Volunteering on a vacation in Argentina he learned that children without shoes cannot attend school. Turns out a lot of children in Argentina live in poverty and cannot afford shoes.
He wanted to help solve this problem and extended his stay in Argentina to explore a solution.
Sitting in the SHRM Annual Conference audience of 15,000 yesterday I listened as TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie talked about how he Started Something That Matters on the premise that a for-profit business can be built for the sole purpose of sustainable giving.
He acknowledged that giving feels good. He was also crystal clear in his assertion that giving is a strategy to build a very successful, profitable business. He shared the three keys that fuel the one to one model:
- Giving Drives Brand Ambassadorship. Customers want to join a movement and they will evangelize your cause. Focus on giving and incorporate customers into the giving. At TOMS giving is their marketing strategy. How can you involve customers in your worthwhile cause?
- Giving Drives Engagement. Employees have much higher levels of engagement because they incorporate giving into their work. They are proud to be doing work that makes a difference. His point was every organization should give opportunities for employees to serve – locally and together. After one year of employment at TOMS you go on a giving trip. Every two years you take a trip. How can you incorporate giving into your work culture?
- Giving Drives Partnership. Every business needs good partners. Giving helped TOMS attract great partners like Ralph Lauren and AT&T because they wanted to support the cause. AT&T actually made a commercial about Blake when they heard he was a customer, which was great for the TOMS brand but also demonstrated how AT&T technology is connecting people to make the world a better place. Win for both companies. Are there partnering opportunities around giving that make sense for your business?
TOMS has given away over 10,000,000 pairs of shoes. Business really can be a force for good. If you would like to learn more about Blake and his movement you can check out his new book Start Something That Matters.
This message was an incredible gift. I am heading out to buy my first pair of TOMS shoes.
Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.