Tuesday, July 30, 2013
TOMS Shoes has run into a branding problem as acquisitions are slung about the company taking a holier-than-thou position. Founder Blake Mycoskie vehemently denies these claims and states that "no matter, what your going to have haters." And further, "the bigger TOMS becomes, the louder they'll shout." Business experts want to categorize this simply as a business model decision but fail to realize that it extends deeper into the company landing straight on its brand strategy.
Whether Mycoskie intentionally developed the brand strategy or if it naturally occurred as a result of the distinct business model, one could only derive. The perception of holier-than-thou permeates throughout their marketing communication, experiential marketing activities and company culture. If you don't fit this image than be judged.
Don't get me wrong, Tom's is an amazing brand and one that will be around for a long time. The work they have done with the needy is highly commendable. Their shoes were a perfect innovative product at the time and now copied by others that lack the vision that Mycoskie embodied. But this type of branding niche has a down side if not carefully managed.
Will this ruin Tom's brand future.
By no means will this have a long-term effect on the brand unless they do not make a concerted effort to address the issue that has presented itself. A branding effort will need to be implement in a subtle way as to not bring attention to the issue anymore that has already been made public. The brand needs to get back to the core and focus on doing good while not over broadcasting this fact.
WCNGroup is a Strategic Marketing and Branding agency founded by Michael Newhouse. Services include brand identity, demographic discovery, marketing planning, business plan development, experiential campaign execution, digital marketing and social media.