We talked to TOMS Marketing Director to find out how the brand has won over Millennials by putting giving first, and what they’re planning next as purpose-driven brands multiply…
Millennial 20/20 London is next week, and we’ll be there to hear speakers from across industries—including TOMS, Airbnb, BuzzFeed, and Facebook—share their expertise on the future of commerce, and the young consumers shaping it.
Get 25% off your tickets to the May 3rd & 4th event by using the code YPULSE25 here!
When we ask Millennials what brand does the most good, TOMS is at the top of the ranking, without any close competition. TOMS has won Millennials over by turning a product into a movement, and positioning themselves as a mere “facilitator” of consumers’ own social good efforts. By rooting their mission and product so deeply in the idea of helping others, they’ve managed to eliminate guilt from purchasing while also fostering a community of like-minded consumers: if you’re wearing TOMS, you’re part of a club that cares about the world. It’s the Millennial one-two-punch: social good and a visible badge of honor, all under the umbrella of an everyday purchase.
TOMS’ EMEA Marketing Director Lisa Hogg will be at Millennial 20/20 London to talk about being a business that puts giving first. We asked her to share her insights on Millennial consumers, what TOMS has learned about the generation, and how they’re planning to stand out as more brands make giving a part of their appeal:
Ypulse: How would you describe the Millennial consumer? What attributes are most important to them?
Lisa Hogg: Millennial consumers are demanding of brands, as they look to align with brands on principles of their own. They expect honesty and authenticity. This is central to TOMS, we are much more than just a shoe company, existing to use business to improve lives of others. TOMS empowers our consumers to make a difference through an every day purchase and therefore TOMS is merely the facilitator between our consumers, Giving Partners, and the people on the receiving side of the give. We work together to make a difference and our consumers are a crucial part in that.
YP: What do you see as the most unique differences between Millennials and consumers from previous generations?
LH: From a communication standpoint, they use technology not as a separate means to access information but rather as an extension of themselves. The Millennial consumer is educated and aware, and the brands they support are those they can align themselves with personally—an extension of who they are and a means of telling their own story. They are, to a degree, luxury averse and will spend more on less and therefore as a brand you need to be more compelling and relevant than ever before.
YP: What has your brand done or changed specifically to better appeal to Millennials?
LH: The TOMS story naturally falls in line with Millennial values and therefore we haven’t had to change a lot to better appeal to them. It is, however, always important to continue equipping ourselves to better reach them. We’ve evolved our original grassroots approach fueled by innovation, connection, and heart, carefully extending that online, where they naturally are. As we have grown our retail footprint, it’s always been integral to us to create physical incarnations of this, building spaces that are much more like community posts rather than just a traditional transactional reality.
YP: How has your brand stood out from the competition to capture young consumers’ interest?
LH: This is a point which demands much of our attention lately. Giving has been our most powerful differentiator but now as other brands from all types of verticals are including ‘purpose’ in their communication channel selection, it makes it harder to use this as a pure differentiator. That said, authenticity really resonates with our consumers and therefore we may not need to change the script but rather just turn up the volume. TOMS is the first One for One company, and we already have a huge giving impact footprint. So we will develop how we extend the fact that we are a movement of like-minded individuals, and reinforce that TOMS is a community for them. By being a part of TOMS our consumers have the opportunity to truly make a difference through an everyday purchase.
YP: How is your brand preparing for the post-Millennial generation (Gen Z, Homeland, Plurals…)
LH: In the months and years ahead, innovation will be at the forefront of how we create relevance with the next generations; of course, this will be addressed through product as we see a marked difference between the Millennial and Gen Z appetite and taste, but the major innovation will be how we develop our giving strategies to engage and empower the consumer more, as well as how we can clearly articulate the impact we make together. We will continue to test and learn as the entrepreneurial brand we are to find new ways of reaching them, meaning we will never fall into a false sense of comfort with a media choice etc. Listening is also imperative to the road ahead—if we do that then TOMS will know exactly what our loyal consumers want from us and what we need to do to grow the movement.
Lisa Hogg, EMEA Marketing Director TOMS
Lisa Hogg is a South African born and raised, Amsterdam resident and Dutch National. Foremost, she’s a mom of two, followed by being a passionate, motivated and ambitious senior executive with a proven track record spanning all areas of marketing and brand communications. She has experience on both the agency and client side environments, proving herself as a natural innovator, skilled and experienced in the implementation of effective management strategies. Lisa recently joined the TOMS family as EMEA Marketing Director, hoping to utilize her vast experience to drive the social entrepreneurial efforts and the One for One mission further in EMEA to benefit those who TOMS aims to reach.
To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.