Saturday, August 7, 2010

one for one

In my world, hippies are people who don't eat gluten. People who see a mountain and want to climb it. People who prefer cloth diapers and like to eat cliff bars. Hippies carry nalgene bottles and stay away from caffeine and drink green tea.

There's nothing particularly wrong with any of these characteristics. It's just that I can't see myself doing any of them. It wouldn't be me.

So you may be surprised that I'm giving a public service announcement for TOMS shoes. With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for one. Many children in developing countries don't have a single pair of shoes. But apart from the burning fashionista hidden deep within all of us, I didn't understand why a growing up with a barefoot childhood was all that terrible. That is, until this one for one movement alerted me to soil-transmitted diseases and dangerous infections from cuts and wounds that happen every day in these developing countries.

In April 2010, over 250,000 people took part in one day without shoes, to create awareness for this cause. Next April, I intend to participate. And let's be honest, what could be more hippie than to walk around without shoes?

I say all this in part to get the word out. But in all honesty, I'm really writing as a testimony to a powerful communication strategy. 24 hours ago, I didn't know there was a problem. Today, I'm having a hard time getting to sleep because I'm thinking about kids in Argentina who are not allowed to go to school because they have no shoes.

The genius of Blake Mycoskie's leadership of TOMS is simplicity:

The buyer becomes the giver.

When I buy a pair of shoes, then someone else gets a pair of shoes. It's one for one.

Now, he has a creative marketing team, so there are plenty of ways to get involved. I could participate in OneDayWithoutShoes. I could host a shoe awareness party. I could share a YouTube video or follow TOMS on Twitter. All of these actions are simple. Clear. Straightforward. And most importantly, they undergird the main point, namely to buy a pair of TOMS shoes.

A clearly defined mission statement
A vision for the future
And the passion to rally others for the cause

Well done, Blake, well done.


Paul said...

So, what are you saying? I'm a hippie?

Unknown said...

Hmm....perhaps my definition is too broad then. But compared to me, yes you are. You are the hippiest engineer I know.

I'm eating granola as I type this.

Anonymous said...

wow. so it's all TOMS shoes? no specially marked box or something?


Judi-CAJ said...

But they are basically ugly, have no arch support and are overpriced. This does not sound like you. It is important to wear a cute shoe.