Wednesday 24 February 2010

The Tiger Woods story is tale about a brand in terminal decline

Some commentators have said about Tiger Woods "He has more money than most people; he can do whatever he wants to do" and, of course, up to a point that’s true. But he can't buy happiness, or respect. However rich he is and no matter how much he pays for the best spin doctors the world now knows that Tiger is not just NOT a role model - but that he is a terminally damaged brand.

It is naive to say, as some have, that “This is a personal issue between Tiger and his wife and no else." Tiger is one of the two or three most famous people in the world. He ONLY has a life in the public domain - that comes with celebrity. Such fame brings enormous wealth creating opportunities and Tiger has milked them to the full. But the sponsors are not paying for Tiger the golfing genius - they are paying for Tiger the icon. Tiger the brand. Tiger's infidelity was inconsistent with the brand values implicit in the icon and not what the sponsors wanted – so they have walked away.

Tiger couldn’t have it both ways. Either he was just a golfer eschewing all the money making iconography – or he exploited his identity and his brand to the full. He chose the latter course which brought with it the obligation not to tarnish the brand. He has comprehensibly failed in this. Failed his sponsors, failed the game of golf and failed his family. No amount of spin doctoring can disguise all this! And the brand is damaged beyond repair.

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