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The Tiger Woods brand identity crisis

Tiger Woods will attempt to start repairing his brand image today.

Tiger Woods will attempt to start repairing his brand image today.

AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill, File

Today Tiger Woods is attempting to start the repair of his brand image. No one knows the state of his personal life and that is not relevant to this discussion. Tiger Woods is a man and athlete, but he is also a brand. His brand has been worth hundreds of millions of dollars for himself and his sponsors, so he should take a cue from other companies who have had to deal with negative press to learn how to revitalize his image.

Be the first to tell your story. Unfortunately, Tiger didn't do this and chose to remain quiet for several days. By not speaking out immediately, he let other people determine how the story would play out. To stay in command of your personal brand image or your company's image, you need to put your version out to the media as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the vacuum created will be filled by speculation and your silence will appear as guilt or lack of concern.

Be contrite. Whether the "transgression" was personal as was Tiger's, a product design flaw as in Toyota's current situation, or something out of your control like the Tylenol contamination in the 1980s, take full responsibility for the issue, show deep remorse, and tell the public how you will fix the problem. We are a forgiving society, and we are very generous about giving second chances, IF the person or company in question appears honest in asking forgiveness and makes a genuine attempt at redemption.

Introduce a new and improved product. No one doubts Tiger's amazing abilities in golf. He has always been driven, intense, and focused. The question now is whether or not he can remain as focused the next time he plays in front of a possibly-jaded crowd. If he is heckled, how will he deal with it? The sure way to really prove his brand worth is to play well, stay in control, and win. Other companies, such as McDonald's, can show Tiger the way to remain a top brand after bad press. When the movie "Super Size Me" debuted, McDonald's revamped its menu by taking all Super Size offerings away, developed healthier options, and now promotes itself as healthful option for fast food. McDonald's brought out new and improved items, and if Tiger can show that he has improved as a human being and can remain disciplined, he will win in the end.


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  • Joe 5 years ago

    Tiger has a bad case of NPD

    Someone with Narcissistic Personality disorder (NPD) has at least 5 of these symptoms:

    has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

    requires excessive admiration

    has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
    is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

  • John Antonios 5 years ago

    thank you for bringing out the learning for the Tiger Woods story Debi - I'm glad someone did. The points you tackled for avoiding negative PR are spot on. I specially like the part where you address filling the void, before someone else does. Taking responsibility is the key to managing the reputation of a brand!

  • Romona Paden 5 years ago

    Nice insights...I referenced it in my story as Business Commentary Examiner. Keep up the good work!

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