Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TOMS BLOG – Barbara Titus

Uses and Gratifications

In order to keep TOMS supporters constantly informed, the people behind the company created a blog that they update almost daily. A group of individuals known as “Vagabonds” travel around the country spreading the “One for One” mission of TOMS. Their Facebook page gives the following description: “TOMS Vagabonds travel the country and host events on high school and college campuses. They live life on the road while sharing their aspirations with people from all over the US. Every day they know what it feels like to make a difference in the world around them as they share the TOMS story.”

The Vagabonds are split up into different teams in order to cover all regions of the US. Each team travels across their assigned region, sharing the story of TOMS “One for One” mission through various events held directly on the school campuses. They travel with a van full of shoes for their event “Style Your Sole”, where you can purchase and decorate a pair of TOMS shoes. Each team posts on the blog almost daily, letting TOMS followers and supporters know what’s going on. They post everything from stories and photos to home videos they created while on the road.

TOMS’ use of a blog illustrates the Uses & Gratifications Public Relations and Mass Communication model because it allows people to stay informed while actively using their preferred media type, which in this case happens to be blogging. Blogging is constantly becoming more popular, making it a great way to target the specific stakeholder group of youth. Since TOMS was founded by a younger generation it easily sparks the interest of youth, making it important for TOMS to keep those stakeholders informed and updated in order to continue to hold their interest. The youth are a major stakeholder for TOMS because they will soon be successful and able to use their success to support and contribute to the “One for One” mission.

The Vagabonds blog is public relations oriented because it is a quick, simple and effective way to reach the public through the media they prefer. Creating a blog allows those members of the public who are constantly online to take five minutes and read TOMS updates without ever leaving their workspace. It allows students who are typing papers or researching online to conveniently stay informed without getting up from their computer. Since the Internet is accessible from anywhere in the world with modern technology, stakeholders can access TOMS’ blog from anywhere they are, at any time of the day or night. The Public Relations department of TOMS is targeting the young, hip, excited and active stakeholder through this Vagabonds blog.

Click here to go to the Vagabonds' blog:

The Vagabonds also publish YouTube videos of their recent travels, here is one from their visit to the Northwest:

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