One for One.

Public Relations has a bad reputation when it comes to ethical practice. PR practitioners are often thought to be liars, manipulators and spin-doctors. However PR is an evolving global profession and has had to change and improve in order to meet the growing expectations and needs of stakeholders.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability is now a specialist area of PR that is important to an organization in order for it to be perceived as being ethical.



Everyone is now familiar with ‘Toms,’ the shoe company, and their global endeavor of giving shoes to children in need in developing countries. This is ethical PR on a global scale and CSR at its best.

It is not just to a way to generate publicity which is often the perception of CSR initiatives – it’s more importantly, their business model.

‘Toms’ partners with humanitarian and non-profit organizations who are already established all over the world in countries such as Ethiopia, South Africa and Rwanda. They also help poor children in the USA and South America. These partners must match the certain criteria such as: repeat giving, high impact and large volume shipments.

By partnering with NGOs, ‘Toms’ associates themsevelves with other ethical organizations that address similar cultural and language barriers who are already established in these countries who know the customs, values and beliefs of the country.

Not only are ‘Toms’ socially responsible they also demonstrate transparency. They have all the press they have received available on their website. They have updated blog posts, pictures and video casts showing their work. This allows customers to see what was promised when they bought their shoes is actually happening, therefore encouraging a trusting relationship. They are truthful, transparent and socially responsible.

In order to have ethical PR on a global scale it is important for an organization to be truthful, transparent, accurate and socially responsible. It is also important to consider other factors such as culture, religion etc.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to One for One.

  1. Holly says:

    While reading this I thought about when I had first been introduced to the ‘Toms’ brand – what a great concept. In more recent years, I wonder if the shoes have become more of a fashion trend, “I want them because my friend has them,” more so than, “I want these because they donate to a good cause.”

  2. Kevin says:

    Well written blog. I agree this is a great PR strategy. There is not a lot of info on TOMS, a privately held company. They seem to have done $250 million in revenue, and given away 10 million pairs of shoes. I would guess the cost of giving away shoes is dominated by shipping/distribution (the shoes probably cost little to make). Let’s assume it costs $1.00 per pair. So TOMS is giving away 4% of its revenue.

    Imagine if, instead, the owner had taken the income and gave away the money to charity. Many millionaires do this. From the owner’s point of view, this is exactly the same charity, but with far less PR heft.

    The donations made by TOMS are, in reality, made by the shareholders of TOMS. They get far more PR out of giving away the shoes than they would just making a donation. Very clever.

  3. student says:

    I am a bad person if I don’t buy them because I think they’re ugly?? Clearly a lot of people don’t agree, but it will be interesting to see how the company evolves as fashion does.