The information here is constructed from points of views of writer and interviewed person.
Because of development in media, belief and human trends have been constantly changed and developed, and we have experienced uncountable variety of news, controversy, campaign and advertisement in each day. Those can powerfully influence their audiences to conceptualize particular information differently, based on medium where they get information. The mediums to receive particular information are undoubtedly various ranges because they can be email, website of official news agency, Facebook, Twitter and daily-life encountering. Each medium signifies meaning and causes people to feel differently toward given information, meaning that medium can shift the meaning of message. As mostly happened, the information of same political situation is portrayed variously in different official news agencies since such agencies prefer different political groups, driving them to report information either to support or to destroy the reputation. From this point, media may have manipulated people to perceive information in certain ways, generating many bias, conflicting opinions and ideas of audiences toward specific issue, which makes them unable to clearly define what is the truth of circumstance. By acknowledging this, I would like to refer to TOMS’s benevolent intention to create better society as TOMS ignites my curiosity to explore more about how media influences people’s perception toward its outstanding campaign — One for One. I thus seize this opportunity to discover the diverse truth of campaign by interviewing my friend who is studying in business school. Therefore, in the following paragraphs, I will illustrate what is One for One campaign, and its scope in creating social goods for greater society in neglected areas that will be followed with conflicting perceptions toward TOMS — how I recognize TOMS, and how other people perceive TOMS.
Many of us have recognized that TOMS has applied Cause Marketing method to create the campaign, called “One for One” that is highly attractive for various segments of consumers to participate in such campaign. The Cause marketing is to find what is the cause that your consumers care about, and to use it to drive them to purchase your products. With this information, we can then have better understand about One for One campaign of TOMS. To clarify, One for One is built on the familiar concept — buying one gets one — but instead of that we get the additional pair of shoes, TOMS gives it to neglected people who are in need. From this statement, the cause of people’s decision to buy TOMS’ products can be to help other people. Not only that, by recent visiting on TOMS website, my understanding toward this unique campaign is developed because at first, I only noticed that TOMS will only provide shoes when we buy shoes from TOMS, but now, the range of providing helps through our purchases at TOMs stores is extended. Based on the Toms, the ranges of giving supports to create social good, and to build greater society are included shoes, water, sights, safe birth and preventing bulling. (2017) Undoubtedly, each support is operated through different purchase of TOMS products. Specifically, in case of sight, every purchase of TOMS eyewear will provide treatment to patients according to their needs, while in case of water, each bag of TOMS Roasting Co. Coffee will give 140 liters of safe water to people in need. In addition, in case of safe birth, TOMS website states that
“TOMS Bags purchases support our Giving Partners in delivering the vital materials and training needed to help provide a safe birth regardless of the facility. For preventing bullying, TOMS High Road Backpack purchases help provide the training of school staff and crisis counselors to help prevent and respond to instances of bullying.” (2017)
As a result, by seeing such detail of campaign, many of us can be influenced to make purchase products from TOMS with intention to be a part of the creation of better society. With this information, it seems that TOMS is motivating consumers to buy many types of its products by indicating its intention to improve society. Unfortunately, people has debated for times about the impact that TOMS creates because some people notice the negative impact from the campaign, while some of them also conceptualize the result from TOMS positively. However, to me, I recognize TOMS in positive ways because I have consumed information, and news of TOMS, pointing out that TOMS has generated social impacts for large numbers of neglected people. Possibly, such conflicting perceptions of people are caused by the information in media since people consume, and use media channel to get certain information differently. What I want to mean here is that media becomes powerful tools to influence people’s belief, interpretation and belief toward particular issue. This information will be hereafter elucidated in the following paragraphs by starting with why I perceive One for One campaign of TOMS in positive way, which will be then followed with why my friend and other people recognize the campaign in negative way.
