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Tiger Woods Crashing a $1 Billion Reputation With His Silence?




In the absence of an official statement, your stakeholders will fill the void with rumor and speculation.

I’ve preached that enough times, you’d think that even Tiger Woods would have heard about it.

Apparently not:

Which is leading to this:

With rumors like that, you’d think that Woods would be grabbing the nearest TV camera and setting the record straight. Now, you might argue that Woods deserves his privacy–just like any other individual. The problem is, Tiger Woods is not just a person, he’s a $1 billion brand.

Yes, a brand.

Look, I’m not denying his right to privacy, but if he wants to continue being the face of Nike, Buick, Accenture, and such, he needs to come forward pretty soon and put the gossipers in their place.

Assuming that he can.

Who knows why Woods is keeping quiet. He does naturally appear to be less extravagant than most sports stars–more reserved–but he still needs to explain how he managed to drive into tree without any apparent mitigating circumstances. He owes his fans, the media, and his sponsors an explanation.

Yes, he does!

They invested their time, their money, their emotional commitment to Woods. He sold them a brand and now he’s not living up to it. Just like any other “product” its customers deserve to know why it’s not “working” the way it has for the past decade or more.

Cold? Sure! And Woods can continue to hold onto his privacy if he so chooses–as Bobby Brown would say, that’s his “perogative!” But, at some point he needs to decide what’s more important, Tiger Woods the person, or Tiger Woods the brand.

Because Tiger Woods the brand is in a lot of trouble at this point.

Update: I’ve decided not to continue following this story via new posts. My goal is to help others learn, not tear down Tiger Woods. That said, there are two important updates to share:

1. This cell phone voicemail supposedly left by Tiger Woods.

2. This statement issued by Woods.

  • http://www.jasonfpeck.com Jason Peck

    His brand will be fine. Most major stars have had worse problems than this (look at Michael Jordan and gambling and his many, many affairs). This will barely make a scratch on his reputation once all the dust has settled.
    .-= Jason Peck´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving! =-.

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Assuming is just “blows over.”

      Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there’s no fire extinguisher, there’s a reputation burning! ;-)

      • Jon

        his brand will be just fine. What a cheesy line: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there’s no fire extinguisher, there’s a reputation burning!” This won’t scare anyone away. Take Micheal Jordan as the example, he has had tons of this kind of negative press, from gambling to infidelity and he had never had fallout.

        Once Tiger gets back on the golf course and wins a major no one will even remember this.

        • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

          I’m fully of “cheesy” lines like that–you may not want to stick around. :-P

  • http://www.SocialMediaCommando.com Social Media Commando

    I disagree with Jason.

    If Tiger loses as much as 1 sponsor from this incident, is his brand really ‘fine’?

    Furthermore, his career pitching for carmakers is most likely over (amazing foresight by GM to end their Buick sponsorship deal with him early?)…
    .-= Social Media Commando´s last blog ..tweet =-.

  • http://mightybrand.com/blog Ryan Waggoner

    I’m enjoying watching the social media bloggers pile onto this one. Slow day for stories that can somehow be tied into social media? :)

    Tiger’s brand will be just fine. He’s arguably one of the greatest athletes of all time, and that won’t change because he hit a fire hydrant. I don’t know what happened, I don’t really care, and I doubt most other people do either.

    Oh, and one more thing…he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. This makes no sense:

    “He sold them a brand and now he’s not living up to it.”

    The brand he sold them was “world’s best golfer”, not “upstanding family man who never makes mistakes and discloses every mistake to the media”.

    This whole connection is a real stretch. Let’s talk about something meaningful and important.

    Full disclosure: I hate golf :)

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      You probably think that Steve Jobs’ health has nothing to do with Apple’s stock price either. :-P

      But, you are right–it is a slow news day. ;-)

    • Paul Carter

      I think Ryan hit the nail on the head. If his sponsors have questions they can call his agent. Tiger or any other celebrity for that matter owes the public nothing! We are not entitled to the comings and goings in there life. The public does not posess any rights to the lives of those we “follow”.

      Tiger Woods is famous for being a great golfer period. He is not some TV evangelist or Politician out there preaching family values. From a fan’s perspective the questions that should be answered are when will he play again and possibly the extent of his injuries.

