Andy Shearer works for a company that is so much more than its products. In the past couple years, KEEN Footwear has donated its entire annual marketing budget to a good cause, given employees time off to volunteer, and purchased their own manufacturing plants to control the working conditions up and down the manufacturing process. Watch this short clip to learn how Andy and his team are turning “doing what’s right” into the stories they tell job seekers.
And then check out our full interview here.
Joe: what is what is your commitment and what is your plan to to help build the KEEN Footwear brand?
Andy: Yeah, oh, you know, it’s a big challenge to do this for a few different reasons. One is as you mentioned we don’t have the natural recognition, there’s people out there that have never heard of KEEN Footwear before which gives me a chance to tell that story, you know, and to bring people into the light.
As a brand we’ve also gone through a fair amount of change in the last few years and through that change I think that there’s been, I think unfortunately it’s affected our employment brand. I feel really quite confident, we’ve got a new general manager that’s been in place for about a year and a half now and he’s built a really strong team around him and there’s a good sense that a lot of that change is behind us and that now we’ve got a strong platform to move forward with.
And so that is something, I am using that opportunity as I transition through the organization to now try and tell that story more effectively. As a brand KEEN we do so many good things but we don’t necessarily shout it from the mountain tops. So many of the stories that we have they exist in internal folklore here within the walls of this building. And so part of my job I think is trying to actually get that story out through whatever means I can get it out.
Just to give you an idea of some of the things, KEEN, we are 15 years old. In our second year of operating as an organization we were getting ready to go out and spend a lot of money with marketing and the asian tsunami swept through southeast Asia around Christmas period. So KEEN decided they would take their whole marketing budget and dedicate that or donate that to the relief efforts of the tsunami.
And so for a brand in their second year to go quite for a whole year basically that’s courageous and I think that speaks to the values the company has. And we’ve gone on, millions of dollars a year, we give to various community groups that feel the same way about things. And the big thing we are working with is the environment so protecting national parks, public lands, monuments and those sort of places especially in the last couple years. Really trying to protect those spaces, tidy up our supply chain, and then also build a really strong product ecosystem where we own our own factories so that we can control the labor conditions in that factory.
A lot of these things are more costly to do but they are the right thing to do. And these are the stories that especially now I thin that candidates are looking for that moral leadership, they are looking for organizations with a conscious.
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