Firstly, because I am studying in the faculty, related to social entrepreneur and social enterprise, it is typical for me to daily encounter with the positive aspect of social enterprise and ordinary companies that have social intention because the people who surround me — such as, lecturers and friends — always share positive information of social enterprises throughout media. Undoubtedly, what I encountered from what they shared is also TOMS information since TOMS is being perceived as social enterprise that generates social good to consistently improve society through aforementioned campaign. For example, based on what I recently saw about TOMS from Across Two Worlds, it is written that
“The good news is that 95% of the kids in El Salvador had a favorable impression of the shoes, and they wore them heavily: 77% of the children wore them at least 3 days per week, and the most common response by children was wearing them every day.” (2017)
This is the example of what I encountered about TOMS from people in Facebook. Thus, to me, TOMS is a good company because it has created social goods for neglect people in remote areas. With this information, many people may realize the resemblance between my environments with the Bubble concept in term of media. The bubble concept is used to describe when people consume media to increase satisfaction by following and watching several types of information. This happens because technology works too well in media by constantly feeding consumers with what they like to consume — for instance, entertaining agenda. Consequently, people will be only surrounded with certain information, and with repetitive exposure to one side of information, people tend to construct belief and thought according to what they consume. From brief illustration of my environment, I can thus say that we always consume the positive side of social enterprises and other companies toward society in order to inspire, and motivate us to work consistently and effectively in this area. With that, we have acknowledged the organizations that we saw in news always create social impacts without generating negative impacts to other areas. Unfortunately, the truth itself has various dimensions, meaning that there is always negative aspect of most stories, including TOMS campaign as well. Hence, the next paragraph will demonstrate about negative sides of TOMS from asking my friend, who is directly experiencing profound information of various businesses as he is studying in business school.
Honestly, after noticing the positive aspects of TOMS for years, I was recently introduced to how information in media can influence people’s thought by making people misinterpret information. With this novel information, I then decided to interview my friends who are not familiar with the issue of social enterprises because I think that those people are possible to experience the opposite sides of TOMS. Ekkasit, one of my friend who is studying in business school, said that he knows that TOMS has unique business methods to earn revenues and reinvest it constantly, but it has been said to create damage to local business. He provides me two sources of information, pointing out unpleasant aspects of TOMS and I will attach the evidence hereafter. C.W. claims in The Economist that TOMS campaign can end up with attacking local markets, manufacturing shoes of certain areas, resulting in that the campaign potentially obstructs country to develop since there is no much money, flowing within countries. Not only that, from Racked, the author refers the negativity of TOMS by citing the statement of Davenports that “Davenport’s argument in her own words, “TOMS isn’t designed to build the economies of developing countries. It’s designed to make western consumers feel good.” (2017) To me, by reading above information, I thus think that I had been manipulated by information of TOMS in media to have only positive aspect toward TOMS. To clarify, I had believed that TOMS has generated social good without creating negative impacts to other people in society because I did not notice such negative aspect before. With this recognition, we can also say that social good that TOMS creates cannot become greater good as such doing generates unintended consequences to other people in the world.
From noticing above information, we can basically understand how media creator can manipulate audiences to make them misperceive the real story, and to construct certain belief toward particular issue. This also causes me to personally think that we cannot find absolute truth because in each situation, there would be people, perceiving different views. Especially, in the case of creating social good, it becomes extreme difficult to reach consensus to decide whether particular company is operating in appropriate way to really create social good or not because it is using media to shape the truth. What I need to say here is that it is depended on individual perspective to perceive whether it creates social goods or not. Specifically, in TOMS case, we can clearly see that TOMS uses media — official website, social media and public billboard — to spread One for One campaign with the intention to create social impact at large by gathering people to buy TOMS items. At the same time, in its official website, it only shows only how good the campaign is. Moreover, some media also reports positive impacts of TOMS that can powerfully make people notice that it is doing good for society, but such information tends to not reveal the whole story of its campaign. This can be said in term of media that media has power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. Fortunately, due to the fact that media reporters express various opinions toward TOMS campaign, the negative side of TOMs is hence portrayed in many articles. From this point, we can thus notice how I and other people are manipulated by media with bias released information to establish certain belief, and to have positive thought toward TOMS. In addition, in TOMS case, its potential consumers who always visit website to see new catalog of products can be influenced, and thus construct bias to defend TOMS, when it is attacked by public. This statement can be said in another word that because we constantly engage with particular side of story repetitively, we are risk to misinterpret the information, be manipulated to believe about something in certain ways, and have bias toward others’ different opinions. Therefore, the information in this article is to raise awareness that while we consume media, we should make sure that our emotion will not be exaggerated by media, which can be ensured by consuming information from different sources, especially citizen journalists, who always expose the truth of lying organizations. So that, we will have diverse points of views toward specific issue.
Across Two Worlds. (2017). The Impact of TOMS Shoes. [online] Available at: http://www.acrosstwoworlds.net/?p=292 [Accessed 4 Apr. 2017].
C.W (2017). Economist.com. (2017). [online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/10/economics-toms-shoes [Accessed 4 Apr. 2017].
Racked. (2017). TOMS Shoe Donations Might Not Be Doing Any Good. [online] Available at: http://www.racked.com/2015/7/27/9046207/toms-shoes-charity-poverty [Accessed 4 Apr. 2017].
Toms.com. (2017). Improving Lives | TOMS® Giving. [online] Available at: http://www.toms.com/improving-lives [Accessed 4 Apr. 2017].