The trouble with Tiger

Tiger-WoodsThe recent revelations of Tiger’s shenanigans have revealed a side of his brand persona that is a far cry from the one that has taken shape organically since he turned pro in 1996, the quintessentially American success story that won him the endorsements of many. His perceived image of strength, precision, and sportsmanship has earned multi-millions—through paid corporate sponsorships (with Gillette, Gatorade, and Nike, among many others) and private donations for his foundation. So the question is, how does Tiger’s not-so-stellar performance off the links tarnish his brand value now? The truth is that we will not know the true fall out until “his” whole story is out. But what we do know is that there is a lot at stake for everyone associated with the Woods camp, so initially there’s a strong incentive to keep the billion-dollar machine going. From that vantage point, throwing hush money—allegedly, millions are on offer to get various lovers to disappear and the beleaguered wife to stand by her man—to get back on course, fast, makes perfect cents.

In the end, a sponsor like Cadillac may think twice before sidling up to Tiger to launch the next über-mini van, and Accenture might steer clear of any ad concepts embodying the golf legend as a beacon of trust. Interestingly, however, Tiger never actively espoused the values associated with a family man. It’s more that people assumed they became part of his brand story when he married and had children. And some of us may also be assuming that Tiger is humbled to some degree and now mulling over the holes in his story. But then, you know what they say about assumptions.

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