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October 20
Hot Topic: Corporate Social Responsibility

Murray_275_blog102017.jpgWith corporate social responsibility (CSR) increasingly on the minds of both consumers and brand owners, the International Trademark Association’s October 15 issue of the INTA Bulletin features an interview with Jessica Murray, Director of Intellectual Property and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at TOMS Shoes, Inc. The wide-ranging interview includes insight into TOMS’ well-known CSR program, which began with its “One for One” shoe program, and her role in INTA’s upcoming Brand Authenticity conference in Berlin, which she hopes will “reshape the way we look at our brands and CSR programs around the world.”  

Here are some excerpts:  

  • “TOMS is really about improving the lives of others through business. Today, our program is far more than shoe giving: we give water, sight [via prescription glasses or medical treatment], bullying prevention training, and safe birth training in over 70 countries. The program is rooted in this idea that we really need to push ourselves to do more to improve life through business and push others to do the same.”
  • “Today, a brand is asked to be more than just a logo or its intellectual property; a brand must define itself as an organization, and CSR initiatives become the heart and soul of this definition. TOMS’ social impact is part of its mission statement, but most companies today are being asked by consumers to acknowledge their social and environmental impact, putting a lens on the authenticity of the brand.”
  • “We want to reshape the way we look at our brands and CSR programs across the world with this [Brand Authenticity] conference … It’s going to be a unique and exciting program, but we wanted to do it in a way that is understandable to people who aren’t used to these cross-functions … We want small firms, brand owners, vendors, and whoever attends to take a more holistic view of authenticity.” 
  • “Brand owners [should attend this conference], but it’s not just for this group—law firms can bring back education to firms and clients, vendors can understand more about the challenges brand owners face and how to find solutions to them. There are attendees joining us who are experts, even pioneers in this field, while others are just starting to navigate these difficult questions. I see it as an olive branch in an effort to form a larger network to support each other as we push to find answers to these evolving brand authenticity questions.”

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