Millennials: Just Be-Cause

One of the most cherished Millennial values is ‘making a difference’. This makes cause marketing a natural choice for many Millennial marketers. Tom’s Shoes has leveraged both cause marketing and community-building so naturally, it looks effortless. In case you missed it in an earlier post, Tom’s promises to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need somewhere in the world for every pair of shoes it sell. Talk about effortless, it’s consumerism as altruism. Hey we all need shoes, right? The shoes are well-made and there are endless variations on the basic design. The Toms web site invites you to ‘get involved’ by joining a ‘shoe drop’ or simply joining the mailing list. In between these two options is a smart take on community-building / viral marketing / customization (yes, all three in one) called ‘Style Your Sole’.

Style Your Sole…is a great time for you and your friends to get together, express yourself through your own designs and support a good cause. Whether it is the theme of your party or a community building activity, you and your friends are putting shoes on children’s feet somewhere around the world. Wear your originally designed TOMS and tell the story!

To see what looks like the coolest Tom’ Shoe party ever, just watch the video. How do I get to a party like that?!

In contrast, the site makes it hard to ‘make a difference’, other than by donating money. I have seen the splashy (but vague) commercials and print ads (full spread in the latest Fast Company) and wondered what it was all about. I am still wondering. It takes a lot of effort to figure out what you can do to support ‘solving the climate crisis’ (do they mean global warming?). And there is precious little to engage my attention. I clicked through to the Facebook application, which seems to be all about getting my friends to join. Oh, and I can earn points that cause someone else to donate money. Interestingly, the top points earners seem to be pretty low. I already have 112 points for joining and other than the top three, no one has gathered more than 500 points. Mmmm, Tom’s, I prefer to Style My Soul with you. I’d bet your viral efforts will do more to attract Millennials than Wecansolveit’s flashy ads. For another take on Toms and social responsibility, see the Retail Hits & Misses Blog