Are you as sick, as I am, of hearing about the trials and tribulations of Tiger Woods? Most people I’ve talked to say they are ready to move on to more positive things. Yet the conversation lingers. Why is that!
Human beings, by nature, respect and trust highly successful people, with wholesome images. These “leaders” become our heroes, mentors and role models. Since we look up to them, we hold them to a higher moral standard.
When they let us down we sometimes feel cheated, even deceived. Their actions make us feel uncomfortable. We then question our own values, since we chose to follow these people in the first place.
A natural part of the healing process is to discuss our feelings with one another … to search for some understanding, or some closure. I believe that is what is currently happening, with the Tiger Woods scandal.
The Rise and Fall of a Personal Brand
I am not a “super fan” of professional golf, although I do enjoy watching it, in limited doses. Yet, when I hear “PGA” what do I think of immediately …. Tiger Woods! For years I have followed his story, with significant interest.
Few would disagree Tiger’s rise to super-stardom was inspirational. His work ethic was, and still is, impeccable. His passion for excellence, in his sport, is unmistakable. His accomplishments on the golf course are historic. And … off the golf course he has generously given back to the community with his charities, and youth projects.
At his greatest moment, Woods has been called, by some, the world’s most marketable athlete. Corporations built their wealth around his endorsements, leveraging his “squeaky clean” brand image.” Moms and Dads referenced him proudly, as a role model, with their children. Those same children looked up to him as an iconic hero.
Unfortunately, that all changed in a matter of hours, with the emergence, in the media, of “his infidelity issues.” This story is an important lesson, for business people, as it teaches us the sanctity of branding. It takes hard work to build your brand, as its foundation is trust, which is not earned easily. As difficult as it is for a person to become a power brand , that distinction can evaporate easily, with one breach of trust.
Sadly, at some point, for whatever reason, Woods (self-admittedly) decided he was immune to the ethical standards the rest of us are measured by. Fortunately, he now realizes he made a significant error in judgment. He has taken steps to atone, for the mistakes he made, and mend his personal brand.
Should Mulligans Be Allowed?
A mulligan, in a game, happens when a player gets a second chance to perform a certain move or action. The practice is also sometimes referred to as a “do-over.” In golf, a mulligan is a retaken shot on the first tee box, usually due to a previously errant one.
Should Tiger Woods Receive a Second Chance (mulligan)? — In my opinion absolutely! I think we all understand people make mistakes, that no one is perfect. For all the positive things he has accomplished, during his career, he deserves that opportunity.
Can He Restore His Previous Personal Brand Image? — I don’t believe he can. When Tiger chose to “raid the hen-house” he relinquished the wholesome component of his reputation. Time heals, so they say. I believe Woods will emerge with a brand spun with shared learning lessons, derived from this experience. What do you think?
People are trying to look past Tiger’s personal transgressions, and focus on his return to professional golf. Most Golf fans (not all) greeted him with an enthusiastic response this past weekend, at the Masters Tournament. I am certain he will return to prominence in the game of golf. The game of life… that’s another story … we shall see!
Question: How do you perceive the Tiger Woods story metaphorically fitting into the business realm? What lessons can we, as business people learn from this experience? Would you buy from a post-scandal Tiger Woods-like brand, and why? Some tough questions…. Hope you have some insightful answers!