      I say it is the media that has sold the public this “bill of rights” crap about our “right” to know about the private lives of celebrities. The media believes that they should have unfettered access to anyone that stumbles into the spotlight and they are quite vocal when someone seeks not to share all the juicy details of what every other American would consider to be their private lives.

      Perhaps the media should take some of this time and energy and put it towards developing stories that mean something. Leave the gossip to the Enquirer and take the reigns of gathering and reporting stories worth being told.

      • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

        There’s a difference between having the right to privacy–which I’m all for–and the fall out that comes from being quiet on the subject. Tiger is entitled to his privacy, but he should know that it will likely come at a price.

  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    Tiger has done some damage to his brand. The level of damage is the big TBD to this point.

    In his past there has been virtually no ‘self generated’ controversy and he has created a persona of almost being above the fray. Now he’s not. Unfortunately, whether the affair is real or not will not be as critical to the court of public opinion as it should be. He is now under suspicion of wrong doing so there is a little shine taken off the perfection.

    All in all though, I suspect Tiger will be fine financially. What’s a few million amongst billionaires?

    @Ryan – Since you hate golf you have likely missed Tiger’s push into family man persona territory. When recuperating from his knee surgery that was the best result of his golf inactivity according to how he had the press report it so the upstanding family man is part of his deal since it can actually make him more human than just a golf robot.

    Lastly, unfortunately to most this is actually important and meaningful so it is what it is.
    .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..Happy Frank’s-giving! =-.

  • http://linkmoney.org Link Money

    Man I wish people would take a picture of me standing within touching distance of a pretty blonde and have my throng of followers become upset.

    No matter how this shakes out I love the image of his wife duffing out the back window with one of his thousand dollar golf clubs!

    Good luck Tiger we will still respect you in the morning.
    .-= Link Money´s last blog ..Twitter Me This =-.

  • http://www.dan-london.com Dan London

    Kobe was accused of rape, admitted an affair and his jersey is still in the top 10 + he has a shoe deal. http://advertising.about.com/od/kobebryant/a/bryantsendorse.htm was what he had and what he has now http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant#Endorsements ( abit of a dip, but lots of ad spending was down)

    • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

      Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe he kept quiet like Tiger is doing.

  • http://joehall.me Joe Hall

    There is always an uneasy silence before the storm. We will find out something soon if not from the Tiger camp then from some one else.

  • http://www.dan-london.com Dan London

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe_Bryant_sexual_assault_case

    the timeline shows about a 2 week lag before he held his press conference with his wife at his side from when the allegations were 1st brought to his attention. on the day he was charged, he held the press conference, but the rumors were out there for 2 weeks

    Tiger released statements so far to the press, so has the alleged girl friend. he hasn’t been charged, neither has his wife.

    the law is involved at this point and from a legal standpoint, he’s smart staying silent, as, like cop shows have told us for years, what you say can be held against you in a court of law.

    as if it will impact his earnings? probably not as much as the economy. golf sponsorships are way down this year.
    .-= Dan London´s last blog ..#SMBF Recap Part 2 =-.

    • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

      Remember the ring that Kobe’s wife was sporting? It was a “Get Over This Fast” 3 plus carat rock. She needed a wheel barrow for her hand getting up to the press table.
      .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..Social Media Blues =-.

  • Roger

    I think you’ll hear nothing from Tiger in the next couple of months. If camera crews want to camp outside his gated community, that is within their Constitutional rights. The fact is he is not obligated to tell the police anything and even less obligated to tell anyone else. His reputation is as a professional golfer. He never signed anything saying he’d open his personal life to the world. Whether or not he had an affair, an argument with his wife, was intoxicated, or something else; since it hasn’t come out yet – it won’t. Even if he came out and said he was mad at the Inquirer and couldn’t sleep so he decided to go for a drive, that people would just accuse him of lying anyway. There is no upside to him saying anything more. I don’t believe he does any damage by staying silent on the matter. He’ll still be the best golfer in the world, he’ll still be earning about $250k a day, and presumably he’ll still be married to a supermodel. Sounds like a good time to climb aboard the yacht “Privacy” for a two-month cruise around the Caribbean.

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  • http://newscrawler.net NewsCrawler

    And now.. Mr tiger is getting more popularity than before.
    .-= NewsCrawler´s last blog ..Go Go Pet Hamsters declared ‘unsafe’ by U.S. consumer group (Daily Mail) =-.

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    Hey Great job on your website, I like the layout and the colors! Also the information that this site provides is awesome.

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