Shoes Off to Innovative Cause Marketing

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*image source Flickr.com/photos/jmogle/

Few consumer brands are as synonymous with charitable donations as TOMS shoes. With their one-for-one movement efforts that donate a pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchase, and their annual One Day Without Shoes efforts, they’re setting the bar high for others in the industry that seek to strike a balance between consumer goods and non-profit efforts.  It’s all too common to find unaware consumers buying goods like pink appliances, only later to find that the purchase contributes only a small fraction of the proceeds to charities like breast cancer research. In this post, I’ll focus on the outcomes of TOMS shoes’ efforts to push for positive change.

One Day Without Shoes

On April 5th, TOMS sponsors One Day Without Shoes, an initiative that encourages people to go barefoot for one day as a conversation starter about poverty across the world and what that means for the health of children in impoverished nations.

Non-profits and consumer brands doing cause marketing should take note of this well-crafted tool kit and the super-cool vwalls which encourage customers to share their experiences on the site homepage. I dig the fact that this initiative is as much about walking the walk as it is about educating and starting conversations about global poverty. Additionally the company takes strides for transparency in their donation efforts with a public giving report you can download from the website.

If you take a look at the daily attention and reach metrics below, the One Day Without Shoes was a hit online, garnering toms.com nearly twice the attention and audience they typically get. Additionally, the *social media uploads to the vwall and all the other link sharing seemed to attract a lot of attention and reach for the onedaywithoutshoes.com domain.

daily reach and attention for toms

daily reach and attention onedaywithoutshoes

*Social Sharing is a huge component to having participants feel like they’re part of the One Day Without Shoes Movement. If you take a look at the destination sites for April you’ll see that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn are among the top sites people leave to after visiting the OneDayWithoutShoes.com.

TOMS.com was also a big winner of destination traffic from the onedaywithoutshoes.com domain. It stands to reason that a portion of the 17.16% that navigated to TOMS.com made shoe purchases in correspondence with the event.

destination traffic for onedaywithoutshoes

With the investment in vwalls, we also see a strong destination share of individuals leaving to YouTube.com, indicating that featuring the efforts of engaged individuals sharing their own content for the cause is an affective technique. Social media wasn’t the only winner of attention; if you see below, vwalls.com garnered a lot of attention the day of the even, likely because of social sharers interested in this flashy new technology.

daily reach and attention for vwalls

So I’m sure many of you are thinking, “giving shoes, that’s great,” but recently we found out that TOMS shoes doesn’t just stop there. They recently announced a new initiative to give sight by launching an eyewear line. In the graph below, you’ll notice the bump in traffic on June 7th and June 8th likely corresponding to a significant amount of social promotion, check out the realtime results for yourself.

daily reach and attention for toms - 2

All in all, brands that can attach themselves to a worthy cause stand to gain a lot in the loyalty and engagement of individuals that use their purchase power to perpetuate positive change. Trust we’ll all be watching closely to see what the next one-for-one initiative will be.

About Lindsey Mark:
Lindsey Mark works in Client Relations at Compete and is responsible for the strategic development of client retention and support policies for compete.com, with a focus on education and training efforts. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY so she's a certified technology junkie and open source advocate. When she's not thinking about marketing or training digital 007's at compete, she's doing yoga & blogging about gluten-free diet and lifestyle. Find Lindsey on Twitter as @linji, Google Plus as Lindsey Mark or connect with her via LinkedIn.