A few years ago, my wife bought her first pair of TOMS shoes. At the time, it wasn't a purchase driven by philanthropic admiration of the company's famous "one-for-one" social mission. http://www.toms.com/beyond-one-for-one Instead, this initial purchase was influenced by comfort, style, and the opportunity to experience a new brand.

Today, my wife remains a happy TOMS customer (the half-dozen pairs of TOMS shoes in her closet serve as proof). But her relationship with the brand has changed.

Yes, her purchasing decisions still involve style and comfort. But her ardent support of the TOMS brand has much more to do with its karmic promise. Very simply, she feels inspired by and connected to the company's mission and vision—both of which make her more loyal and more likely to advocate on the brand's behalf.

The Business Benefits of Building a Respected Brand

There's one word that perfectly sums up my wife's relationship with TOMS: respect.

And, according to marketing researchers C. Whan Park, Deborah J. MacInnis, and Andreas B. Eisingerich, this one word (or feeling) can have enormous psychological influence over my wife's purchasing decisions. In their forthcoming book, Brand Admiration: Building a Business People Love, the authors argue that strong brand reverence has a direct impact on the following:

  • Credibility and influence: When people respect your brand, they're more likely to follow your lead and embrace your ideas. Apple (which was recently ranked the world's most respected company by the Wall Street Journal) is a hallmark example: When the company releases new products or voices its opinion, people listen.
  • Forgiveness for mistakes: Every company screws up, but revered brands overcome those mishaps much faster. Just ask Disney, which has faced plenty of controversy but remains one of the world's most respected and admired brands. Less-revered brands aren't given as much leeway.
  • Access to better partnerships and talent: When your brand is respected, other companies and top talent go out of their way to associate with you. Naturally, your brand can then be more selective, which only bolsters your brand's respect in the market: Salesforce, Google, and IBM are excellent examples.

Ultimately, all of those things can have a very tangible impact on a company's bottom line.

Let's look at TOMS. In just over a decade, the brand has provided more than 60 million pairs of shoes http://www.toms.com/blakes-bio to children around the world, yet it is still generating nearly $400 million in revenue. Those numbers might pale in comparison with those of giants like Nike and Adidas, but they're incredible figures for a smaller boutique brand. And it's hard to argue that the respect for the brand hasn't played a role in that growth.

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Josh Zywien is a content marketer who writes for MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well designed content.