased. TOMS quickly made its bandage-style shoes ubiquitous, and proved it’s possible to be profitable while impacting the lives of those less fortunate.

More than 1 million pairs of shoes distributed in over 20 countries later, TOMS has proven that social media is the lightning rod for digital activism be it on Facebook, Twitter, guerilla marketing or blogging. Now, Mycoskie is ready to expand beyond TOMS beyond shoes, taking “One for One” to the next level.[more]

TOMS created a dialogue with consumers that led to a cause-related marketing campaign, One Day Without Shoes. The annual event saw major brands such as AOL and Google, as well as celebrities such as Charlize Theron, all kicking off their shoes on April 5th to raise awareness for the plight of those TOMS seeks to help. 

Mycoskie will reveal TOMS’ next chapter during a live event tomorrow, at 1:00 PST, on the brand’s Facebook page, which states: “Starting June 7th, TOMS is no longer just a shoe company. We’re the One for One company. Which means every time you buy something from TOMS, together we help a person in need. We started with shoes, and we’re about to take the next step to help meet even more needs around the world.”

Preparing for the rebranding, TOMS has sent tubes (called the TOMS Mystery Box) to more than 90 partners nationwide, ranging from big retailers such as Nordstrom to small independent shops such as Hansen Surfboards in Encinitas, CA. None of them, publicly at least, know what’s inside, and will participate in the capsule opening in tandem with Mycoskie’s Facebook reveal.

Each capsule is labeled “For a better good,” and arrived with instructions to keep it sealed until a Toms Shoes representative arrives with the key to unlock it. 

TOMS fans have been playing a guessing game of “What’s in the TOMS box,” with guesses including “water filter,” “computer of some sort,” “camping gear,” and “I think it’s related to oral care, but not a giant toothbrush.”

Mycoskie has already revealed that “One for One” is being personalized with the challenge to fans of the brand: “What’s Your Next Chapter?”

Indeed, a new endorsement from Ben Affleck states that his “One for One” is to benefit the Eastern Congo Initiative, the non-profit organization he founded with GlobalGiving’s support:

Perhaps the greater living legacy of TOMS is how it’s inspiring other brands to share the wealth, creating a business model for 21st century social ventures such as Two Degrees, a nutrition bar company that will donate one nutrition pack to kids for every bar sold to consumers, recently started by Lauren Walters and Will Hauser.

When the two friends, both physicians’ sons, “learned that the protocol for treating malnutrition is a simple, 500-calorie nutrition pack,” they were inspired by TOMS’ success to make philanthropy the cornerstone of their brand’s business model. “We started this to give people very simple opportunities to make a difference,” says Hauser. “To see that actually happening is really satisfying.”  

From humble beginnings, Two Degrees bars will be available in Whole Foods Markets (which also carries TOMS) nationwide next month, and the founders forecast sales of more than 5 million bars annually by the end of 2011

TOMS has intermediated ‘business as usual,’ setting the bar higher in a world in need of business that makes activism for social good the new ROI.

Now: what’s in the tube?! Update: click here for the answer.

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