I’ve written before about how important spotting trends and taking action can be to growing your brand. But once your brand has grown from zero to hero on the back of a trend, what do you do now?
The thing about trends is that once they take off, only one of two things can happen after that. They either a) evolve into something else or b) die out all together.
The trick is finding a way to evolve the brand to extend its relevance to consumers beyond the trend that pushed it to the top.
The shoe companies Crocs and Heely’s are two examples of brands that took off on trends but haven’t since been able to extend much relevance to their lines. Despite crude attempts by both brands to inject new life into their products with line extensions such as Crocs high heels and Heely’s without wheels. It seems the only direction for both brands down, where the trends that took them to the top will be laid to rest.
TOMS Shoes is a company that is in a clear search for ways to extend their current relevance beyond the trend brought them success.
I’m a fan of TOMS Shoes and have even talked about them here a few times before. Their path to success stems from their promise to the world which states,
For every pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need.
This philanthropic attitude, along with the unique design of their shoes sparked a trend that put their shoes on the feet of celebs such as Scarlett Johansson, Brittany Snow, Brittany Murphy, Tobey Maguire and Lindsay Lohan, and had them featured on Oprah and in magazines like GQ and Vogue. TOMS in some ways have become Livestrong bracelet of 2008!
But I think TOMS realizes that favor from the PR gods can only get you so far. If they want to retain the relevance they have with consumers they must evolve, or just like the Livestrong bracelets they will become a passing fad.
In the last few months TOMS has introduced some new products and tweaks to old products, all in an effort to extend their product offerings into the future.
TOMS Boot Wraps are their newest additions and make quite a fashion statement.
TOMS shirts, hats and canvas bags are nothing new to the line, but the collection seems to keep growing. One of the challenges for the brand will be to grow their offerings without watering down their founding promise with unrelated products.
Can TOMS Shoes extend their brand beyond a trend?
And what should they do to maintain their relevance with their fans?