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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